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An artist’s rendering of Hämeenlinnanväylä after boulevardisation.
An artist’s rendering of Hämeenlinnanväylä after boulevardisation.

 

The City of Helsinki’s plans to convert seven of its highway-like entry routes into city boulevards were delivered a setback on Monday.

The Administrative Court of Helsinki ruled against the conversion in the case of four of the seven entry routes – Hämeenlinnanväylä, Lahdenväylä, Länsiväylä and Turunväylä – after determining that the city had failed to provide sufficient grounds for the conversions.

The court was particularly concerned about the proposal’s impact on the flow of traffic in and out of Helsinki.

The Finnish capital will also have to scrap its re-development plans for Vartiosaari. The 82-hectare island situated some seven kilometres east of the city centre is according to the court too valuable culturally for its proposed transformation into a densely built island district with housing and recreational services.

Helsinki can, on the other hand, continue with the boulevardisation of Itäväylä, Tuusulanväylä and Vihdintie, and the re-development of Helsinki-Malmi Airport.

Helsingin Sanomat writes that a total of 80,000 new residential units would have been built along the proposed city boulevards.

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Anni Sinnemäki (Greens), the Deputy Mayor of Helsinki for Urban Development, stated to the newspaper that the city may challenge the decision in the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland. She also stressed that the city will have to study the ruling thoroughly before making a decision on whether to appeal.

“That was the decision of the Administrative Court of Helsinki. And we’ll have to take it as such. I can’t say that I’m outright shocked, but I’m also not delighted,” she told Helsingin Sanomat.

Otso Kivekäs (Greens), a councillor for the City of Helsinki, predicted that the decision will further strain the relationship between the central and local administration.

“Other Nordic governments have sought to support the development of the metropolitan area. Our state officials do all in their power to prevent Helsinki’s development. This isn’t a healthy development, nor is it in Finland’s best interests,” he wrote on Facebook.

The Administrative Court of Helsinki received a total of 50 complaints concerning the city plan from various authorities, associations, businesses, housing companies and private citizens. The complainants included the Finnish Transport Agency.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Illustration: 3D Render / Helsinki City Planning Department
Source: Uusi Suomi

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