The redesigned Esplanades in Helsinki are nearing completion and will soon be opened to the city dwellers. These experimental renovations, aimed at creating pedestrian-friendly, recreational, and cycling areas, will be mostly finalized by June 10th, just in time for the Helsinki Samba Carnival, followed by the Helsinki Day celebrations a few days later. The goal is to have the new walking, lounging, and cycling spaces fully ready during the month of June.
The Esplanades are already undergoing significant transformations as the widening of the areas, installation of new paving stones, construction of borders, and the implementation of stormwater channels approach the final stages. The elevated wooden structures along the Northern Esplanade have been installed and will soon have ramps added to ensure accessibility. Planting and installation of various furnishings will continue over the next couple of weeks.
The bicycle lane on the Southern Esplanade has already been completed, including the addition of street artwork, and its opening for cyclists is now awaiting the finalization of traffic light arrangements. This new cycling route will not only provide additional space for pedestrians but also create a more pleasant traffic environment as the bicycle lane is moved further away from the park onto the former car lane.
The success of these initiatives will be evaluated by monitoring factors such as pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist numbers, changes in traffic patterns and flow, as well as the impact on maintenance and freight traffic. Additionally, the assessment will gauge the public's perception of the new pedestrian areas, considering factors such as comfort and liveliness.
The experiment will also be evaluated from the perspective of commercial vitality and the development of businesses in the area. Assessing the impact on local shops and other enterprises will provide valuable insights into the overall success of the project.
The underlying objective behind these trials is the city's commitment to enhancing walking conditions in the city center. The decisions related to these changes have been made through the city's established decision-making processes, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive approach.
The eagerly awaited opening of the revamped Esplanades in Helsinki is just around the corner. The completion of these experimental improvements will provide urban residents with enhanced walking, cycling, and leisure areas in the heart of the city. As the project nears its final stages, careful monitoring and evaluation will be conducted to assess its success and determine its impact on various aspects, from traffic patterns to commercial vitality. Read more about the new pedestrian, cycling, and leisure areas in the city center here (in Finnish).