Downtown Helsinki in the Kluuvi district. Photo by Teina Ryynänen.


Helsinki is embarking on the development of a traffic system plan for its core downtown area. The plan will outline the principles for enhancing the traffic system and will guide future traffic and street plans in the city center. The goal is to evolve the traffic system in a way that attracts people to the downtown area and encourages them to spend more time there.

The traffic system plan will include an action program that details the timing and phases of plan implementation.

The starting points for the plan include:

  1. To significantly enhance the attractiveness and vitality of the downtown area, cross traffic in the core downtown region will primarily rely on the main route formed by Pohjoisesplanadi and Eteläesplanadi.
  2. The accessibility and operational conditions of underground parking facilities and service tunnels will be systematically developed to cater to the logistical needs and car arrivals in the downtown area. In the initial phase, an underground driving connection to the downtown service tunnel will be promoted from the north side of Hakaniemi Square.
  3. Local streets will be developed as calm mobility environments that support both the vibrancy of street-level businesses and the continuity of pedestrian pathways. Through traffic should, to the greatest extent possible, be directed to the main network streets.

The plan aims to strengthen the experiential aspects of the downtown area. The objective is to provide better opportunities for an increasing number of people to visit the city center. The city also aims to improve conditions for walking, leisure, and enjoyment, reduce the negative impacts of traffic, ensure the functionality of the downtown area, and boost its vitality.

Preparation for the downtown traffic system plan will commence in the fall. Public engagement related to the plan is scheduled for the winter of 2023–2024. The plan and its corresponding action program are set to be completed for approval by the City Environment Committee in the spring of 2024.

The City Environment Committee will discuss the objectives and drafting principles of the downtown traffic system plan in its meeting on August 29, 2023.