From Oakland and Seattle to Bogota and York, cities around the world have been showcasing the community-building benefits that come with removing cars from the streets. In another display of car-free living, the Estonian city of Tartu transformed its main street into a pedestrian-friendly paradise for the entire month of July.
With cars removed from the street, the area was used to accommodate a wide range of programming, from dance courses and morning yoga to national radio broadcast pop-ups, concerts, and more. The events not only observed Covid-19 social distancing guidelines but also gave local businesses a much-needed economic boost as 18,000 visitors passed by in the first three days alone, which is quite a lot for a city of 93,000 people.
Tartu is the second-largest city in Estonia and is slated to become the European Capital of Culture in 2024 with the slogan “Arts of Survival.” The recent Car-Free Avenue project fits in perfectly with the city’s agenda for development, which prioritizes sustainability.
As the car-free movement continues to bring smiles to faces, it wouldn’t surprise us if cities start closing down streets to cars permanently and handing them over to residents.