Summer streets planned for the city centre

Uutta Helsinkiä
The City of Helsinki is planning this year’s summer streets in the centre of Helsinki. The aim of the summer street trial is to make the streets more pleasant and attractive and to improve the variety of services on offer. The plans will be discussed at online events for entrepreneurs and residents in the area in March.

The City of Helsinki isplanning this year’s summer streets in the centre of Helsinki. The aim of thesummer street trial is to make the streets more pleasant and attractive and toimprove the variety of services on offer. The plans will be discussed at onlineevents for entrepreneurs and residents in the area in March. 

Inspired by last summer’s Kasarmitori Summer, Helsinki is currently planning four summer streets in the Kaartinkaupunki area. The summer streets will create a pleasant area for walking from the beginning of June until the end of August.

Traffic arrangements and services provided on the summer streets will be altered to ensure that the area attracts as many people as possible to enjoy the summer in the city Last year, parklet terraces for local restaurants, wooden seating areas, plants and frame lock bicycle racks were added to the summer streets around Kasarmitori.

The summer streets currently being planned will create a uniform walking network from Kaartinkaupunki to Ullanlinna. Similarly to last summer, the first section will be located on Kasarmikatu, between Eteläesplanadi and Pohjoinen Makasiinikatu. The route will continue from Kasarmikatu to Pieni Roobertinkatu and from there to Erottaja. On Erottajankatu, one of the lanes will be reserved for the use of terraces and pedestrians.

From Pieni Roobertinkatu, there is a natural access to Iso Roobertinkatu, which is already a pedestrian street, and to Korkeavuorenkatu in the south. The summer street will continue along Korkeavuorenkatu for the section between Tarkk’ampujankatu and Vuorimiehenkatu.

Signs will be added to local streets nearby, including Yrjönkatu, Ratakatu and Kapteeninkatu, to guide visitors to the summer streets. Traffic arrangements on the summer streets will be planned to cater to pedestrians in particular. Vehicle access to properties and service vehicle traffic will be provided. More detailed traffic solutions will be prepared as part of the traffic management plan.

Summer streets will add to the appeal and vitality of the area

This year, Helsinki is celebrating design, as it is the tenth anniversary of the city’s World Design Capital year. Today, design is an integral part of the planning of the city’s various activities. Summer street trials can also give more permanent ideas on how to create new and appealing locations by improving the pleasantness of streets and small squares or by providing a better access between existing popular sites. For example, we are currently looking into the possibility of adding terraces and cultural activities to the square in front of the Design Museum. Summer streets support sustainable growth and aim at improving the vitality of the area by increasing the flow of people.

“The summer streets also help carry out the city's new strategy. The strategy clearly outlines that we invest in good urban spaces that invite everyone to spend time and linger and also create the preconditions for successful commercial services," says AnniSinnemäki, the Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment.

The summer terraces at Senate Square and the Kasarmitori square were highly popular. A summer terrace is also planned for the coming summer but its location and shape remain work in progress. Decisions on the terrace are yet to be made. 

Lessons learnt from last summer and requests will be utilised when planning summer streets

Between June and August 2021, almost twice as many people walked along the summer streets of Kasarmitori in the evenings and weekends than in May when the summer streets were only being set up. The concentration of people in this particular period of time is explained by the proximity of the Kasarmitori summer terrace, the opening hours of local restaurants and the increase in demand.

The amount of motor vehicle traffic on the streets surrounding Kasarmitori decreased to about a quarter of the starting level. Cycling in the area increased rather significantly, but the starting level was moderate to say the least.

For the most part, the people walking on the streets and entrepreneurs in the area gave highly positive feedback on the summer streets and the Kasarmitori summer terrace, and the trial was considered to have significantly improved the appeal of the area.

“In our survey targeted to entrepreneurs in the area, they said that the trial led to an increased flow of people in the area and this boosted their business. The feedback we received included requests to curb driving speeds and increase the attractiveness of the activities offered to cover city residents of all ages, especially families with children,” says HennaHovi, Project Manager for the summer streets.

Residents and entrepreneurs in the area are invited to participate in interaction events

Interaction events will be organised for entrepreneurs and residents in the area. In the brainstorming
workshop on 15 February 8:30–10 am, the city will be looking for partners who are interested in coming up with various events, terraces or art work for the summer streets. Ideas for the appearance and concept of the streets will also be sought in the workshop.

The plans for the streets will be presented in online events held in March and views of local entrepreneurs and residents will also be collected. The resident interaction event will be held on 1 March 17:00–18:00. In the businessinteraction event on 2 March 8:30–10 am, the erection of terraces on the summer streets will be discussed. Entrepreneurs who are planning to have a terrace on the summer streets are particularly welcome to attend the event. The programme and instructions of the online events are available in the event information.

Map of the planned summer streets