The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) would like to encourage the Helsinki City Council to approve a council initiative on the pedestrian street experiment on Mannerheimintie between Postikatu and Pohjois-Esplanadi at its meeting on 12 Feb. ”The initiative of the council is a step towards a better Helsinki”, rejoices Chairperson of the Board Anna-Maija Riekkinen. ”The pedestrian street experiment would make it smoother and more pleasant to move around the city centre.”
The pedestrian street experiment would increase the amount of free and lively urban space in the centre of Helsinki. HYY sees this as a positive development. There are successful examples of similar pedestrian street experiments from around the world, such as New York and Copenhagen.
Last summer, Helsinki tried out changing Vaasankatu into a pedestrian street. The experiment brought successful events to Vaasankatu, such as street flea markets, but some of the plans to enliven the area were caught in the wheels of bureaucracy. ”The pedestrian street would give the city residents space for events and art. The city should also support activities initiated by city residents with quick and flexible permit policies”, says Sanni Laiho, HYY Board Member in charge of urban affairs.”In recent years, the urban culture in Helsinki has been
delightfully vibrant and the pedestrian street experiment would bring it to the very heart of the city centre.”
HYY hopes that Helsinki will have the courage to do similar experiments in the future and the centre of Helsinki will be planned primarily on pedestrians' terms.
Anna-Maija Riekkinen, Chairperson of HYY Board
Katri Korolainen, HYY's Secretary General
Further information: Sanni Laiho, firstname.lastname@example.org tel. 050 595 0318
Statement, 14 Feb 2014 -Free for publication