Tartu's Car-Free Avenue 2020 was a resounding success, Source: Mana Kaasik /

Tartu revives Car-Free Avenue

Tartu revives Car-Free Avenue

Last year’s project provided a boost to the local economy and new kind of entertainment to residents and guests

This summer, a section of Vabaduse Puiestee in Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city, will once again become a street free of cars. Following the resounding success of last year’s adventure, the city government has announced a second edition, to be held from 9 July through 8 August.

Expanded to the adjacent park

“Car-Free Avenue was one of the highlights of last summer. We decided to bring it back this year, so that Tartu’s residents and visitors could have a good time in the heart of the city. This year, Car-Free Avenue will also be expanded to the adjacent park, with the themes running through the month-long event being the urban space and the environment’’, said Mayor Urmas Klaas, quoted by the city website.

Car-Free Avenue is being organized by the Tartu City Government, Tiigi Society House and the Tartu 2024 Foundation, together with cooperation partners. The purpose of the project is to draw people to Tartu’s city centre to spend time pleasurably and safely, enjoying a rich cultural programme and activities that bring urban space to life.

The first edition of Car-Free Avenue from 3 July through 2 August 2020 was visited by more than 150,000 people from Estonia and abroad who could choose between 200 events, performances, conversations, meetings, mini-concerts and workshops. Impact assessment revealed that the project had also provided an economic boost to the area, with 64 per cent of respondents to a municipal survey stating that turnover for their business in July had been better than expected.

Richer visitor experience

This year, Car-Free Avenue-2 will offer an even richer experience. According to programme manager Maris Peebo, visitors can expect a bigger water feature, along with a carousel, flower, food, and handicraft markets.

In the park there will be art and picnic tables, a skateboard zone and a summer stage, where musicians and DJs will perform. A self-driving bus on Vabaduse Boulevard will be available to those who want to reach Car-Free Avenue or the downtown institutions.

“There will be other ways to entertain yourself, in addition to the diverse concert programme. We are waiting for people to play tennis, learn sign language, and seniors to take part in their very own evenings filled with dancing, and music lovers to attend the Sunday wind music concerts,” said Peebo.

Health protocols

The City of Tartu will soon complete a guide to environmentally- friendly events, and its provisions will be implemented for the first time during Car-Free Avenue. Similar to last year’s edition, activities and catering will be organised in such a way that people can attend the events while remaining dispersed, and there will be hand washing opportunities for visitors. Security guards will take care of preventing congregations.
Repeating last year’s traffic scenario, Vabaduse Puiestee will be closed to vehicles from the Kaubamaja (Department Store) car park to Kaarsild Bridge. The Tartu Turg (Market Hall) and the Department Store car parks will remain open. The detour for cars will be via Narva mnt. Information regarding traffic management will reach Waze and Google Maps through the Tark Tee app.



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