Saturday March 7 will see the next Rīga street to be closed to motorised traffic for the day following the success of previous experiments in January and February.
This time the barriers will be going up on Ģertrūdes Street all the way from Brīvības Street to Čaka Street – with local businesses and residents expected to benefit, as part of an ongoing municipal experiment in making the city streets more vibrant and welcoming to car-free visitors.
The first two car-free days, on Terbatas Street and Blaumaņa Street, were rated as “positive” by the council with statistics on traffic and business usage collected at the same time by the City for People NGO. Tentative conclusions so far suggest that family-oriented businesses and cafes were the winners of the Blaumaņa street closure, while high-end and luxury shops suffered as their patrons tend to drive everywhere.
As previously reported by LSM, Rīga City Council plans to close one of its downtown streets for private transport on the first Saturday of every month in 2020, giving it over to exclusive use by pedestrians and cyclists.
Residents of Gertrudes Street who park their cars in the courtyards are invited to plan their day in advance so that they leave the courtyard by 10 am on Saturday and return home only around 8 pm. Drivers who have purchased a monthly pass or a resident’s card will be able to park the car on adjacent streets for free. Residents of Akas Street also have to take into account the traffic restrictions, as parking lots will be closed as early as Friday evening from 20:00.
Further details of changes to public transport and parking restrictions as a result of the pedestrian-friendly day are available at the municipal website .