Statement, 1 Oct 2012
The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) demands that the streets which connect the central university buildings of the centre campus of the University of Helsinki should be changed into pedestrian streets. The closing of streets would increase the comfortability of the campus and facilitate pedestrian traffic.
The university is quite poorly visible in the cityscape of Helsinki even though the University of Helsinki is the largest and oldest university in Finland. ”A cosy pedestrian street campus would make people who walk around the city to notice that we have a high quality university in the city centre. Thus, the brand of Helsinki as a university city would be strengthened”, believes Chair of HYY Board Jannica Aalto.
On the city centre campus, the opening of the new main library (Kaisa Library) of the university has caused major changes in the traffic arrangements inside the centre campus. Small, department-specific libraries have been centralised to the large library and because of this, the bicycle and pedestrian traffic along Fabianinkatu has increased permanently.
Therefore, HYY requests that on the centre campus of the University of Helsinki, the section of Fabianinkatu between Aleksanterinkatu and Kaisaniemenkatu as well as the sections of Kirkkokatu and Yliopistonkatu between Unioninkatu and Fabianinkatu should be closed and available only for bicycle and pedestrian use. It would still be possible to exit Fabianinkatu to Kaisaniemenkatu through the tunnel.
”One section of Fabianinkatu was closed due to construction work for over a year, and the traffic of Helsinki did not get disturbed because of it”, Jannica Aalto reminds us. ”On the road section, which would be freed from cars, we could place bicycle parking racks that have been much wanted on the campus as well as benches and plantings, which would increase the comfortability of the campus. The university members could make the streets a part of the lively and communal campus”, Aalto envisages.
Before the municipal elections, HYY asks every municipal election candidate whether they commit themselves to promote the car-free centre campus and two other objectives which are important to the students. The candidates' opinions can be read at: www.hyy.fi/initiatives.
STUDENT UNION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
Chair of the Board
Further information: Board Member Hanna Hannus, hanna.hannus(at)hyy.fi, tel. 050 576 507