Do you recall JHJ getting rather hot under the collar about the comprehension-defying prospect of a new major road flooding Helsinki’s lovely peninsula with ever more cars? About a year ago on this very blog?
Driving a massive road through an as-yet-unbuilt residential area is crazy on any number of grounds. Articulate critical voices in the blogosphere and even, amazingly, on the letters page of Helsingin Sanomat on 16.4.2013 have made that much clear.
Trailing behind everyone else once again, Helsinki is about to build a brand new road including an enormous underpass. Nothing of this scale exists here yet.
Where such massive underpasses for cars do exist, they tend to be liked by drivers (from other places) in a hurry. Most other people fear and loathe them. Some cities are turning them back into useful spaces for real people, reconnecting neighbourhoods that were earlier disconnected by … er… roads like the proposed Veturitie.
And this also feels like a grim day for democracy in Helsinki. As massive a road as this in this place, with its patchwork of land ownership, and with the superlative-defying monetary, spatial and human resources that are being poured into the vast “regeneration exercise” of which it is a part, must have been pushed through the system (even in as complacent a city as Helsinki) by dedicated and big-stakes behind-the-scenes horsetrading.
Unfortunately, unlike at, say King’s Cross in London, where local residents took up arms and waged battles for years and years, here Helsinki’s planners and politicians are in the fortunate position (disastrous for future generations as it may be) of working in an area that is almost tabula rasa.
Mad, bad and sad.