Walking is the main mode of transport in the city centre. The City of Helsinki strives to create an extensive and uniform pedestrian core for the centre. The goal is a pedestrian area made up of pedestrian streets, widened sidewalks and pedestrian-focused streets for public transport. Pedestrian streets are complemented by glass-covered courtyards and shopping alleys cutting through city blocks.
A general plan for the pedestrian centre was approved by the City Planning Committee in 1989. Since then pedestrian streets (i.a. Kluuvikatu, Mikonkatu and Keskuskatu) and expansions of pedestrian areas (e.g. Pohjoisesplanadi) have been implemented stepwise.
The city is investigating the possibilities for a substantial expansion of the central pedestrian zone in order to further improve the atmosphere and functionality of the central business district, and for building an underground distributor road that would reduce traffic through the city centre as well as heavy transports to the harbours. If implemented, the distributor road would largely be funded through road tolls.
The city’s nature, extensive parks and forests can be freely used by everybody for recreational activities including walking.