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.
Underground parking and property maintenance in the city centre offer opportunities to expand the pedestrian core and to improve conditions for walking and cycling.
Helsinki launched the preparation of a walking research plan and walking development programme in 2014. As a result, various pedestrian street areas, activities to promote walking and walking-related research will be reviewed as a whole. The City will also launch the preparation of a plan for a pedestrian network in the centre protected from extreme weather.
The city’s nature, extensive parks and forests can be freely used by everybody for recreational activities including walking.