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Finnish village gives pedestrians and cyclists the right of way

Locals hope the cost-effective Dutch model mixed-use road will make the journey to school safer for children.

Hollantilaisen mallin mukainen kylätie
Image: Olli Törönen / Yle

Pyhtää, a community in the Kymenlaakso region, is the second municipality in Finland to adopt a Dutch model of a cost-effective mixed-use village road that gives pedestrians and cyclists the right of way, with motorists in second place.

About 50 students from Pyhtää's Suur-Ahvenkoski school helped to transform the Pyhtäänkuja alley into a road.

Alongside the 250-metre long road is a 1.5-metre wide lane for pedestrians and cyclists. Motorists can use the lanes in the middle that are three metres wide.

Less expensive than traditional road

The cost savings come in as the existing road has been transformed without having to redeem extra land or lay new foundations which would have potentially cost up to twice as much.

Supervisor Iikka Voutilainen from Pyhtää’s technical services says that the total cost for the road works were under 10,000 euros.

”This is a good solution for the taxpayer,” says Pyhtää’s technical director Janne Kaulio, who was involved in planning the road last winter.

The Pyhtäänkujan road was fixed up and repaired at the beginning of the summer.

New lanes were painted last week and signs erected to inform pedestrians, cyclists and motorists of the new traffic guidelines, where the speed limit is 30 km/h.

Tiekokeilusta kertova liikennemerkki
Instructions on how to use the new mixed-use road. Image: Olli Törönen / Yle

The community of Pyhtää, which has about 5,000 residents, is hoping that the road that leads to the local school will be safer for children to travel along.

“We’ll likely receive feedback when school starts,” says Vuotilainen.

Finland’s first mixed-use road based on the Dutch model was opened last fall in Hattula, Kanta Häme.

Earlier this spring, the Cycling Network (Pyöräilykuntien verkosto ry) chose Hattula as the cycling municipality of the year for 2019. One of the reasons was the Dutch model road, which was carried out by community initiative.

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