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Trump-Putin meeting to disrupt traffic and public transport

The summit in Helsinki is expected to close several important roads and cause major traffic delays on both Sunday and Monday.

Raitiovaunu Helsingissä
HSL recommends that people used commuter trains and the metro, instead of trams and buses. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

The Monday July 16 meeting of the US and Russian Presidents in Finland will cause traffic closures in many parts of Helsinki and the neighbouring city of Vantaa.

Helsinki police say several motorcades will pass through the metropolitan area, causing significant disruptions to traffic, especially in the Helsinki city centre and also on routes between Helsinki Airport and the downtown area. No other traffic is allowed on the routes when the motorcades are on the road.

The Market Square and harbour across from the Presidential Palace meeting venue will be on lock-down, meaning that no people, cars or boats will be allowed in the area.

The city of Helsinki reports that from approximately 11:30 am to 8 pm on Monday, Mannerheimintie will be totally closed at times, and various sections of the street will be closed to traffic for long stretches of time.

Both Esplanades – Eteläesplanadi and Pohjoisesplanadi – will be closed to traffic, and the street of Aleksanterinkatu will be closed between Unioninkatu and Meritullinkatu.

Some areas will be accessible from other routes

Access to the city centre from the northern route of Pohjoisranta will only be possible via the Liisankatu street, and access to and from the island of Katajanokka will only be possible along Meritullintori and Kanavakatu.

The parks and surrounding residential areas of Ullanlinna, Kaivopuisto and the Olympia Terminal will likewise only be accessible from the west.

Helsinki law enforcement says the Esplanades and a few streets in the city centre will be closed to vehicular traffic already on Sunday due to planned protests.

City residents are advised to avoid using their cars in the city centre, if at all possible.

"Or at least move out of the way in time. The schedules of the visitors could change with very little notice, and this would affect traffic arrangements and possibly cause road closures in Helsinki and Vantaa," says Police Chief Heikki Kopperoinen.

The best choice is to walk or bike

Public transport will be disrupted extensively on both days, although most of the long service breaks are expected to start at 11 am on Monday. The metro and local commuter trains will largely run as normal, if possible, but several trams will be halted at times and many buses will be rerouted due to road closures.

Approximately 10 bike-share docking stations will also be out of service.

Water transport will also be restricted due to the presidential visits. Private vessels will be prohibited in front of the Presidential Palace on Monday and waterbus and cruise vessel piers at the Market Square will be closed.

The Suomenlinna islands will be served by the Suomenlinna maintenance ferry, which departs from Katajanokka. Suomenlinna and Vallisaari can likewise be reached by waterbus from the Helsinki district of Hakaniemi.

The Helsinki Airport for its part advised its customers to expect delays on Sunday and Monday, in part due to the reinstated internal border checks. It also reports that aviation, drone flying, plane spotting and photography near the airport will be reduced during the summit.

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