With all this talk about Finland being the Clean-Tech center of the world you would think that Helsinki is a nice clean city too!
But this is just not true…
You just have to stand near the area they call Ruoholahti (Grass Bay in English) which is at the west end of Bulevardi, where people who work in Helsinki and who live in Espoo, just 12 kilometers west of Helsinki, sit in their cars in long queues from 15.30 to 18.00 and spew all sorts of dirty nitrogen and carbon monoxide into the air. The reason they do this is because Helsinki had decided to build a huge new harbor for Roll-on Roll-off boats to empty their load of long-haul lorries and vans from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. There are just 2 narrow exits from the harbor and they get blocked as the boats arrive when these people are going home after the day at the office.
The queues are long, the air is foul and nobody in the Town Hall seems to care. They have no plans to build better roads, they have no plans to limit the number of ships, and they have no plans to build any tunnels to stop the traffic building up and poisoning the unlucky residents who happen to live there.
Even the buses and trams get stuck in the traffic so there is no point in taking public transport then.
The situation is made worse by the hundreds of new apartments that the city has authorized in this intensely densely populated area.
The city seems to think that they are so clever in planning that they never worry about what we the taxpayers experience.
Another problem related to traffic is that the government allows companies to rent cars for their staff. These company cars fill the roads like Ubers in New York. One man or one woman sit in the small compact Fords or in the SUV’s if they are big bosses. The latter like to drive fast and furious especially across pedestrian crossings when mothers are waiting to cross with their prams.
This company car fever stops any “lucky owner” from using public transport because he is on the hook for taxation for this favorite benefit. It is no wonder that few people want to get rid of their cars and use the new metro that goes west for the super low cost of billions of Euros!
So next time you visit Helsinki, bring a smog mask and some oxygen tanks…