Baana: Helsinki's walking and cycling corridor (Finland)

By News Editor / Updated: 24 Apr 2015
In action 
Baana is a new pathway for pedestrians and cyclists in Helsinki, leading from the Western Harbour area to Kamppi and the Töölö Bay. Baana is built into a corridor below street-level that served the freight rail connection between the former Jätkäsaari commercial harbour and the national railway network via the Helsinki railway station. Baana is 1.3km long and on average 15m wide. The widest point, 34m, is at the Maria Hospital. The pedestrian and bicycle lanes run side by side and are differentiated by colours: the bicycle lane is paved with reddish-brown asphalt and the pedestrian lane with black asphalt.
In addition to the end points, bicycle access to Baana is allowed by four evenly spaced ramps and pedestrian access by five staircases from streets. Accessible entrances are placed at both ends and in the middle of the course. Baana is a pleasant green city milieu serving all of Helsinki, with 180 trees, 4 000 bushes and plenty of flowers. The rugged look is retained as a reminder of the corridor’s history; the massive rock and stone walls flanking Baana date back 100 years. Safety and comfort are created with lights, benches and environmental art, and there are facilities for various activities for basketball, table tennis and petanque.
Together with the bicycle service centre in Kamppi, Baana - which cost between € 4-5m -  further promotes cycling in Helsinki, facilitating city centre cycling. The service centre will offer bicycle storage, rental, instant repair and information.
Baana is not just a path to drive through as fast as you can, but also a place to relax and play. There is a sculpture in the shape of the word 'Helsinki' carved out of concrete. It was not designed for skating, but has succeeded in being popular with skaters. However, after some complaints about skating noise from nearby residents, a compromise was made and time limits for using the 'skate sculpture' saved the day for skaters and residents.  One can also play basketball, table tennis or petanque or just stroll along as one likes. Between June and December 2012 it was used by around 320 000 cyclists plus an unknown number of pedestrians. From January to April 2013, nearly 46 000 cyclists used Baana plus an unknown number of pedestrians. It is anticipated that during the summer of 2013 the daily record number of cyclists, 4 810, will be broken.
In Depth 
Walking and cycling
Jesse Aavameri
Jesse Aavameri
23 Apr 2013
24 Apr 2015