Street lights, resurfacing, wider pavements: How Moscow streets have changed

Street lights, resurfacing, wider pavements: How Moscow streets have changed
In 2016 the My Street programme has covered 53 Moscow streets. The most significant changes are described in this article.

The second stage of the My Street programme is coming to an end. This ambitious redevelopment project was launched in 2015 and has already dramatically altered the way the city centre looks. This year, 53 streets, main roads and squares have been upgraded. Among them are Tverskaya, Novy Arbat, Bolshaya Yakimanka, Mokhovaya and parts of the Boulevard and Garden rings.

The programme involves expanding and repairing pavements, building new parking spaces, installing benches and rubbish bins, relocating sewer and transmission lines underground, modernising streetlights and planting trees and shrubs.

Some streetlamps in the city centre were recreated from early 20th century designs taken from the Lights of Moscow Museum. In addition, many building facades have a new look thanks to architectural and artistic lighting.

The My Street programme goes beyond façade improvement. It includes utility line relocation and replacement. After this redevelopment programme, no other major improvements will be needed for decades.

Tverskaya: Lime trees, artistic streetlights and bitumen road surface

The work under way on Tverskaya Street is comparable to the 1930s reconstruction project in scale, except for moving buildings, of course.

Tverskaya is getting its lime-trees back after they were cut down in the 1990s. The trees were planted in sidewalk planters with a high border to protect them from road grime. The pavements have been expanded substantially and covered with stone blocks. The dark and the light surfaces visually divide the pavements into two sections: the pedestrian and the utility sections. The latter includes street signs and 80 streetlamps recreated from historical drawings.

For pedestrians’ convenience, step-up curbs have been eliminated on surface crosswalks on side streets.

About 28 km of cables and 7 km of wires have been relocated underground. The asphalt and concrete road surface contains two layers. The lower layer is based on a polymer reinforced geo-grid and the top layer is made of modified bitumen adapted to the local climate. Asphalt was laid as a whole layer, without any seams, which makes the road surface far more durable. The new road surface now covers a total area of over 32,000 sq m from Mokhovaya Street to Strastnoi Boulevard. This redevelopment effort was completed ahead of schedule.

Tverskaya Street

Novy Arbat: Green boulevard and festival venue

The Novy Arbat project has also been completed. The pedestrian zone has been expanded and paved in granite stone. The street now also has new benches, lamps, and grass, and utility lines have been moved underground. The renovated street has become a venue for city celebrations. It is currently hosting the “Back to School” festival, and will soon become a setting for “Moscow Films” on 9-18 September.

In the autumn, when new trees will have been planted, the south side of the street will become a green walk for pedestrians enjoying the city centre. The more compact northern side will host new areas for rest. It will also be enlivened with trees but there will be fewer of them.

Parking will be available on the south side next to the pedestrian zone. Drivers will be able to park between the trees.

The comfortable modern street furniture and streetlamp designs have given the street a cosier feel. Now Novy Arbat has the longest bench in Moscow between buildings 19 and 21. It was built in two parts, 150 m long each, for a total of 300 m long.

Novy Arbat Street

New life around Stary Arbat

The mini-park near the Khudozhestvenny cinema now has new walkways, benches and trees. The opposite side near Praga restaurant has been expanded for pedestrians and parking has been improved. The traffic pattern here has changed – drivers can only access this side of Arbatskaya Square from the Boulevard Ring, and only public transit will be allowed to exit Novy Arbat here.

Romanov Pereulok now has only one lane and fewer parking spaces. The pavements have been expanded by about 1.2 m. No trees, but shrubs will be planted.

Arbatskaya Square

Boulevard Ring: Linear route without billboards

The road width has been revised and now the Boulevard Ring has a pedestrian zone that runs along the street. The pavements have been widened from 22.8 to 32.2 m. The boulevards have been merged into a single route, which is easier to stroll along.

The linear park will draw pedestrians’ attention to the adjoining streets, lanes, mini-parks and squares.

The number of streetlights has been increased six-fold and lamp shades have been added. The ring will soon have 78 new trees and over 2,700 bushes and shrubs.

Excessive billboards have been removed all along the ring to preserve the historical look. Wood benches have been installed at bus stops.

Garden Ring: Fruit trees and energy saving streetlights

The Garden Ring will soon be able to justify its name; it will have its long-gone fruit trees restored. In the autumn, new trees and shrubs will be planted. For example, lime-trees will blossom on Sadovaya-Triumfalnaya and Zemlyanoi Val streets, Ussuri pears will share their fragrance on Smolenskaya Square and Valovaya Street, elm trees will decorate Sadovaya-Spasskaya Street and Zubovsky Boulevard, rowan trees will brighten up Sadovaya-Chernogryazskaya and Zatsepsky Val streets, and alder trees will appear on Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya and Nizhnyaya Krasnokholmskaya streets.

An equal road width has been maintained nearly all along the ring, which has made it possible to expand the pedestrian zone on most sections of the Garden Ring and prevent traffic bottlenecks.

Streetlamps have been replaced with energy-saving lights, and the pedestrian zone now has modern lights with a diffused glow, which makes it nice to walk along the Garden Ring at night.

New double-layered asphalt will be laid between Smolenskaya Square and Malaya Dmitrovka. The construction will not block the streets completely but in sections so that traffic and pedestrians are only partially restricted.