Promenades, renovated ‘gates to the city,’ new parks and cozy courtyards. This is how My Street is changing Moscow. It is the largest improvement project in the city’s modern history and its goal is to make the urban environment more comfortable, modern and safe, and will result in more recognisable streets.
The My Street programme is not merely renovation and landscaping, it is a transformation of the urban space. The programme is based on the concepts of contemporary city development that prioritise its residents. The streets must become comfortable for living, not just moving about. The number of pedestrians on upgraded streets has increased two to four times, which proves that Muscovites and visitors are enjoying the makeover.
Comfortable space for living
The programme encompasses a large scope of work, from expanding the pedestrian area, repaving sidewalks with granite to upgrading street lights and installing more rubbish bins and benches. Utility lines and cables will be concealed underground to make the streets more appealing and clean. Utilities and building facades will be renovated.
New recreation facilities will become available thanks to My Street such as pedestrian areas, small public gardens with benches and other street furniture. Streets will be greener. Between 2015 and 2016, more than 7,000 trees were planted, with at least another 5,600 to be planted this year.
As a result, Moscow streets are changing and looking well-groomed. Each has a unique appearance, but due to common standards and requirements they all come together as a new cohesive Moscow, a comfortable and safe city for enjoyable living and working.
Down Tverskaya Street and the Kremlin Ring: changes to signature streets
These comprehensive improvements were made to 47 streets in 2015 and 61 in 2016. Last year, Tverskaya Street saw the return of linden trees and its pavements (sidewalks) were widened. The street was also revamped with new street lamps based on historical designs.
The pedestrian area on Novy Arbat was also expanded and improved with new street lamps, lawns and benches, including one of the longest benches in the city with two 150-metre sections for a total of 300 metres.
More areas were improved for walking and traffic restricted on the Boulevard Ring, and the boulevards were connected into a single walking route. Excessive advertising was removed to preserve the historical look of the streets throughout the ring. More trees and shrubs were planted. Bus stops were fitted with wooden benches.
The Garden Ring will see more of its original green look which gave the circle boulevard its name. Street width was equalized and the busy Garden Ring now has an almost equal number of traffic lanes all the way around. This allowed widening the pedestrian areas (sidewalks) on most sections and smoothing bottlenecks. Street lamps on the street were replaced with energy-saving lamps while modern diffused lighting was installed along pedestrian walks. New bus stops are equipped with estimated arrival monitors, ticket machines and free Wi-Fi.
Zaryadye Park and museum district: this year’s new improvements
More than 80 streets, squares, boulevards and embankments will get a new look in 2017.
This year’s signature project is Zaryadye Park with illuminated benches, a philharmonic hall under a glass dome, an ice cave and a hovering bridge. A pedestrian area will connect the park with the Kremlin. The walking route will include Rybny Pereulok and Bogoyavlensky Pereulok as well as Birzhevaya Square.
Volkhonka Street will become part of the museum district, with wider pavements (sidewalks), pine and maple trees, and shrubs. On the even side of the street, the district will be lined with sculptures from world museums and private collections.
Renovation of embankments is another priority. Pedestrian walks will be expanded and planted with trees to divide the promenade from traffic. Sidewalks will merge into a single cycling and pedestrian area with recreational facilities and observation points along the way. Eventually, a connected route of walkways will appear along the banks of the Moskva River.
International experience for Moscow streets
The new look was designed by more than 30 architecture firms from Russia, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Denmark, Switzerland, the United States and France. Architects and urban developers from all over the world endorsed the programme at the Moscow Urban Forum. They noted that the city environment was becoming more comfortable for residents while the transit streets are turning into areas for meetings and recreation. The space is thoughtfully designed for both pedestrians and drivers.