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Exiting a dead-end. When a road takes you nowhere


St. Petersburg has only one Tupikovaya street, a dead-end – in Olgino. A street which literally leads nowhere. But there are hundreds of others – which are absurd at times. We won’t have enough airtime to show all. But we filmed the most peculiar ones. Let’s go, hit a dead-end!


St. Petersburg is defined by large spaces. Its avenues will always take you to squares, streets - to endless embankments. Seemingly endless. That’s why it almost comes as a shock when the Karpovka river embankment hits a dead-end.

This dead-end is clearly architectural. It openly says – there’s no more city after here. Or has never been. Nowhere to go. But what if a road is continuing, but you can’t drive on it?

This is the opposite bank of Karpovka – by Ioannovskiy Monastery. The road goes on, it exists on maps, but there’s a road block here – which steals a hefty piece of road down the embankment from the city and its residents. And there are many examples like that.

This is a short lane, which only has thirty meters left in it. It has always connected the 1st line of Vasilievskiy Island with the 2nd. One of those historic lanes, through which you could pass the entire island without stopping. Now you’re hitting the fence of the Children’s City Hospital. And who cares that the lane continues beyond it – just like back in the days!

A city becomes a city – according to different textbooks and concepts – when all of its spaces have equal access to all residents. No matter how they get there – in a car, on foot or on a bicycle. And if a road hits a wall or a fence, that means that’s where a city ends.

Primorskoye highway and pedestrian or bike lane parallel to it – towards Lakhta. Only you would never reach Lakhta. You won’t get anywhere, in fact. First, you would reach this fence and a bizarre street sign prohibiting the crossing of the street.

But you won’t even get any much further. This designated – and a rather rare for St. Petersburg – pedestrian lane leads into emptiness. And this dead-end is different to blunt walls and fences. The road just ceases, turning into a dirt path. Here’s the borderline, which separates the city from its residents.

This pathway is an excellent illustration of spontaneous end to an asphalt road. People come and go here, despite everything, to reach their destination. To their building or another street. What if you have nowhere to go?

Literally nowhere. Sverdlovskaya embankment, around building number 22. Bike lane leads directly and unequivocally into a loading pier. And this sign – “platform nine and three-quarters” – is a justified reaction of the residents to the absurdity of the situation. You almost feel like if you get enough speed, you could break through this wall. Because the bike lane continues beyond this pier.

Tens of kilometers of new bike lanes have been built in St. Petersburg over the last year alone. We have received an almost complete bike circle at Petrogradskaya area. But there is only one “but”.

This is not a full-fledged bike lane, but – rather – a bike strip, separated from the main road with only a painted stripe. It visually looks like a technical lane or a sidewalk, where cars often park. The road’s function does not change because of just one white stripe, while the bicycle lane does not look safe.

It’s not an attempt at empty criticism or finger-pointing. At the end of the day, when it comes to this matter – St. Petersburg is on par with many top European cities. Sicily, the town of Catania. I filmed this video a month ago. The majority of pedestrian lanes hit dead-ends and highways with no crossings. And this is Italy!

So this report is, rather, a means to understand – why is our city made like this, in a concrete historic period. How it can function if some mistakes are rectified. After all, St. Petersburg is unrivaled in making one hit a dead-end. And that’s one of its essences.