Watch your step

  • 2010-07-28
  • By Stephan Eberhardt

Kalku, Torna, Valnu streets, and the list goes on. Tourists are as likely to twist an ankle as they are to snap a good photo as they walk along Riga’s Old Town streets. Potholes, sinkholes, ugly Soviet-era paving, broken sidewalks. Looking up, one sees crumbling building facades. This is a disgrace.

The self-serving dynamic duo - Vice-mayor Slesers, airBaltic CEO Flick - have shown they are all talk and no action when it comes to improving the face of Riga, after their grandiose promises to make tourism a priority for the local economy. The (transparent?) spending that they have done is mostly wasted on idiotic projects. Inappropriate and ineffective lighting along the canal; black hole spending on a Web site designed by who knows who in Berlin.

One need only travel to Tallinn’s or Vilnius’ Old Towns to see how taxpayers’ money has been well spent by public officials to rebuild and re-invigorate public spaces and tourist areas that the cities and their people can be proud of. Even Daugavpils has done a better job than Riga’s ‘leaders’ have done.

Is Riga developing into a world-class city? No, not by the looks of it. First fix it, then promote it.


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