The Tel Aviv area’s bicycle infrastructure is ready for major expansion

On Monday, the Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Committee, led by Eran Nitzan, will discuss the master plan for bike paths in the Tel Aviv district. The plan, the details of which have reached the “Globes”, requires the asphalting of 758 kilometers of cycle paths, and is one of several plans promoted as part of a general national plan. However, the test will be in the execution of the projects in the urban space at the expense of lanes for private cars and parking spaces, something that the Ministry of Transport has not excelled until now.

The plan is to achieve the objectives set for the division of the use of various means of transport, according to which 12% of the journeys in the Tel Aviv district are to take place by bicycle, compared to 3% today. For Tel Aviv itself, the target is 20%, which is comparable to 7% today. For other local authorities in the district – Azor, Ramat Gan, Ramat Hasharon, Or Yehuda, Holon, Bat Yam, Herzliya, Kiryat Ono, Givatayim, Kfar Shmaryahu and Bnei Brak – the targets are significantly higher than the current use rate for bicycles. The planned 758 kilometers of cycle paths come in addition to the existing 251 kilometers, and mostly in Tel Aviv.

According to the plan, Tel Aviv will win 283 kilometers, Ramat Gan 69 kilometers, Herzliya 90 kilometers, Holon 75 kilometers, with the rest distributed to the remaining local authorities. The trails will cross 146 bridges, some of which already exist and some approved for construction, and the plan proposes to add another nineteen bridges to bicycles. The plan is based on studies of existing traffic and forecasts for future demand.

Priority will be given to streets where the bicycle traffic is above the regional average, streets that will complement an efficient network of paths without dead ends, and which connect the Ofnidan network of long-distance cycle paths, and which have advanced planning status. The network’s coverage is intended to bring buildings within 250 meters of cycling infrastructure. Coverage on that basis will increase from 42% today to almost 90%.

The existing bicycle use varies greatly from one municipality to another, with Tel Aviv at the forefront. An international comparison presented in the plan points Tel Aviv towards the top of cities promoting cycling infrastructure, but the rest of the Dan region lags far behind.

The plan has been prepared by the Ministry of Transport, the Planning Administration and the consultants Planet and Eshed and is part of a more comprehensive national plan that states how many kilometers of cycle paths are required in the buildings in all of Israel. The budget estimate for the entire network is NIS 8 billion, divided into five-year portions, NIS 2 billion for each five-year period. This significantly increases per capita investment in bicycle infrastructure in Israel, and unlike various other master plans, it rests on a budget that has already been partially adopted. Bicycle networks for the other metropolitan areas – Haifa, Jerusalem and Beersheva – will be derived from the national master plan, and a network will be completed to cover the central district.

The goal: Ten times more travel by bike

The working precondition behind the national master plan is that it is possible to reach a share of 10% of travel by bicycle against only 1% today. The overall speed at which bike paths are paved in Israel is low, only 32 kilometers annually, whereas bike paths in Tel Aviv are paved fairly quickly; half of the national total for 2020 was in Tel Aviv. Achieving the national goal of over 3,700 kilometers of cycle paths will cost nearly NIS 8 billion over twenty years. The budget for the next five years is around 39 NIS per year. resident, up from previously 10 NIS. In the leading cycling countries, budgets are higher, even though they already have well-developed cycle paths. The UK invests e.g. about 50 NIS annually per. per capita in bicycle infrastructure, Germany invests 32-70 NIS and the Netherlands 138 NIS.

The plan represents a significant advance in both planning and budgeting, but the test will be an execution where the Ministry of Transport is weak, as many transport initiatives show.

Even agreements with local authorities are no guarantee of performance. In 2016, the Ministry of Transport, for example, signed a series of agreements with local authorities on the asphalting of excellent bus lanes. Many of the authorities, however, created difficulties in the implementation phase, in some changed the mayor and policy at the same time, and some simply began to wriggle out of the agreements. Another initiative is Ofnidan, which the Ministry of Transport unrealistically undertook to implement in 2021. In fact, the project is still incomplete, having been frozen during Miri Regev’s term as Minister of Transport.

Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on April 28, 2022.

© Copyright by Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.


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