Tel Aviv region’s cycling infrastructure set for major expansion
On Monday, the Tel Aviv District Planning and Construction Committee, led by Eran Nitzan, will discuss the master plan for bicycle lanes in the Tel Aviv district. The plan, details of which reached “Globes”, calls for the paving of 758 kilometers of cycle paths, and is one of several plans being promoted as part of an overall national plan. The test, however, will be in executing projects in urban space at the expense of private car lanes and parking spaces, something the Department of Transport has not excelled at so far.
The plan aims to achieve the targets set for the distribution of the use of different means of transport, according to which 12% of trips in the Tel Aviv district should be made by bicycle, compared to 3% today. For Tel-Aviv itself, the objective is 20%, against 7% today. For the 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 utilization rate bikes. The 758 kilometers of cycle paths planned are added to the existing 251 kilometers, and mainly in Tel Aviv.
According to the plan, Tel Aviv will gain 283 kilometers, Ramat Gan 69 kilometers, Herzliya 90 kilometers, Holon 75 kilometers, with the rest divided among the remaining local authorities. The paths will cross 146 bridges, some of which already exist and others have been approved for construction, and the plan proposes to add nineteen more bicycle bridges. The plan is based on studies of existing traffic and forecasts of future demand.
Priority will be given to streets where cycle traffic is above the regional average, streets which will complement an efficient network of dead-end lanes and which connect to the Ofnidan network of long-range cycle paths, and which have advanced planning status . Network coverage is meant to bring buildings within 250 meters of cycling infrastructure. Coverage on this basis will increase from 42% today to almost 90%.
The current rate of bicycle use varies considerably between local authorities, with Tel Aviv leading by far. An international comparison presented in the plan puts Tel Aviv at the top of cities promoting cycling infrastructure, but the rest of the Dan region lags far behind.
The plan was developed by the Department of Transport, the Planning Administration and consultants Planet and Eshed, and is part of a more comprehensive national plan which sets out the number of kilometers of cycle lanes needed in built-up areas of the city. all of Israel. The budget estimate for the entire network is NIS 8 billion, divided into five-year installments, NIS 2 billion for each five-year period. This significantly increases the per capita investment in cycling infrastructure in Israel and, unlike various other master plans, this one is based on a budget that has already been partly adopted. Cycle 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 bike trips
The working hypothesis of the national master plan is that it is possible to reach a proportion of 10% of journeys made by bicycle, against only 1% today. The general rate at which bike lanes are paved in Israel is low, at just 32 kilometers per year, while in Tel Aviv, bike lanes are paved fairly quickly; half of the national total for 2020 was in Tel Aviv. Achieving the national goal of more than 3,700 kilometers of cycle paths will cost nearly 8 billion shekels over twenty years. The budget for the next five years is about 39 NIS per year per capita, compared to 10 NIS previously. In the main cycling countries, the budgets are higher, even if they already have well-developed networks of cycle paths. The United Kingdom, for example, invests around 50 NIS per year per inhabitant in cycling infrastructure, Germany between 32 and 70 NIS and the Netherlands 138 NIS.
The plan represents a huge step forward in both planning and budgeting, but the test will be execution, in which the Department of Transport is weak, as evidenced by many transport initiatives.
Even agreements with local authorities are no guarantee of performance. In 2016, for example, the Ministry of Transport signed a series of agreements with local authorities on the provision of preferential traffic lanes for buses. Many authorities, however, caused difficulties at the execution stage, in some the mayor changed and the policy with this, and some simply began to evade agreements. Another initiative is Ofnidan, which the Transport Ministry has unrealistically committed to completing in 2021. In fact, the project is still unfinished, having been frozen during Miri Regev’s time as Transport Minister. .
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on April 28, 2022.
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