Eran Shchori, 'Israel Bicycle Association' (Israel Bishvil Ofanaim), 27/4/2011
For the past few years, bicycle advocates criticized the Tel-Aviv municipality for its bike trails and bike lanes. Most of them were either paved in parks or painted on sidewalks. Even when a large and expensive main street renovation project took place last year, the bicycle lane was paved at the sidewalk level, with no real separation from pedestrians. This waste of money caused one of IBA's volunteers ('Israel Bicycle Association', an NGO) to write a long article titled "Which section of the bike lane planning guide did the Ibn-Gvirol St. bike lane not ignore?"(Hebrew version; translated via Google). You may recognize the pictures from Copenhagen. Participation in Velo-city 2010 was worthwhile :)
Last year, after several meetings with 'Israel Bicycle Association's' volunteers (and maybe after reading the mentioned article), the Mayor of Tel Aviv, Mr. Ron Huldai finally understood that bicycles can be a part of the solution in Tel Aviv, and started to act upon that decision.
For the first time in Tel-Aviv, about 60 car parking spaces in Bloch street, a residential street located in the center of the city, are going to be replaced by separated bicycle lanes.
A model of the street. Source: Tel Aviv municipality
'Israel Bicycle Association' has joined forces with several environmental and social NGO's to support the project. Together, we produced a supportive flyer and gave our support to the municipality in the media (radio & television interviews, blogs, talkbacks, etc.) as well as planned the participation in a residents meeting that was planned to take place with city officials.
Residents living in that street, who suffer from lack of parking spaces, oppose the plan. They are angry because they have a serious parking problem and were not consulted as a part of the decision process (public sharing). The population in the area is mixed - young families with children as well as elder persons. Israel is a 'car centric' country, with no good enough public transportation (no "Tube" or "light trains" in Tel Aviv, yet).
In a meeting with city officials that took place yesterday (26/4/2011), city officials made it clear that parking spaces are public property, that these bicycles lanes will be paved as part of a street renovation. They agreed to meet with the residents' reresentative in order to find a solution for the "lost" parking spaces. A national newspaper covered the meeting with the title "Tel Aviv Municipality and residents on a collision course" (article in Hebrew, translated via Google Translate).
A request from 'Israel Bicycle Association': IBA would like to hear from experienced NGO's and DOT's around the globe. If you have "Do's" and "Don't Do's" regarding this issue, successful campaigns etc, please tell us about them. Please send an email to bike2work [AT] bike.org.il.