Environmental report okays bus depot next to Jerusalem kindergartens

The Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee did not approve the construction of an open-air bus depot at the site and suggested that an underground parking lot be approved instead.

By
April 8, 2018 01:29
2 minute read.
An Egged bus in front of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station

An Egged bus in front of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Building a parking lot for buses adjacent to two kindergarten compounds in the Mishkenot Ha’uma neighborhood of Jerusalem will not cause environmental damage, according to a report conducted by Ethos – Architecture Planning and Environment, released last week.

The report supports building a parking lot for 29 buses that would operate between 5 and 7 a.m., and in the late evening, while the kindergartens are not in use. It also says that the buses operating in the parking lot should be of the Euro 5 and the Euro 6 types.

Gil Reichman, director of the Environmental Protection Department at the Jerusalem Municipality, said that after the department thoroughly read the report, it decided to approve its conclusions.

“We are protecting the quality of life and health of the residents and kindergarten- goers in the area of the depot,” Reichman said. “We will keep doing so in the future for the residents and children of Jerusalem, that their health is at the top of our thoughts all the time.”

However, parents of children who attend the kindergartens next to the future depot are waging a struggle to prevent its construction, telling The Jerusalem Post that the municipality never handed them the report and its conclusions.

“Unfortunately, we can’t respond to the details of the report because the Jerusalem Municipality and Mayor Nir Barkat never bothered to send the parents the new report,” said Jonathan Blum, one of the leaders of the parents’ protest.

“We will just put the known facts in order,” he continued.

“During 2016-2017, there were two municipal reports that, due to them, the plan to construct the depot was not approved by the municipal committee,” he said. “However, the mayor ordered the building of the depot to go ahead and funded a new report that approved the construction. This is why, unfortunately, the conclusions were known in advance.”

Last month, the Post reported that the municipality continued construction of the depot despite two letters from the Health Ministry saying that all work should be halted until it is proven that operating the depot would pose no environmental damage to the adjacent kindergartens.

The Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee did not approve the construction of an open-air bus depot at the site and suggested that an underground parking lot be approved instead. However, the head of the committee, Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, said in a meeting with the parents that the mayor himself had ordered the construction of a “temporary” open-air depot that would not require the approval of municipal committees.

The new depot will have room for 29 buses as opposed to the 59 called for in the original plan, which was not approved. However, that plan called for 19 open air parking spaces, with the rest in an underground depot.


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