This week in Jerusalem: Illegal parking out

A weekly round-up of city affairs.

SAFRA SQUARE is rocked by a new scandal every few years. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
SAFRA SQUARE is rocked by a new scandal every few years.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Jerusalem Municipality has worked out a solution to stop or at least reduce the illegal parking in the Mishkenei Ha’uma neighborhood. According to this plan, drawn up by the municipality and the community administration Lev Ha’ir, a parking complex will be built nearby. Part of it will be reserved for driving school vehicles to pick up and drop off students. If the plan is indeed implemented, Jerusalemites will benefit from about 100 parking spaces added to the area.

The large number of cars for driving lessons parked in the area and increased traffic are a major problem. In addition, all traffic from the city entrance was transferred to these streets after the closure of Shazar Boulevard.

The stated policy of Safra Square is to reduce traffic jams in the city and give priority to public transportation. However, the municipality continues to speak with two voices when it comes to the issue of traffic and public transportation in the city.

Pay for your visit

Is the municipality going levy a toll at the entrance to Jerusalem? At Safra Square, a clear answer is being avoided at the moment, but officials in the municipality say it will soon be a reality they will have to face and decide upon.

However, at least officially, the position of the municipality is that nothing will be decided until the work on the extension of the Red Line of the light rail is completed. This means that only when the city offers all its visitors and workers proper public transportation will there be room for this toll. At the same time, with the ambition of the city’s leadership to encourage more businesses, especially hi-tech, to move to Jerusalem and to hire workers from outside the city, there may indeed be no alternative but to impose the fee in the near future. 

 A POLICEMAN writes out a parking ticket to a car parked on a sidewalk in Jerusalem. (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90) A POLICEMAN writes out a parking ticket to a car parked on a sidewalk in Jerusalem. (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

Drive and wait

A survey by Or Yarok published last month on the occasion of International Public Transportation Day, reveals that for the majority of Jerusalem residents, the private car is their main means of transportation. The survey also shows that the majority of drivers spend more than an hour every day in traffic jams and, not surprisingly, the vast majority think that the Transportation Ministry is not investing enough resources in solving the traffic jam problem. 

Seventy-two percent of respondents in the Jerusalem area said they use the private car as their main means of transportation; just 21% choose the bus. Sixty-one percent noted they are stuck in traffic jams every day for up to an hour; 16% claimed that they are in traffic jams between one and two hours.

The reasons for not using public transportation is related to the lack of availability: 34% reported that there is no public transportation available from home to work or school; 22% claimed there is no convenient public transportation from point A to point B; 15% do not want to be limited to the public transport schedule; 33% said it is more convenient to use their car; 68% believe that the improvement of public transportation will contribute, to a large extent, to the reduction of trfaffic accidents. 

As far as solutions for the traffic jams, 65% pointed to improving public transportation; 26% pointed to the specific addition of public transport routes; and 3.5% pointed to closing the city center to private cars.

Your country needs you

According to the latest data for 2022, the recruitment rate for serving in combat units in the IDF among youth in Jerusalem is 58.8%, whereas the national average stands at 51.4%. The rate of military service among young women in Jerusalem is high compared to the national average. It stands at 8.9%, compared to 8% generally.

Regarding the mental strength of the Jerusalem recruits, which prevents them from service deficiencies (imprisonment and military detention, absenteeism and desertion), the Jerusalem recruits are in the highest percentile of those who complete full military service, the municipality – which collected all the information – noted.

The data were presented at the municipal center for preparation for significant service at Beit Nehemia during the visit of Chief Education Officer Brig.-Gen. Ofir Levius. Beit Nehemia engages in preparation activities for significant service in several areas – individual accompaniment, workshops and preparation groups, and runs programs such as Wings of the Wind, which deals with preparation for significant service for grades 11 and 12 in Jerusalem high schools (in collaboration with Manhi – the Jerusalem Education Administration).

The students engage in debates relating to army service and mental resilience, experience an escape room, participate in fitness activities at the Beit Nehemia combat fitness field, and attend inspirational lectures.

Another Beit Nehemia program is Bereshit – individual guidance for 11th-12th grades and the first year of service – for students from select Jerusalem high schools, such as Denmark, Kadma, Hoshen and Givat Gonen (also in collaboration with Manhi).

Beit Taylor saga

In an achievement in the fight for Beit Taylor in the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood, last week the District Court rejected the appeal of the Shikun & Binui company against the stop work order issued by the municipality, and halted the works to demolish the tennis courts in the community center compound.

Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman said at the end of the ruling that since there is no approved plan for the area at this stage, it would be better to arrange what is required to repair and qualify the area as a tennis court for the benefit of the public, so that residents can continue to use it as they have for years.

“There is no alternative but to adopt my expropriation plan. This is the only way we will preserve Beit Taylor and Hayovel Valley as a neighborhood park with sports and leisure centers,” explained Deputy Mayor Attorney Yossi Havilio, who supports the residents. In his opinion, it is clear that the construction company does not intend to give up the expected profits from the approval of the construction of high-rise apartment buildings on the property.