Aged drivers win right to free parking

The idea was initiated by councillor Moshe Tiomkin at a municipal managerial meeting last month.

Tel Aviv's pensioners have prevailed over their opponents and have won the right to park free anywhere in the city over the next two years, reports Yediot Tel Aviv. The city's councillors voted six to four last week in favor of giving all Tel Aviv car-owners aged over 70 a "golden pass" that entitles them to free parking throughout the city. According to the report, the idea was initiated by councillor Moshe Tiomkin at a municipal managerial meeting last month. He suggested extending the existing "golden pass" benefit, currently available only to residents of certain neighborhoods, to all elderly car-owners resident in the city. Tiomkin's initiative was rejected, but last week, the pensioners' faction raised the matter in council, and this time prevailed. A municipal spokesman said Mayor Ron Huldai wanted the benefit to last for two years, and that this period should be regarded as a "pilot" which, if successful, might be extended. Opposing councillors said the initiative was designed with this year's municipal elections in mind and was unfair, benefitting about 6,000 financially comfortable elderly car-owners, while doing nothing for the needy elderly in the city. They also said it was not fair that other sectors of the population were not entitled to free parking, especially business owners. Meanwhile, the city has officially announced that for the next month at least it will not fine disabled drivers who park on sidewalks, as along as they do not block the path for pedestrians and do not disturb traffic, reports The city's announcement follows the recent court victory of a disabled man who fought against a fine he received for parking on the sidewalk. The man claimed that he had nowhere else to park close to his home. The city's new, easier policy will apply at least until the next court hearing, in about one month.