TA to list parking lots that double as bomb shelters

50 or so parking lots will serve as a solution for those who don’t have a bomb shelter in their house or nearby.

Bomb Shelter (370) (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Bomb Shelter (370)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
In the coming weeks, the Tel Aviv Municipality will release a list of dozens of underground parking lots that can be used by the public in the case of a missile attack on the Israeli home front, the municipality told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
According to the city, the estimated 50 or so parking lots represent around 800,000 square meters of space and will serve as a solution for those residents who don’t have a bomb shelter in their house or nearby.
Within the next few days, the city will publish a map on its website showing the location of each of the parking garages, all of which the city said will have functional bathrooms and running water.
The municipality said that they are still implementing a wide-scale plan costing nearly NIS 20 million to renovate the city’s public bomb shelters and safe areas, according to standards laid out by the IDF Home Front Command. The city says it currently operates 241 public bomb shelters, 111 of which include air filtration systems to guard against a chemical attack. The city estimates that the shelters cover some NIS 25,000 square meters.
Tel Aviv city councilman Moshe Tiomkin, who is the head of the municipality’s emergency readiness department, told the Post on Tuesday that all things considered, the city is in good shape to deal with a war on the home front.
Tiomkin said that those residents who don’t have a shelter in their building will be able to take cover at the parking lots, and that the 340 public shelters operated by the city are in “excellent condition.”
However, he added that the parking lots are not a bomb shelter per se, but rather a place to run for cover for those who don’t have access to their own underground safe room.
He added that although he doesn’t have exact figures, most people do not have access to a bomb shelter in their building, but that the majority of people in the city will be able to find some sort of cover if the missiles begin to fall in Tel Aviv.
Tiomkin said that the shelters will remain locked until the IDF Home Front Command gives the order to open them, at which point within 24 hours, they will all be operational.
“At the beginning, it will be a shock, but then people will be able to manage,” Tiomkin said, adding that “there is no such thing as 100 percent, but we are basically in a good position, even though there will always be unknowns and situations you didn’t consider.”
Though it has Israel’s highest rental prices and is the economic center of the country, Tel Aviv has one of the country’s largest percentages of older buildings constructed before the First Gulf War, after which the construction of bomb shelters became mandatory in all new buildings.
A wholly different situation exists just south of Tel Aviv in Rishon Lezion, a boom town that has seen high rates of population increase in the 1990s and 2000s, and is now the fourth-largest city in Israel. According to the Rishon Lezion municipality, over 90% of city residents have a safe room or bomb shelter within their house.
The city also operates an additional 37 public shelters that can take in 5,500 people, the municipality said. Like Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion will also be able to accommodate spillover in underground parking garages.
Still, with the war drums beating, Tiomkin advised that no matter where Israelis live, they should take their future into their own hands and not just rely on the government to protect them in case of war.
“People should take their fate into their own hands more. Go and check that your safe room is ready, that you know where the nearest bomb shelter is, that you have what you need. Don’t just be unprepared and then come later with grievances against the government.”