Since the start of January, local authorities in Israel have been able to raise prices for curbside blue and white parking. But so far there has been no municipality that has chosen to take advantage of the new option.
As part of the Economic Arrangements Law enacted by the Knesset in November, the Ministries of Finance and Transport insisted on a reform of local authority parking tariffs. The reform involves two stages: the first already in force has ended the maximum price restriction of NIs 6.30 per hour for blue and white curbside parking. The second stage, which will come into force in three years, and only apply to cities with a population of more than 40,000, will only allow car owners to park for free in their own residential zone rather than throughout the city.
The government had expected the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality to hike prices but meanwhile that has not happened. One Ministry of Finance official impatiently told "Globes," "We had expected the local authorities to take action." The Ministry of Transport feels less strongly on the subject and a source told "Globes," "This is a voluntary process that allows local authorities to set parking tariffs."
"Globes" has found that many local authorities have not even considered using the new option as a way of managing city center parking demand and traffic congestion. Tel Aviv - Yafo Municipality was the only authority that told "Globes" that it was considering making parking more expensive but only for non-residents and no final decision had been taken. Many other municipalities including Jerusalem, Rishon Lezion, Givatayim, Ramat Gan and Petah Tikva told "Globes" they had no plans to raise prices. Beersheva said they had not yet decided on the matter and Haifa declined to comment.
Putting up parking prices might prove unpopular but elsewhere in the world they have been effective in reducing city center congestion.
Lior Steinberg, cofounder of Dutch organization Humankind, which promotes urban happiness, said. "When the local authorities in Israel provide parking to the maximum of their ability then everyone loses. Car owners can't move and find parking and those trying to get about in alternative forms of transport suffer, noise, pollution, and a lack of infrastructures.
"In places where they restricted parking of put in sidewalks and bicycle tracks, there is a rise in sales of businesses, welfare of pedestrians and riders and less dependence on cars. In Israel, there is no benefit in either choice. Pedestrians and (bicycle and scooter) riders are endangered, buses are late and cars are jammed up with no pleasant or efficient options."
Parking prices in other major cities are far higher than in Israel, In London NIS 9-54 per hour, New York NIS 8.5-46, Vancouver NIS 3-21 and Berlin NIS 8-16. Cities often charge differential prices according to zones and not an overall tariff.
The Ministry of Finance had hoped that the municipalities would use the potential of hiking parking prices as a way of better managing city traffic. But so far that has not happened.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 24, 2022.
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