The Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Committee today approved a master plan to cover the Ayalon Highway and develop the land above it. In the future, an urban building plan will be drafted to regulate the implementation of the covering and will be approved in two-four years. Project costs are estimated at $2 billion, making it Israel's largest municipal project.
The goal of the project, which might reach a 240 dunam plot (about 60 acres) is to create new, public, open spaces based on existing space. The famous Ayalon Highway, which at present splits Tel Aviv into two parts and generates air pollution and noise at the center of the city, will become a hub of recreational activity, with bike tracks, walking trails, green areas and cafes, right over the Ayalon Highway. This comes on top of the reduction of substantial air pollution and noise there.
The master plan divides the project into several zones, which will connect eastern Tel Aviv to the rest of the city, with a particular focus on connecting roads for pedestrians and bicycle riders via key east-to-west roads, such as the LaGuardia Street.
In addition, the plan proposes connecting the planned park with Yarkon Park in the north and Ariel Sharon Park in the south by a continuous pedestrian trail and bike track. The plan devotes special attention to the vicinity of HaShalom railway station, in cooperation with the Ministry of Transportation and Israel Railways.
The Ayalon Highway is currently the most congested of Israel's highways, with average daily traffic of 750,000 vehicles. Car and train traffic along the highway is a source of substantial noise and air pollution, with significant implications for land uses there.
In terms of transportation, highway covering will encourage use of public transportation, mainly for pedestrians. This is linked to the expected rise in the number of train passengers once the laying of the fourth rail track in Ayalon is completed.
The Tel Aviv Municipality said, "The project is in line with Tel Aviv's new master plan, which has been recently validated, and the municipality intends to realize the project gradually starting in the next few years."
Tel Aviv City Councilman Etai Pinkas, chairman of the Ayalon covering project steering committee says, "The covering of Ayalon is turning from a vision to reality. Step after step and approval after approval, the most congested infrastructure zone in the Middle East is about to become a distant memory, replaced by a large green lung and a new, vibrant, urban center, which will connect all sides of the city, with an emphasis on the south. Real estate construction plans around Ayalon are already being adjusted to the covering and its positive impact will already be felt in the near future."
The plan was drafted by Lerman Architects Ltd. and the Tel Aviv Municipality, Engineering Administration, Planning Department East.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 13, 2016
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016