The Ministry of Transport is promoting a plan to establish a metropolitan network of cycle paths in the Greater Tel Aviv region, Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz announced today. The paths will connect the city centers to the industrial zones. In the first stage, 10 lanes with an aggregate length of 150 kilometers will be established. The target is to complete the paving of the paths in the next four years.
The cities slated to receive bicycle paths are Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Ramat Gan, Holon, Bat Yam, Petah Tikva, Givat Shmuel, Givatayim, Azur, Ramat Hasharon, Rishon Lezion, Ra'anana, Kfar Saba, Herzliya, Ramle, and Or Yehuda. The plan is being advanced by an inter-ministerial steering committee including the Ministries of Transport, Finance, and the Interior; the local authorities in whose jurisdiction the bicycle paths will be paved; and representatives of NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System and Ayalon Highways, which are due to carry out the project on behalf of the Ministry of Transport.
The planned bicycle paths will be at least three meters wide, and will include bridges to facilitate rapid and safe crossing of high-speed roads, where necessary. The paths will include additional facilities for riders, such as resting places, water fountains, maps, and appropriate signs. The Ministry of Transport says that over the next two years, the use of electric bicycles will increase several times over.
33,000 electric bicycles were imported into Israel in 2014, and the number more than doubled to 73,000 in 2014. The Ministry of Transport estimates that when the metropolitan network goes into operation, 10% of all daily journeys in the greater Tel Aviv area will be by bicycle. The Ministry of Transport's figures show that half of all the journeys for work purposes are up to six kilometers, and that bicycles are the fastest means of transportation for these journeys. For example, the Ministry of Transport estimates that a trip from Givat Shmuel to the Maariv Junction in Tel Aviv will take 25 minutes by electric bicycle, compared with 50 minutes in a car. A trip from Neve Amal in Herzliya to the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange will take 40 minutes by electric bicycle, compared with 55 minutes in a car.
The Ministry of Transport adds that similar networks were built in recent years in several cities around the world, such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and London, and have been very successful. "The bicycle path networks will serve thousands of riders a day, and improve the safety of all who use them, including pedestrians," Katz says. "The plan will relieve road congestion in the coming years in several parts of Greater Tel Aviv, following work on the light rail."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 12, 2015
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