Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ayalon roofing project one step closer to reality

The Tel Aviv Local Building and Building Commission just approved another grandiose plan to roof over one of the busiest roads in Israel - the Ayalon Highway. The project will cost an estimated NIS 2 billion. It should be kept in mind that the Local Planning and Building Commission's approval is only a recommendation to the District Planning and Building Commission, which is scheduled to discuss the matter. The plan has been on the agenda for many years, but has never before reached such an advanced stage. The approved plan is only a plan in principle aimed at establishing that the area is zoned for planning. At a later stage, both the Local and District Planning and Building Commissions will also have to approve detailed plans.

The Ayalon roofing project, which covers 240 dunam (60 acres), is aimed at creating an open public area above the existing road and railway tracks. According to the plan, the area slated for roofing stretches from the Central Railway Station and Arvei Nahal St. to just after the Hashalom Interchange and Yehudit Blvd. Under the plan, an area for leisure, bicycle and footpaths paths, green spaces, cafes, and supportive commercial activity will be opened above the noisy highway. The idea underlying the plan is to devise a creative solution for the shortage of public land in the city center that will unite urban tapestries and improve the environment by reducing the burdensome air and noise pollution. The project conforms to the deposited outline plan for the city, which includes roofing over the Ayalon.

In the framework of this plan, it was also decided to impose restrictions on issuing building permits within the boundaries of this plan under Section 78 of the Planning and Building Law. These restrictions are designed to ensure that no building permit granted within the area of the plan makes it impossible to carry out the project. According to the plan, planning work will take place in two stages. Stage A will consist of an Ayalon Vision master plan, and Stage B will be the designing of an Urban Building Plan for the project. When these plans are finished, they will be brought before the planning institutions for approval. The Tel Aviv municipality today predicted that the master plan would be brought before the Local Planning and Building Commission in early 2016. The plan is being drawn up by Lerman Architects and the east planning department in the Tel Aviv municipality engineering administration. The Tel Aviv municipality said, "Approval of the plan means that the largest municipal project in Israel is getting underway. It will change the entire main central business area, while linking the eastern part of the city to its center." The municipality added that implementation of the project would be gradual, starting in the coming years, and that the new space created by the roofing project would be gradually used for the benefit of the public through the project's completion.

Tel Aviv city council member Itay Pinkas Arad, who chairs the Ayalon roofing project steering committee, said, "Tel Aviv-Jaffa today reached a milestone in infrastructure, environment, and architecture by beginning a project that will certainly draw national and international attention. The busiest strip of infrastructure in the Middle East, composed of a railway, roads, sewage pipelines, drainage, electricity, communications, and more, will become in a few years a fertile island of green in the heart of the city. The shortage of open spaces is being solved in a unique way through the creation of a new area at the expense of an existing area, while reducing existing environmental hazards and creating open spaces for the benefit of the city, its residents, and its visitors. In addition to being the largest municipal roofing project in Israel and one of the most ambitious in its history, the Ayalon roofing project will be one of the world's most impressive infrastructure-environmental projects, and a municipal symbol to be proud of." As of now, Ayalon Highway is one of the main and most significant traffic arteries in the national traffic system. An average of 750,000 vehicles a day pass through it, and it is considered the busiest transportation artery in Israel.

Source Globes

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