Tel Aviv to Suffer from Heavy Traffic due to Light Rail Construction

Before the end of the year, traffic in Tel Aviv will become worse because the Purple Line light rail route needs to be constructed.

This would mean that the main segment of one of the busiest streets of the city, Allenby Street, would have to be blocked off.

Current plans

The current plans dictate that in the coming months, buses, cars, supply trucks for stores and garbage collection trucks will be redirected permanently to adjacent routes.

This is because the light rail will exclusively use the street once it becomes operational in 2026, which has drawn the ire of store owners and residents.

While the other parts of the rail system have been constructed underground, this section of the track will be constructed on the ground level.

The street is a popular one, as it is where the iconic Carmel market is, and thousands of buses travel through the street on a daily basis.

Private vehicles are already not allowed to use some parts of the street because of the work. They will close the street in stages, starting with a segment close to the Ben Yehuda Street intersection.

Next, they will block the central part of the street, from the King George Street intersection to the southern end.

No final decision

Passengers from Ramat Gan, Yehud, Givatayim and Kiryat Ono will be able to use the Purple Line for traveling to the center of Tel Aviv.

The Tel Aviv municipality stated that they had not yet made a final decision regarding the date and plans of the closure of Allenby Street.

But, it did add that it had consulted with the company in charge of the light rail i.e. NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System, about the matter.

They had concluded that the street will not be fully closed until the Red Line, which is the first light rail line, becomes operational in November, which has been subject to numerous delays.

Originally, it had been planned to permit buses to use the route, but an NTA official said that doing so would mean uprooting trees and the system would not be able to operate punctually.

The unnamed official said that if the bus is late, it would also delay the train and this would affect the service in the central region because the trains are dependent on each other.

The reaction

A Tel Aviv resident action committee’s coordinator, Inbal Gelz submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice for stopping the construction work.

The petition claimed that the bus stops on Yehuda Halevi Street, Ben Zion Boulevard and Rothschild Boulevard are not adequate substitutes for Allenby.

She also demanded that the original plan be followed, which would allow buses to operate along with the trains.

Gelz said that this would lead to permanent suffering for them because it is not temporary.

In August, Meital Lahavi, the Deputy Minister, also sent a letter to the Director-General of the Tel Aviv municipality and asked that the plan for closing Allenby Street be reevaluated.

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