Second Tel Aviv Light-rail Line Gets Green Light, Despite Objections

The route was approved in a closed meeting, to which only government and infrastructure committee representatives were invited.

The Green Line will run from Rishon Letzion to two separate termini north of Tel Aviv – Herzliya and Ramat Hahayal.
Ofer Vaknin

The National Infrastructures Committee unanimously approved on Monday plans for a second light-rail line in the greater Tel Aviv area. The proposed route of the Green Line will lead to the closure of large areas of Ibn Gabirol Street and Har Zion Boulevard in the city center to pedestrians.

The route was approved based on the report of Dimitri Mazo, an expert appointed by the Planning Authority at the Interior Ministry. He examined objections to the route, filed by residents who complained that it would effectively divide the hardscrabble Neve Sha’anan neighborhood in south Tel Aviv.

The Green Line will run from Rishon Letzion to two separate termini north of Tel Aviv – Herzliya and Ramat Hahayal. Only the track in the center of Tel Aviv will be underground.

Mazo recommended not moving the two light-rail portals (through which the train enters and exits the tunnels) from the intersection lying between Har Zion Boulevard and Levinsky Street in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood, or from Ibn Gabirol in north Tel Aviv.

Overall, Mazo rejected 107 out of 147 filed objections. Among his decisions was a rejection of a demand by green groups to improve the links between the light-rail and bus systems, as well as a demand for planned bike paths. He also rejected a demand to include the public in the planning, and to minimize the felling of trees.

The route was approved in a closed meeting, to which only government and infrastructure committee representatives were invited. The meeting was not open to the public or other planning bodies such as the Tel Aviv municipality, which means the public was unable to lodge further objections.

The expert’s report was not officially published or distributed among objectors to the plan or to professionals in local and regional planning committees, which had also opposed the splitting of Neve Sha’anan into two sections. The infrastructure panel says it followed the legally prescribed procedures.

The plan will now go to the cabinet for final approval.