Sick of Waiting, Jerusalem Bikers Draw Own Paths

'I think that this is an uprising by the residents, and it’s justified,' says deputy mayor.

A Jerusalem biker zipping past a blacked-out DIY bike path.
Emil Salman

Residents of Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood marked off their own bike paths on several local streets earlier this week, apparently to protest the municipality’s foot-dragging on paving bike paths in the city.

Residents awoke Tuesday morning to find lines and symbols resembling those that designate bike paths painted on the sides of several streets, including Alfasi, Ramban and Ibn Ezra. By late Tuesday the city had erased the lines.

Deputy Mayor Tamir Nir, who holds the city’s transportation portfolio, also noticed the markings when he rode his bike to work Tuesday morning, and said he understood the residents’ frustration. “I think that this is an uprising by the residents, and it’s justified,” Nir said. “People want to ride their bikes, and take their children to preschool by bike.”

Nir said the city has a master plan for bike paths that has never been implemented. “The residents have shown us that this doesn’t have to cost millions; in some places all you need are signs.”

The municipality said it “enjoys adopting initiatives from residents and from the field, as it did with the Gazelle Valley Park, the Train Track Park, and in other instances. Here too, we’d be happy to sit with bike riders to move ahead on more bike paths in a legal and safe manner, to add to the many paths that have been paved in the city in recent years.”