Tens of thousands of new homes are planned for the coming years, many of them to be built in new neighborhoods – but before buying a home in those neighborhoods, potential residents may have to sell their cars. Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon has in recent days signed orders that change the long-standing formula that requires local authorities to provide sufficient parking spaces for residents, with the intent of encouraging more people to use public transportation or two-wheeled vehicles (like motorcycles or bicycles) to get around.
Under the new arrangements, local authorities will be required to assign between one and 1.9 parking spaces where housing units for private homes are within a major public transportation route, instead of the current 2 spaces. For apartments, each one would be assigned a half of a space, instead of a whole one. Apartments that are more than 600 meters from a transportation route would receive between 1 and 1.5 spaces per unit. Rules that have been in effect until now require the allocation of between 1 and 1.25 spaces per apartment.
Parking in areas zoned for commerce will also be harder to find. Commercial strips will have 40 percent fewer spaces, while new industrial zones for high-tech companies and other offices will have between 300 percent and 600 percent fewer spaces than in existing similar-sized zones.
It’s likely that the changes will cause contractors to build underground parking facilities in apartment buildings, as well as public parking structures in commercial and business areas – which drivers will pay for, of course, thus discouraging further the use of vehicles. According to Ehud Danos, chairman of the Israel Real Estate Assessors Association, this plan may backfire. “Contractors may welcome these rules, because it costs money to allocate space for parking spaces. But what if the public transportation facilities that are promised do not materialize? This could turn into a transportation and sales catastrophe. The state is betting on a much expanded public transportation system that does not exist yet.”