Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



The Changing Face of Jerusalem

Avi Friedman

A new bridge dominates the city skyline, and underground infrastructure updates necessary for the nearly-completed light rail have brought Jerusalem into the twenty-first century. But behind the façade of modernization, the holy city retains its small, traditional, family-like atmosphere.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roads, water, electricity, bus lines, and sewage lines — many of which were laid by the Ottoman government prior to World War I — couldn’t handle the increased demand, and by the mid-1990s Jerusalem’s ability to sustain itself was severely in question. Traffic had become bad enough that many Israelis tried to avoid the city if possible, and outlying shopping malls in Malchah, Mevasseret Zion and Ma’aleh Adumim provided parking, air-conditioned shopping, and catered to an Israeli populace that for the first time had a modicum of disposable income.

In order to address the challenges, then-Mayor Ehud Olmert created the Jerusalem Transportation Master Plan, a committee of geographers, transportation specialists, urban planners, statisticians and other professionals, and tasked the group with formulating a plan to update the city’s infrastructure. The goal, according to Alex Langer, then- Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Transportation and Eitan Hirsch, Director General of the Jerusalem municipality, and was ultimately to prepare the city for the million residents expected to inhabit Jerusalem by the year 2020.

Shmuel Elgrabli, a spokesman for the Master Plan who has been involved with the planning process since its inception, says the committee was astounded at the state of Jerusalem’ s transportation infrastructure when it began work in 1998, and compared the city’ s transportation map to “ a plate of spaghetti.”

“When we started work, we knew downtown Jerusalem was in bad shape, but we were shocked at what we found. There was no rhyme or reason behind the public transportation map, and Jaffa Road was usually a solid traffic jam of buses, starting near the Old City and stretching all the way to the Central Bus Station — which made the city’ s main thoroughfare congested, polluted, and terribly noisy. It was absolutely unbearable.”

Much of Jerusalem is still a mess of building materials, but the city has started to emerge from a long night of hyper-construction. The city’ s first light-rail route, from Pisgat Ze’ev to Bayit Vegan, is set to begin operation in time for Pesach.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"