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The centre of Jerusalem is expected to change beyond recognition within two to three years, when the place will become a crowded area similar to Zurich's famous Bahnhofstrasse in Switzerland.
The plan to change the central streets of Jerusalem is underway, specifically Jaffa Street and its many branched streets. The whole area will turn into a pedestrian mall with a light train, a convention center and a place with prestigious brand names.
In the past year, a few delegations from the Jerusalem Municipality, headed by Director-General Eitan Meir, have met with Zurich's municipality representatives and received construction plans and information about Bahnhofstrasse.
Entire elements from the Swiss street will be reconstructed on Jaffa Street, and the light train station which will be built there, including the small red-tiled roofs, plazas, water fountains, and the ancient pavement tiles, will all be similar.
The only difference between Jaffa Street and Bahnhofstrasse is that the latter has a light blue lake with swans at its end. Jerusalem had to let that one go. Instead, a red wall will be built. Will Israelis be able to insert notes into it, like in the Western Wall?
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski is terrified of such idea: "Absolutely not. It's only an architectural element meant to break the streets' length since, unfortunately, we have no lake."
Jaffa Street will turn into a pedestrian mall, and the only traffic on the street will be the light train. Private and public vehicles will be banned. Business owners along the street will get an incentive of NIS 7,000 (about USD 1,560) to rebuild the display windows.
The project is a joint venture of the government, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority, along with the Eden company, at the cost of NIS 400 million (about USD 90 million)
The plan also calls for allowing tuition and grant incentives for students who will choose to live in the center of the capital. Last but not least, the famous Bezalel design school will return to the city centre.
Reproduced with permission: Ynet