A proposal to build a 350-vehicle underground parking lot, waste management facility, and a loading dock beneath Mahane Yehuda Market was unveiled yesterday. The project is expected to help alleviate the chronic congestion in the area, offer a cleaner environment for shoppers and tourists, and provide private cars with more parking.

According to the plan by Yigal Levi Architects and Andrei Treyev, delivery trucks and cars will be diverted to the underground complex via a portal on Agrippas Street. Vendors will be able to unload their wares and deliver them directly to their stalls via freight elevators that rise up from the floor of the shuk and visitors will be able to park their cars in the underground lot. Traffic will exit through an opening on HaEshkol Street.

Render of the Underground Complex Exit on HaEshkol Street by Andrei Treyev

The plan also calls for the installation of underground waste containers, which will help keep the market cleaner by enabling merchants to throw away trash without having to leave the shuk.

Render of the Shuk with Freight Lifts and Waste Containers by Andrei Treyev

Over the past decade, the Jerusalem shuk has seen a boom in popularity, prompting the upgrade and improvement of the facilities and infrastructure around it. Parking and traffic issues, however, have been mostly ignored until now.

But not everyone is impressed with the plan. Stall owners have expressed opposition to any construction that may disrupt business. The Lev HaIr Municipal Council also opposes the change, claiming that the gentrification of the market in recent years has reduced the need for loading and unloading infrastructure, rendering this unnecessary.

The District Committee, which has already rejected 99 objections to the proposal, is expected to make a final decision next week. If the project gains approval, construction will begin within six months.

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