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Trains the solution to traffic and parking

Community concerns about paid parking in Byron Bay, and the proposal to move Byron Community Markets from Butler Street to the Cavvanbah Sports Centre, are understandable.

Then there’s the $10 million Byron bypass which is causing angst among affected residents, but will do little to reduce traffic or parking problems in the town.

At the recent jobs forum in Ballina, lack of public transport was again identified as a major impediment to people in this region obtaining employment.

The West Byron development of possibly 1,000 homes will dramatically increase traffic and parking problems.

While governments spend billions upgrading the Pacific Highway to the specifications of the road transport lobby, little has been spent on our dangerous local roads, which are a little more than a patchwork of potholes.

Given there’s a billion-dollar train line and station in the centre of Byron; the only sensible, least environmentally destructive, cost effective, sustainable solution to all these problems is to have a regular commuter train service into Byron and around the region.

In Byron, and many of the eight out of ten major towns connected by the rail line, it’s an easy walk from the station to shops, markets, and beach. Festival sites at Bangalow, Mullumbimby. Tyagarah and Yelgun, are situated close to the rail line and could easily be connected, reducing some of the traffic congestion created by these events. No need to sit in traffic for hours breathing fumes then drive around looking for non-existent parking.

In other towns along the train line, local bus services could easily connect people to trains, as they do in other regions around the country.

The northern rivers population is growing fast. It’s also the third largest tourism destination after Sydney and Melbourne, with 4.6m visitors per year. Over 900,000 of these visitors come over the border from Queensland to Byron Bay every year.

The political dynamic of this electorate has changed. We are no longer a safe seat that politicians can ignore.

Rather than being distracted by individual issues such as the bypass, paid parking, moving markets, traffic congestion et al, the community needs to unite and tell our political representatives loudly and clearly that regular train services around the region and connected to Coolangatta, are the best solution to all of the above.

Louise Doran, Ocean Shores

 


10 responses to “Trains the solution to traffic and parking”

  1. Ross Thatcher says:

    Wonderful dream Louise. No doubt these trains can all be sprinkled in heavy-duty fairy-dust to allow them to pass one another on the single-rail, or are we just going to have the one train doing a 3-4 round trip?

    I’m sure the delays at all the crossings, often in the heart of a town already plagued with traffic issues, will really solve traffic problems.

    If buses can link people to train stations, why can’t they equally link people to their destinations? It’s not as though the trains give a whole lot of options, leaving you still stranded and reliant on traffic-related chaos to complete the trip.

    At least a cycleway would give people viable transport option and preserve the rail corridor for potential future use when the area is as heavily populated as capital cities are currently. Eco-tourism is the future so far as I’m concerned. There’s nothing “eco” about trains,,, bikes are the way of the future. Electric-bikes should be available for rent at every station, free to swap for a fresh one as needed, or free to plug in while enjoying a cuppa or a snack… and free to park at your destination. Some bike-only streets wouldn’t go astray in town centres too.

    • Gary Ainsworth says:

      Oh here we go another rail trail dreamer…

      Ross, the expensive cycleway you dream of is the only pipe dream here. It lost its only chance of funding in the foreseeable future a few months ago to Tumbarumba to Rosewood rail trail.

      Oh and try taking a ride on one of those TrainLink buses without a bucket… I can tell you right now it won’t work. And as for delays at level crossings, what, you mean the delays of 5 or so seconds? that is a nothingness compared to delays of 10 minutes on Ewingsdale Road.

      More than one train service can run easily on a one-track railway line. All station on the line have siding loops, so trains can wait for one another easily. Plus, there are things called timetables for a reason, if you have trains running an hour apart (this worked out well with the Pacific Coast Overnight Express and Gold Coast Motorail services), then you have time for each to give right of way.

      This sort of thing really isn’t that hard. Trains are the way of the future.

  2. Gary Ainsworth says:

    Here Here Louise. You raise some very good facts in this article. I and many others do agree that trains would be great in Byron. But while it may not take very many cars off the road, it will still provide an easy alternative to sitting in traffic for ages.

    It is stupid that we have a billion dollar railway sitting idle when it is the answer to our traffic woes, not a bypass that just needs to be bypassed after 10 or so years.

    If we want a futuristic and long term approach to this bypass, then the GTR proposal is not an option. Many other places around the world have realised that more roads is not the answer, and instead they are revitalising rail lines and noticing the traffic starting to ease.

    Bring back the trains

  3. Graham Smith says:

    Bus services are more flexible, cost far less and can move almost as many people as trains unless you are talking about major metropolitan populations.

    Trains are a romantic pipedream. Have an honest look at the costings and technical requirements. They do not stack up for rural and regional train services where better, cheaper options are available.

    • louise says:

      Buses are so wonderful they are empty most of the time as they don’t connect people to where they want to go and do huge damage to our shocking roads.

      Of course 4.6m visitors, with all their luggage and children would much prefer to travel long distances on bicycles to get here. rather than get a train from the airport.

  4. Angie says:

    Buses are great as part of an integrated transport system, but the buses also put a lot of pressure onto our regional roads and anything that reduces them would be beneficial to the roads in the long run. Also, fixing the rail would be cheaper than building more roads which are going to end up potholed like the rest of them. Good example of construction costs is Butler St Bypass approx 1km= $10 million, beach resort rail shuttle 3.4km=$1million. Would you rather put up with the potholes, or occasionally waiting for a train to pass and have better roads?

  5. Neil says:

    The problems of providing public transport options in this region as an alternative to private cars is profound. The reality is people will use their own car unless the inconvenience of doing so out ways the convenience. This occurs in urban areas and explains why public transport is so well patronised. It is less clear in a regional area such as ours where it is still more convenient to use the private car, although there is increasingly a place for public transport alternatives. This is especially so when there are major events such as Splendour.

    It is perhaps understandable that some people would like to see the train return as a public transport option. However the reality is that this is an absolute pipe dream. Even the most superficial analysis will show that it is not viable economically and would not be an efficient from of transport anyway. It should be consigned to the nostalgic past with sailing ships and the horse and buggy.

    Along with accepting the reality of private cars and improving the roads the emphasis should be on improving mini-bus services, preferably in designated lanes such as in urban areas. These vehicles could run from parking areas on the outskirts to the centre of town as in a park-n-ride scheme. However the reality is that most people will still drive because of the convenience, even when sitting for hours on Ewingsdale Road..

    The C-M corridor could then be available as a world-class cycleway which will provide transport for locals on provide a destination for tourists from all over the world. Of course this raises some challenges as do all tourism ventures, but the benefits are immeasurable. The only other option for this corridor is oblivion. Which would the train supporters prefer when they finally realise that the train is history: rail trail or nothing?

  6. louise says:

    It’s easy to make comments without providing research to back them up. Cycleways and public transport are two very different things. Very few people would be able to cycle long distances in heat and torrential rain to a holiday destination, work, university or medical services.

    The train was used by locals and tourists to get around the region for almost 100 years before the introduction of the XPT in 1990 and the change of timetable, making it inconvenient for most people. 143,000 people used the train the year before it was closed.

    With over 4.6m tourists to the region a train service is not a pipedream. Rather than ‘superficial analysis’, actual research shows 90% of locals would use a train service when the line is connected to Coolangatta. Many of the 40% of people arriving at Coolangatta airport, who then travel south, would also use trains. Many of the 1.5m visitors to Byron, 900,000 day trippers per year alone, would use trains, reducing traffic on the roads.

    No one is telling Queensland their well-patronised, train service on the line they had to rebuild, and brand new light rail service ‘are a pipedream’. They are going great guns.

    All the evidence shows a train service on the C-M line would also do well-and we don’t have to spend billions rebuilding the line from scratch.

  7. Richard says:

    2 words.. P I P E & D R E A M

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