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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Use rail line for Byron bypass: residents

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A new bypass campaign, ‘Grab the Rail’, has been launched by residents outraged that private enterprise and the state government intend to route Byron’s bypass along an historic residential precinct.

Should this route go unchallenged, Butler Street will experience a 2,300 per cent increase in traffic, said Grab the Rail’s Paul Anthony Jones.

‘The bypass could potentially make it one of the most dangerous suburban streets in Australia. Adding insult to injury, no social, urban, acoustic, heritage or air quality studies have been undertaken,’ said Mr Jones. ‘Neither have impact-mitigation measures been suggested – or are even possible given the existing built-up narrow road reserve.’

Grab The Rail supporters number around 46, he says, and will be meeting on January 19 at The Brewery from 3.30pm prior to making a formal submission on the West Byron project.

‘Grab The Rail was set up because it is a wider issue than just our neighbourhood, affecting the whole township.’

Instead of the bypass, the group proposes using a section of the old railway within town – from the Caltex station to the Roadhouse Cafe on Bangalow Road.

‘This part of the rail is perfectly positioned for a bypass and it’s wide enough for everyone – cars, buses, light rail, cyclists and walkers,’ said Mr Jones.

A railway corridor bypass is far greener, cheaper and less disruptive than the Butler Street route, he said. ‘The rail route makes perfect sense every way you look at it. It’s a low-impact traffic solution that would neatly avoid the Shirley Street bottleneck, give easy access to town from both directions, and whisk people and vehicles from one end of Byron to the other without further congesting town and Bangalow Road.

‘A well-designed shared transport route would be a great asset that could be achieved with minimum social, cultural, environmental and economic impact,’ said Jones. ‘The rail corridor is quite wide – to almost 100m in places, within the town confines.

‘There is plenty of scope for a shared transit way to allow for any future light rail and we would not impact at all on a proposal for a shuttle north, to say North Byron Resort or the Bluesfest site.

‘The rail trail as well would easily be accommodated including cycleway.’



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  1. As much as a bypass would be good for us residents to get from the north to the south I believe Shirley St should be a 2 lane one way road heading into town,beaches and a completely seperate exit road running parallel heading out to Ewingsdale joining back in near the Woolies Service Station.But if certain sections of the community won’t allow for many trees to be cut down to allow for a bypass then we will be stuck in major traffic queues for another 20 years and just getting worse every year.Using trains or buses won’t alleviate the problem to a big extent.This is a big problem that needs a big solve and one that needs to look at traffic numbers at least 20 years in to the future ,not just a quick “today” fix.I have watched the bush regenerate and reclaim Byron Bay over the last 50 years ,so cut down trees for a new corridor or we will be kept in 1960s forever. P.S It would have been easier if the people who came to live here in the last 30 years hadn’t and Byron Bay wasnt so loved ,but we can’t stop progress!

  2. A clever idea. The access would be tight at either end which could be a negative. Toots may also find difficulties with sharing trains, cars, etc. I prefer a road west beyond the Cumbebin Swamp to completely remove through vehicles from the Byron Bay township area. This is mainly farm land (farmers would have to agree!) and the bypass could be incorporated into any development at West Byron, on its edge. From my recollection there are already some reserves in this area that could be relatively easily developed into a road connecting Ewingsdale Rd with Bangalow Rd, near where Bangalow Rd joins St Helena Rd. These farm areas that could be used for roads are visibly if one goes along Skinners Shoot Rd and turns right at where the old Raywood Nursery once was. The road layout becomes visible down that road and can also be seen on maps along boundaries, etc. This would give a nice wide berth to the town and the delicate ecosystem of the Cumbebin Swamp while still permitting a scenic efficient journey south towards Suffolk Park and further to Ballina. Many great cities such as Paris and London have ring roads around to remove unwanted vehicles from heritage and significant areas.

  3. Had a gutful now these two faced developers are on a new con job temporary band aid solution, they are only in it for the bucks, I suppose the mug residents are expected to chip in eg excessive rates the current situation is caused by bloody Byron United ads flogging Byron to death.
    A friend of mine took an hour to get into town from the hway do you honestly believe a little bypass will work? You can keep on the freeway: don’t turn into byron bay – but the qlder s come in droves pushing people around – drunks bogans yahoos louts flock to byron bay.
    71 liquor outlets: what will happen? People will leave in droves, for these new residents will be from big cities. No good vibes – mcdonalds Kentucky chowking Jollibee u name it hungry guts will be in on the act. New taven grog shop more money for him the developers will screw the subbies walk away with bucks laughing; Where’s the next town we can destroy? I’m sorry it’s over in byron bay big time. It will be another town on the coast full of agro drunks chicken place will go perhaps they can get jobs in new dev ho ho the qlders will get them all developers speak with forked tongue sellout Byron regards doug expat Australia remember australia


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