I have been thinking about the problems being generated by ever-increasing numbers of vehicles accessing Byron town. The proposed bypass will be ineffective, as the vast majority of vehicles head to the beaches or remain in town and would, as well as having a negative impact on the natural areas, flood quiet residential ones, even a school zone, with hundreds of cars that would increase significantly the risk to children’s safety. And lastly, the impact of the second railway crossing would inhibit the construction of a light train service, an option that has been used in other tourist places around the world with great success.
There is a solution to the problem. Set up a free parking lot in Ewingsdale, linked to a safe bicycle and pedestrian path and a shuttle bus in loop to the town and beaches; the Christmas experience was an encouraging one.
An incentive to use this ‘park and ride’ infrastructure would be a sensible increase in the street parking fees for non-residents.
This scheme would help reduce the number of day-trippers’ vehicles, and given its low impact and cost, should be given a trial. Because this proposal doesn’t cause irreversible damage, should it not work as expected, more aggressive actions could be then taken into consideration.
It goes without saying that should the West Byron development go ahead, all these ideas will be swept away by the harsh reality of the usual problems inherent to every other overcrowded, impersonal coastal town. But then we would be facing a different problem altogether because Byron Bay, as we know it now, will no longer exist – a sad perspective indeed.
Juan Cavero, Byron Bay