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Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

Car culture invades Byron Bay

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As a Brit visiting Australia for the first time, I have no right of say but the article that appeared as headlines in the 4 February edition of the Byron Shire Echo prompted me to observe that car culture is certainly alive and well in Byron Bay.

Cars are necessary as distances are far in Australia but there is no reason why they should dominate urban environments.

Despite its prominence as a tourist destination the car rules supreme. Pity the pedestrians who are obliged to negotiate the railings at the junction of Lawson and Johnson Streets. Surely there must be a better arrangement.

Why not divert the traffic away from Johnson Street by constructing a new crossing over the redundant rail tracks between Butler Street and Marvel Street. Johnson Street could then be given pedestrian priority, as too others with heavy footfall such as Lawson Street and Bay Lane. (See plan below for details).

byronbypassAccess to these streets could be controlled by the introduction of loading restrictions at busy times of the day.

Alternatively these streets could be designated as ‘shared space’ whereby vehicle drivers and pedestrians are given equal priority within an environment designed specifically for this purpose.

I suggest that councillors and the consultants, McGregor Coxall, study what has, and is, happening in Europe.

There are many examples of successful shared space within cities, perhaps the most relevant to Byron Bay being Poynton in UK. Check it out by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vzDDMzq7d0&feature=player_embedded

David Irwin. London




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  1. Great idea David. We definitely need to look at what is happening in urban areas elsewhere. Its seems that people who live in towns where there are malls and cycleways will walk and cycle. If you live in a town with the focus on cars, people will drive. Obvious really.

  2. I support the idea of reducing car traffic in our town centre. More pedestrian space and cycle ways within our town, reduced speed limits, park and ride and light rail access are obvious considerations.

  3. Great idea in principle, and I wholeheartedly support the pedestrianisation of the Byron Bay CBD, but that plan will have big impacts on the northern end of Butler St (a residential street) and create traffic chaos at Marvell and Jonson. A lot of inbound traffic is heading straight across town to the beaches as well, and this traffic will be forced down to Marvell and back up Fletcher or Middleton to get to the beach.

    I think there are better ways to do it. Lets hope the master plan people come up with something brilliant!


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