Byron Shire Council’s Transport Advisory Committee ‘learnt’ on 12 March that bus operations on the trunk roads into Byron Bay are extremely hampered by congestion on those roads.
The public transport system is failing. Car drivers are also sorely aware of the congestion. Proposals to double the car lanes into Byron may appear to help but experience with all road expansion programs shows that, once the new capacity is ‘discovered’, it moves the congestion to where the upgrade finishes and compounds it as well.
Or are we going to double the width of every road in the shire? The state government’s upgrade of the Pacific Highway is a classic illustration, we’re all aware of the influx of maroon number plates to Byron on a sunny weekend.
There are two real answers to traffic congestion. The first is to decrease the need/desire to drive cars to the destination at the end of the congested roadway. The second is to increase capacity to get there, but not by car!
Turning over the rail corridor to private transport is clearly wrong. Setting up public transport within the corridor would be smart, along with a place to park cars (probably at a location where the road became too skinny).
Stops along the route make sense, where there are population densities – they wouldn’t have to park before they ride. Sharing the public transport corridor with bikes and pedestrians would also be fine, where it’s safe.
If you were a state government who imposed extra population in a ‘growth’ area and who invited visitors by car with a spanking new freeway, surely you would make the rail corridor the prime public transport carrier.
Neither of the old-party governments have any ‘track’ record of doing that.
Duncan Dey, Byron shire councillor