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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Is it time for Byron traffic lights?

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Clive Jeffery, Mullumbimby

I am not a traffic management consultant; I’m writing as a car driver who, in my working life, has regularly driven a car for an average of forty thousand kilometres each year and has held a licence for over fifty.

In my travels I have obviously used many a roundabout at busy intersections in most states of Australia.

In my work as a plant and machinery auctioneer across many industries I’ve developed a strong sense of what seems to work and what does not; a pragmatic view of the world you might say.

In my view the $5.7 million roundabout being constructed at the junction of Ewingsdale Road, Bayshore Drive and the as yet un-named major egress from West Byron housing estate has the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell of managing the traffic flow at that intersection.

The decision to build this roundabout is flawed, and I believe it will not work.

The traffic study incorporated in the Byron Shire Development Control Plan (2014) is from 2011 (seven years ago) and development in the Shire has grown exponentially since that time.

The missing, major, ingredient from this so-called solution is the (un-named) major exit from the proposed West Byron estate.

Even with the flow of traffic into/out of West Byron (the most recent underestimate at around 14,000 vehicles per day) missing from the equation the council announces on its roundabout information page that it will control 20,000 traffic movements along Ewingsdale Road each day. From my own observations this figure is way too low.

Even on Mullumbimby Road/Argyle Street between Uncle Tom’s Pie Shop and the railway crossing in Mullum there are between 12,000 and 15,000 vehicle movements each week day between 7am and 7pm. Ewingsdale Road is very much busier than this.

For a roundabout to work efficiently there need to be occasional breaks in traffic flow coming from the driver’s right so waiting vehicles can enter the roundabout.

We all know there are  hardly any breaks in the flow of traffic coming from either direction on Ewingsdale Road over summer. At the height of summer it can go almost back to the expressway. At times in Bayshore Drive it can go back to IGA shopping centre.

So… a $5.7million roundabout to help ease and speed up traffic flow? I don’t think so.

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  1. It is way past time for Byron Bay to have traffic lights. The gridlock and chaos at the Lason St roundabouts shows they are well past coping, to the extent that for part of last summer they had to be staffed with traffic directors. Something urgently needs to happen at the Clifford/Bangalow Rd intersection. No one particularly likes traffic lights but how else do you manage Byron’s ever increasing traffic for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists’ safe passage. I don’t get the ideological objection – are they inherently evil?


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