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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

We need trains

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  1. No one, including the recent rail corridor multi use consultants, is proposing funding a train in the Northern Rivers. A train would contribute little to relieve traffic issues at Splendour . I passed the site on Saturday, and buses were moving people without delay to and from diverse destinations, including places like the Tweed Coast, Lennox Heads, and Ballina away from the rail line. More generally in our region there is little serious congestion and a train would similarity do little to relieve such congestion as our traffic movements are too diverse and the busiest traffic corridors are not along the rail corrdior, but those in and out of the Ballina and Tweed coastal areas.

    The Byron Shire Council website correctly identifies tourism as the driver of its multi use rail and path project, with community use as an added benefit. Like the Elements train – and also the rail trial – a slow very light or Hi- rail if it can find funding will attract a small number of commuters with time on their hands, but it will not resolve traffic problems that need to be addressed by investments in urban cycling that encourage greater use of active transport and properly targeted improvements to remove blockages in the road system.

  2. Oh great-someone from Ballina thinks there’s ‘little serious traffic congestion’ in Byron Shire. Really like to see you tell that to people stuck for hours in traffic trying to get to their businesses and workplaces.

    We pay taxes up here and huge amounts of stamp duty from the sale of properties has filled the state gov coffers. Providing public transport Is the STATE GOVERNMENT’S responsibility up here just as it is in small towns in the Hunters Valley, such as Dungog, which has regular services to the city each day. Residents don’t have to cycle to town.

    Don’t know where people find the time to sprout such wordy nonsense.

    • I stand by statement Louise which was that more generally in our region there is little serious congestion. There might be circumstances such as accidents that create delays of hours, but people do not spend any thing like that amount of time getting in and out of work in Byron Bay or any where else in this region (and I have lived in cities where it does take hours to drive to work). The Bay has more congestion than other towns but that plainly relates to its poorly developed road infrastructure which funnels traffic through one pinch point crossing guess what – a disused rail corridor. In spite of the busiest transport corridors in our region being in and out of Ballina, it does not suffer serious congestion because it has developed an appropriate road infrastructure for its volume of traffic.

      Spending in Australia within states has never been based on tax receipts but on need. We certainly do need better public transport but why would you shift the limited amount of funding to a hugely expensive train service available away from better bus services that can serve all of the region? Buses can be targeted at the higher volume commuter routes like Lismore – Ballina and Byron Bay – Ballina; they can be targeted at the areas where by far the greatest numbers of transport dependent households live, the coastal areas of the Tweed and Ballina Shires; and they can be routed past key destinations like campuses and hospitals none of which are near the rail line. They can also serve the needs of the rail corridor population without stripping funding from other areas and for less funding can provide more frequent services than any train could.

      The State government has shown it is willing to improve public transport in rural areas. In 2017 our Gladys funded thousands of new bus services in NSW. Growing coastal towns away from the rail lines in the Hunter region with large numbers of older residents like Nelsons Bay got their share of improved bus services; we could have had our share too had more public transport advocates here abandoned their pointless demos and petitions and focused on lobbying for real public transport.

      Real public transport Lousie is about people – where they live and need to go – not shiny rails of steel.


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