Byron parking issue gathers speed - again

DRIVERS, start your engines.

The flag is about to drop on the latest round of the 'front-in' versus 'rear-in' angle parking at Byron Bay debate.

It's a debate that stretches back many years - the last round was probably around 10 years ago - and it's one that seems to split opinion 50-50.

The issue was raised at the June meeting of Byron Council's Local Traffic Committee during discussion on traffic management measures that could improve the amenity of the town.

The traffic committee noted that the issue was, indeed, a long-standing one and a number of issues should be considered before any recommendation on changing the parking direction was made.

It also noted that front-to-kerb parking made the process of getting into a space quicker, but it meant drivers had to be on the road to access boots.

As it stands now, visitors have to cope with several methods of parking at Byron Bay.

In the CBD there is rear-to-kerb angle parking, along with parallel parking and in Bay Street on the beachfront and parts of Middleton Street, it is front-to-kerb. It's also front-to-kerb at Wategos Beach.

But just about any day of the week, you can find vehicles - mostly campervans - parked the wrong way around and they usually end up with a ticket.

Cr Richard Staples, who has been involved in previous parking debates, said he didn't mind the issue being discussed again.

Cr Staples believed it was easier for some people to park front-in, but any competent driver shouldn't have trouble reversing into a parking spot.

He recalled information provided during the previous debate suggested there were less accidents with nose-in parking, but if there was an accident, it tended to be more serious.

One of the arguments raised last time by supporters of nose-in parking was that there would be less car exhaust fumes going into shops.

It's not one that Cr Staples backs though.

“I don't buy into that too much. As far as I am concerned, the whole town is full of fumes,” he said.

“I would prefer to get the cars out of the main part of the town - but that's another story.

“There is no right answer. I am sure everyone will have their views about it.”

David 'Sput' Keevers, owner of Byron Bay Longboards in Jonson Street said there needed to be greater consistency in the town and across the shire.

He said there was nose-to-kerb parking on the Byron Bay beachfront, while it was rear-to-kerb in other areas of the town and there was nose-in parking at Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads.

It should be either all front-in or all reverse-in parking to avoid any confusion, Mr Keevers said.

With his shop located in one of the busiest traffic spots in Byron Bay, he sees examples of that confusion just about every day ranging from people illegally parking nose-to-kerb and traffic lined up waiting for a driver to reverse park into a spot.

“There's a lot of honking of horns and abuse,” he said. “People have just got to be patient.”

Long-time Byron Bay local, Ted Taylor, said while front-in parking would cause less traffic hold-ups, it could be more dangerous reversing out, especially if a big 4WD vehicle or van parked next to you.

The issue of nose-in parking will be part of a report on traffic management measures to be presented to the council in the near future.

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