Reaction to the introduction of front-in parking at Byron Bay has been mixed with the loss of parking spaces a major concern.
The town’s peak business body, Byron United, says 60 spaces were lost in the switch last Tuesday week from rear-to-kerb parking and it will have a negative impact on CBD businesses.
Byron United president Ed Ahern said he believed drivers had adapted pretty well to front-in parking.
“I don’t think there are any issues there,” he said. “But there are issues about the loss of parking.
“It’s an enormous impact. It depresses business.”
Mr Ahern said Byron United would write to Byron Council’s general manager, Graeme Faulkner, and ask where the council was going to provide parking to replace the 60 lost spaces.
He said multiply the $57,000 developers were required to pay per parking space in the town by 60 and it came to almost $3.5 million – money the council should provide to build a new car parking area.
Mr Ahern suggested the council should look at the Butler Street Reserve to provide the extra parking close to the CBD.
Spaces have been lost in Jonson, Marvell, Fletcher and Lawson streets, where parallel parking also has been introduced on the northern side.
The losses have mainly been brought about because garden borders were built at an angle to accommodate rear-to-kerb parking.
Parking spaces outside the Wash House Laundry in Marvell Street near the intersection of Jonson Street, have been cut from five to three.
Owner Bob Evans described the outcome as ‘terrible’.
“It’s unreal. Look how much waste there is,” he said.
“At the end of the day none of our clients can pull up to drop off laundry.
“They have to drive around the block and find somewhere to park and drag it (laundry) back here.”
However, Byron Council’s executive manager of community infrastructure, Phil Holloway, said he was unaware how Byron United had come to the conclusion that 60-plus spaces had been lost.
Mr Holloway said line marking was not completed and staff were working in the early hours of the morning undertaking further line marking.
"An additional one to two car spaces are currently being line marked at the end of each block and these works will be completed over the next two weeks," he said.
Mr Holloway said feedback from council rangers out on the streets was that the community and visitors were having no difficulty with the changes.
He said that in the past, problems had arisen from people not knowing which way to park and often they took up two car parking spaces.
"With clear line marking it is now very obvious how to park and there is much better car parking space usage and traffic flow,” he said.
"Most people find it easier to drive straight into a car parking space versus reversing.
"This is especially true of the many international visitors who often have to deal with driving on the opposite side of the road compared to their home country.
"For these people, reversing in with little help in the way of visual cues such as the previous white road discs, often created poor use of car parking space and confusion."
Mr Holloway said fine tuning of the line marking was still occurring in the town centre.
He said additional car spaces were being identified and marked as staff observed and monitored driver usage.
"Lawson Street has lost 17 spaces as it changed to parallel parking, however additional spaces have since been created in other streets," he said.
Mr Holloway said Byron United’s call for Butler Street Reserve to be used for car parking was not straight forward.
"It’s an ideal site, however, Butler Street Reserve is a Crown Reserve. Currently its adopted plan of management allows for only a small section to be used for car parking,” he said.
"In addition, nearby Somerset Street has all-day parking, is currently under used and is less than 10 minutes walking distance to either end of town."
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