Mayor aims to end parking confusion

Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham is determined to end the confusion over parking at Byron Bay.

She will be pushing for a decision for a consistent approach, either all 'nose-in', or all 'rear-in', parking one way or the other, hopefully next month.

Cr Barham said parking at Byron Bay was a 'hot' issue and she had some sympathy for visitors who were given tickets for parking the wrong way around.

With nose-in parking in some areas of the town and rear-to-kerb parking in other areas, she said it was easy to understand why people made mistakes.

“I would like to see a consistent approach - it is just so confusing,” she said.

Cr Barham said reading signs was not a priority for visitors in holiday-mode looking for somewhere to park at Byron Bay.

She said she had been contacted many times over the years by visitors irate over being given parking tickets.

As recent as last week she had received a lengthy, detailed and angry email from a Brisbane visitor who was given an $84 ticket for parking the wrong way around in the council's car park at Clarks Beach.

The visitor described the ticket as a 'car parking scam' with tourists being 'conned' by the council.

He demanded the fine be withdrawn and said he would never return to Byron Bay 'as long as I live'.

Cr Barham said it was a common response from visitors who had been given similar tickets, which was why it was important for the council to decide on a consistent approach to parking at Byron Bay.

When it came to the crunch, she said she would probably back nose-in parking mostly because of the rear-in impacts on pedestrians and footpath dining.

But she did acknowledge that given the number of bicycle riders in the town, there could be risks associated with reversing out of parking spots.

Whatever the outcome, Cr Barham expected the council would cop some flak.

“But I think we just have to bite the bullet,” she said.

Byron United president Ed Ahern and vice-president James Lancaster both said the council should concentrate on the bigger issue of traffic management in the town. Mr Ahern said the parking issue was not a high priority with the group, but even so he criticised the council for a lack of consultation.

“It's a perfect example of how we are treated by the council,” he said.

If consulted, Mr Lancaster said he would push for all rear-in parking in the town.

He said he understood the health implications of rear-in parking, but reversing into moving traffic at Byron Bay was not the way to go.

“Just imagine how many bike riders would get knocked over every day,” he said.

“It's too dangerous.”

Raised at the June meeting of the council's Local Traffic Committee, 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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