The traffic queues for kilometres trying to get into Byron Bay last week.
The traffic queues for kilometres trying to get into Byron Bay last week.

Traffic study ‘waste of money’

With traffic banked up for kilometres trying to get into Byron Bay during the holiday season, local businessman Laurie Lynch has taken Byron Shire Council to task for wasting more money on yet another traffic study.

Mr Lynch, who owns a business on the Byron Bay Industrial Estate and was appointed to the council’s traffic committee in 1993, said the council was just wasting money instead of doing something positive to relieve the traffic congestion.

“Council’s support last November for a mini bypass will achieve absolutely nothing,” he said.
“It will not stop the congestion in the CBD.”

Last week the council conducted another traffic data collection survey in Byron Bay.

Acting director of council’s asset management services, Anthony Nash, said the data would be a useful tool for council.

He said the report would include an analysis of the demands and benefits of potential bypass options, such as, but not limited to, those known as the full and mini bypass, and any associated works, such as intersection upgrades.

“Such data will help understand the costs and benefits of any proposal being considered and assist with progressing an optimal option for Byron Bay traffic,” he said.

Last November council received a report regarding the status of the Byron Bay Bypass Development Application and resolved to give in-principle support to the option known as the mini bypass.

During 2009 council completed the Main Road (MR) 545 Strategic Road study which looked at the road corridor of Ewingsdale Road, Shirley Street, through Byron Bay town centre and south to the shire boundary via Bangalow and Broken Head Roads.

The study identified a series of road network upgrades and ‘trigger points’, such as traffic volumes and development, to assist in planning such upgrades.

That study was reported to council in April 2009 who noted the report and wrote to the Minister of Transport advising the study identified the need for a second rail crossing within the town centre.

Mr Lynch said the MR545 study was in parts inaccurate and did not take into account a number of issues.

“I would like to know what days the traffic survey was done and also the study relies on a traffic count carried out in a two-hour peak period in the mornings and later in the afternoons,” he said

“On many days there is a four-hour peak and last Wednesday at 1pm the traffic was queued back to the industrial estate, and on Boxing Day the traffic was queued all the way back to Ozigo.”

Mr Lynch said the study also stated that traffic congestion in the CBD was in part due to drivers trying to find a park.

“This is crap,” he said.

“I have been in town during the busy holiday period and on one particular day there were 30 car parks available.”

President of Byron United Ed Ahern said he wondered just what another traffic study was going to achieve.

“Byron Council is famous for doing yet another study and infamous for its lack of action,” he said.

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