Butler Street Bypass and traffic alternatives

Byron Residents’ Group will always look for proper analysis, research, process and community consultation. The Butler Street Bypass is being pushed through without any of these.

The following is from Grab the Rail – not everyone would agree that their plan for a bypass is the right one but the information is here for you to study and draw your own conclusions:

The most comprehensive traffic study — including designed and costed solutions — for Byron Bay was undertaken from 1995 to 2001 culminating in the 2001 Environmental Impact Statement and Species Impact Statements. This work was funded by a $450,000 grant in 1998 from the Department of Transport.

The outcome was a 2 lane bypass with capacity to expand to 4 lanes along the then rail corridor with safety offset distances from the then operational trail line. This was stage one from Shirley Street to Browning Street. A planning horizon, effectively the use by date for the functionality of this proposal given the predicted traffic growth over time was 2010.

Stage 2 then was proposed and that was a link from the Caltex/Woollies service station along the Byron Street road reserve behind the current hospital linking to Stage one route along the rail corridor. This proposal was envisaged to be required by 2015. The forecasts in this document are completely accurate and we find ourselves now in 2015 with all the traffic chaos predicted and no effective solution.

But it gets worse. We have a silly & destructive proposals like Cr Rose Wanchap’s routing of major through traffic right up toward the  beachfront and most busy pedestrian area with her link road through the Jonson Street north carpark and up onto Bay Street in front of the Beach Hotel. We have a proposed widening of Shirley Street to 3 lanes which will become 4 lanes so that our entry to town becomes a multi-lane parking lot of fuming cars in front of our busiest motel and tourist accommodation establishments threatening the historic avenue of pines and choking access to and from apartments and houses. Meanwhile retiring MP Don Page and his National Party are working tirelessly to prevent the use of the rail corridor in Byron for multi modal transport & bypass instead wanting to foist a hopelessly inadequate Butler Street bypass on the town because they want the rail corridor for the exclusive use of the Rail Trail. Don Page & the National’s offer of more bus services in light of this can only be seen as a cruel joke with more buses jammed in traffic and no sensible bus transit centre plan.

The proposed Butler Street bypass will destroy and fragment over a hectare of SEPP 14 wetlands including endangered species, it will force the local markets out of town, it will destroy a heritage neighbourhood and open up the rail corridor reserve to intensive urbanisation.

Everyone need to take a deep breath and review the past work on the Byron bypass, consider the legitimate claims of the local residents, the serious impacts that have been identified and the true values of our environment and cultural heritage. This is what a 5 year study culminating in 2001 undertook. Nothing has changed much except a National Party intent on eliminating the natural resource of the towns rail corridor from the people of Byron Bay and handing it over to tourism and private interest.

Here is link to the 2001 EIS documents including the Grab The Rails proposal.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/72fja9z93d9pawm/AABCQ3a-symzsP_WFK-JtFeqa?dl=0

5 Comments

  1. Really disappointed BRG has swallowed the GTR line on the bypass. Yes it would make a lot of sense to use the railway corridor and not disturb any wetlands but the NSW govt has ruled it out time and time again. The rail trail wasn’t funded, Don Page has retired, and the Nats lost Ballina, but still it’s a grand conspiracy (by BSC apparently) to stop the rail corridor being used. Give me a break.

    What’s conveniently overlooked is GTR carves up a much longer section of wetlands west of town, including a bat colony. GTR is also 4x as long as the Council bypass so presumably will cost around $40M. Byron Council doesn’t have $40 million, it doesn’t even have $10 million!

    GTR does nothing to keep the cars out of town, no provision for daytripper parking west if the CBD, and does nothing to help the tourists get around town to the beaches, they still have to queue up on Shirley St. Sure its great for residents who want to get home to Suffolk in a hurry but not for much else.

    I’m so over GTR being portrayed as some kind of panacea that will solve all Byron’s traffic problems. It won’t. It won’t happen for regulatory reasons beyond Council’s control, and it would be fantastically expensive anyway.

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    1. BRG agrees there are flaws in the GTR proposal – particularly the second stage. Council’s proposal was rejected by Council istself – it is being hurried through without proper consideration of the future needs of the town. There isn’t even a proper traffic study to determine how much traffic W Byron is going to generate. The developers’ traffic study was a joke.

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      1. There was a proper traffic study done in 2009. Nothing much has changed since then except everything has got worse, and West Byron will make it worse again, especially with 2,000 more residents who can park for free in town.

        The MR545 study concluded:

        “Byron Bay town is the destination for most vehicles and therefore improved access to, and traffic distribution within the town centre, is required. Not a bypass of it

        The study shows that the further south a new access point is provided, the less traffic it will attract and therefore not alleviate the congestion”

        http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/2009/04/30/byron-bay-traffic

        The current Council bypass DA estimates only 25% of cars will use the bypass, the rest will still cross the railway line at Lawson St. Why? Because the southern access point is too far south. Most people simply don’t want to go there. They want to go to town, or they want to get around town to get to the beaches.

        Why was the mini-bypass the best solution in 2009 but not today? Phil Holloway’s quotes from that period make interesting reading now. What’s really required (from a traffic movement perspective at least) is both a “long” bypass to Mitre 10 / Browning *and* a mini-bypass that connects Butler St to Marvell St. That would allow western access to the new very large underground parking areas at the new shopping mall, and allow beach-bound traffic to get around a traffic-calmed town centre without trucking up Lawson St.

        Given that any longer bypass (from say, west of Belongil Creek to Lilli Pilli) would be prohibitively expensive and only serve residents, I can’t see there being any radically different options available. The town is hemmed in by wetlands to the west and ocean to the north, and the rail corridor has been ruled out. I really don’t know where else you can put it, and no amount of community consultation will change that. Whatever is done, someone is going to be very unhappy about it, but clearly the current situation is untenable.

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  2. Really disappointed BRG has swallowed the GTR line on the bypass. Yes it would make a lot of sense to use the railway corridor and not disturb any wetlands but the NSW govt has ruled it out time and time again. The rail trail wasn’t funded, Don Page has retired, and the Nats lost Ballina, but still it’s a grand conspiracy (by BSC apparently) to stop the rail corridor being used. Give me a break.

    What’s conveniently overlooked is GTR carves up a much longer section of wetlands west of town, including a bat colony. GTR is also 4x as long as the Council bypass so presumably will cost around $40M. Byron Council doesn’t have $40 million, it doesn’t even have $10 million!

    GTR does nothing to keep the cars out of town, no provision for daytripper parking west if the CBD, and does nothing to help the tourists get around town to the beaches, they still have to queue up on Shirley St. Sure its great for residents who want to get home to Suffolk in a hurry but not for much else.

    I’m so over GTR being portrayed as some kind of panacea that will solve all Byron’s traffic problems. It won’t. It won’t happen for regulatory reasons beyond Council’s control, and it would be fantastically expensive anyway

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  3. The Butler Street Community Network who created the GTR Bypass campaign and members of BRG have finally been vindicated in their claim that Byron Shire Council has been misleading community and councillors for years over the availability and funding of the rail corridor for a multi modal inner town bypass.

    A freedom of information application to State Government on the funding arrangements for the bypass reveals that the money was made available to develop the best outcome and was not tied to any preferred route such as Butler St. On the 1 June 2017 a letter was also received from Transport for NSW, the government department providing funding and over site for the bypass proposal clearly indicating a willingness to consider a rail corridor route option.

    The extraordinary fact now however is the unwillingness of the Byron Greens dominated Council to accept the positive possibilities of this alternative and their determination to continue with a project of such disrepute destroying identified critically endangered habitat in the wetlands, a heritage listed old Byron Bay neighbourhood and the cultural and social environment and economy of the iconic market grounds.

    Questions need to be answered by the Byron Greens over this complete hypocrisy of Greens policy of social justice and ecological sustainability, not to mention economic justice with the refusal to consider a known superior cost benefit solution.

    The Butler Street Community Network and its GTR campaign does not endorse in any way the proposed West Byron Development. For that matter we would prefer no Bypass to the flawed and fatal West Byron development. Non-the-less Byron Bay has immediate traffic & transport problems and traffic calming objectives for the CBD and we will continue to campaign for the best inner town bypass solution without destroying much of what we value in our community.

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