The traffic will be horrific

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Traffic queues into Byron will only get worse if the West Byron development goes ahead

There could be a minimum of 1500 houses at West Byron but with lots as small as 250sqm that could go up to over 2000. That equates to between 3000 – 5000 more people and their cars on the road into Byron. There are just under 10,000 people in the town of Byron and the traffic is already a problem. The residents of Ewingsdale and Sunrise already face a battle to get into town. The developers said they will  widen the road and add “new dual roundabouts on Ewingsdale Rd to service the new population and maintain traffic flow”. That will just deliver traffic faster to the choke point and do nothing to stop the traffic queues.

The developers’ traffic assessment was severely flawed. It only accounts for 856 dwellings rather than the minimum of 1100 and up to 2000 now proposed and it failed  to account for a single customer visiting any of the hundreds of shops, businesses and tourist facilities proposed (ie the 2.8 ha to be zoned for tourism purposes is only assessed as generating traffic from 20 employees! – does that mean they are not expecting the tourists to get to the facilities by car?  This is not a credible traffic study.

The Butler Street bypass that’s been announced  by local member Don Page and funded by the NSW government – all to facilitate West Byron going ahead – was never the choice of the community or the Council.  Council had rejected that option in the past because their study showed that this bypass will only divert 7-14% of traffic. West Byron’s 1500 or more new homes and businesses is likely to add to the inflow of traffic by at least 30%. The Butler Street bypass is a waste of time and money.

Businesses is Byron can expect to lose customers if the traffic gets worse. Many residents in town already avoid travelling to the industrial estate at certain times of day and others don’t come to town because of the burdensome traffic queue. Many people choose not to come to Byron on days when they expect heavy traffic, a phenomenon that is increasing.

The $7000 per dwelling that the developers are contributing to road improvements is a pittance and Byron ratepayers will have to pay to finance a road that services the needs and desires of the developers. The developers’ contribution is a joke considering the enormous damage this development will inflict on our beautiful town. And they say they will only pay it as each lot is developed so it will trickle in. They are getting off lightly given the tens of millions of dollars profit that this development would generate for them.

Even on the understated number of dwellings used in the developers’ own traffic study, it is anticipated that an extra 6,000 vehicle movements per day will be generated. With the approved developments at North Byron Parklands and Habitat at Sunrise now under way, the sportsfields seeing increased usage and the new hospital to come online soon, it is already apparent that traffic congestion on Ewingsdale Road is going to get a lot worse even without the West Byron development.

From the BEACON_West Byron Submission  to the DPI:
There is a major discrepancy between the traffic volumes claimed by the proponents and those derived by applying the NSW RTA Guide to Traffic Generating Developments. This needs to be investigated and explained (as does the failure by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to consider complaints regarding this).
2. There needs to be an independent and honest appraisal of the potential traffic generation of the 1,100 residential lots and for customers and deliveries to the 40 (or more) shops and 70 (or more) industrial lots. These figures need to be factored into all future scenarios, including Loss Of Service considerations.
3. To have any validity the model used needs to be validated with an independent data set (not used in model development).
4. To be transparent, all relevant scenarios need to be assessed with and without West Byron rather than only considering West Byron along with additional significant changes.
5. Reliable costings need to be made of all proposed road and intersection upgrades (ie making Ewingsdale Rd 4 lanes, mini bypass, long bypass, various roundabouts) and prospects of funding them identified.
6. The shortage of car parking places in town needs to be factored into considerations.
7. The effect that any increase in Loss Of Service due to West Byron will have on visitors and tourism in Byron Bay needs to be a consideration.

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