Outcomes of the changes

The impacts of the changes, including on residents and visitors alike, appear to be minimal, with Council Rangers advising levels of parking compliance have already shown marked improvements.

As for business impacts, and even accounting for the loss of some car spaces as discussed below, the reported business activity over the Easter break suggests the parking changes have had little to nil impact on trade (eg page 11, Byron Shire News, April 15, 2010).

Over 600 car spaces now line marked

A map of where the changes have occurred is available online.

The recent works to line mark all the areas around the town centre where possible (ie excluding such areas where gravel shoulders exist) has resulted in 417 ‘front in’ angle car parking spaces. 

More vehicle parking spaces were also created by numerous parallel parking areas, with 174 individual bays marked and more again available through line marked ‘lengths’ where individual bays were not considered necessary or beneficial, eg Carlyle Street and Kingsley Street, east of Middleton Street.

An increase in accessible (disabled) parking bays was also achieved, with nine (9) such bays included in the project, several of which delivered improved accessibility through the required kerb and gutter works.

Only one new Loading Zone is to be added at the rear of the Community Centre in Fletcher Street, which has been recently endorsed following a request received by one of the regular ‘tenants’ of the facility. Similar requests are considered on merit and as and when received.

Loss of car spaces

When the proposed change to the angle and change of direction of parking was reported to Council, it was recognised that there would be a loss of available space for kerb-side parking.  You may read the full report at: Item 12.22 - Ordinary meeting of Council of 13 August 2009.

The following points are noted from the report regarding possible loss of parking spaces and possible changes to landscaping:

  1. most of the parking spaces across the town centre prior to the changes were not line marked, which leads to inefficient parking practises
  2. an accurate assessment of the available number of parking spaces before the changes is not possible, other than by desk-top assessment and estimation of the available space for kerb side parking
  3. unmarked kerb-side parking is inefficient and the line marking of all town centre parking will improve efficiency
  4. there is a loss of available space for parking, but this is a cost that will be off-set by the benefits of improved traffic flow and efficiency of parking
  5. there is a loss of spaces along the northern side of Lawson Street between Jonson and Fletcher Streets with a change from angle parking to parallel parking
  6. there is some space created at the end of a row of spaces due to the angle of the kerb blisters being set up for rear-to-kerb parking following the changes to front-to-kerb parking.  These spaces could be made available for car parking, but at a high cost of removing part of the kerb blisters and part of the garden bed and building road pavement over that area
  7. the opportunity exists to use these spaces for motor cycle parking, bicycle parking or additional space for landscaping

Creation of more, and other changes on, car parking

In addition, there are other points to consider as to any impact of car parking numbers in the town centre.  In this regard, over recent years:

  1. Council has completed the upgrading of both the Lawson Street North and Clarkes Beach car parks
  2. existing parking remains under utilised, such as the all day free parking that is paved and line marked within Sommerset Street and the informal signed areas within neighbouring Butler Street, both of which are within 10 minutes walk of most of the town centre. 
  3. private developments have changed the arrangement and numbers of available on-street parking
  4. the one-way traffic flow along Bay Street has enabled spaces to be marked along the southern side between Jonson and Fletcher Streets
  5. Council has plans to upgrade (ie increase numbers and seal) the car park at the northern end of Middleton Street, near Bay Street, but this is pending resolution of land management issues with the NSW Lands Department
  6. it is noted that there is a demand to upgrade and convert to two-way traffic flow the length of Middleton Street south of Lawson Street.

No compensation for loss of car spaces or access

General requests for more car parking is, in light of the abovementioned under utilisation of available and existing car parking, difficult to justify and not currently being considered than already noted.

Moreover, Council are not obliged to compensate for the loss of car spaces. The same applies for claims of reduced access to any premises due to reduced number of parking spaces, such as claims that service and delivery is impeded by the changes. Delivery of goods and services, as with accessibility to any premise, is an operational and OHS matter for that premise and the respective owner/tenant.

This said, and as noted elsewhere, requests for site specific changes to parking restrictions will be considered as and when received and reviewed on merit and in regard to the context and need of the broader area. Such requests can be emailed to council@byron.nsw.gov.au.