Paul Jones, architect and Butler Street home owner has founded the
Paul Jones, architect and Butler Street home owner has founded the "Grab the Rail" campaign proposing the new Byron Bypass use a section of the old railway within town. Megan Kinninment

Butler St residents want rail corridor used for Byron bypass

A BYRON Bay community group is spruiking a multi-use shared transit route to alleviate traffic woes.

Butler Street Community Network says its Grab The Rail bypass plan offers substantial benefits over Byron Shire Council's proposed mini and long bypass plans.

The residents will be the hardest hit by Byron Shire Council's decision to run the bypass along Butler Street and through part of the Cumbedin Reserve.

They proposed using the rail corridor as a bypass route at the same council meeting that approved the Butler Street option, but were unable to win support before the decision was rammed through.

The group says its proposal includes minimal disruption to residents, a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere through the removal of traffic from Shirley Street and Bangalow Road and the provision and renewal of town infrastructure, reviving the rail corridor and town drainage.

The plan proposes using the railway corridor and Byron Street alignment from Kendall Street to Old Bangalow Road, dodging Cumbebin, bypassing traffic and creating access points to the town's business district.

The network says the plan could include a dual lane service road, light rail, rail shuttle, rail trail, bikeway and transit centre.

The council's mini bypass plan would cross the rail line at Marvell Street and head up Butler Street, while the long bypass would involve a rail crossing near Browning Street, heading through the wetlands and through Butler Street.

The network's president, architect Paul Jones, said recent moves towards a rail trail opened up the opportunity to use existing infrastructure in an innovative way.

"Collectively, we've been involved in numerous committees and studies to get the bypass," Mr Jones said.

"Previous schemes by the council and developers were primarily prepared with traffic modelling and the dollar factor in mind.

"I think their approach was narrowly blinkered and was not looking at other options available.

"They also believed they could never get hold of the rail corridor, but things have changed."

He said this bypass would cost roughly $15-20 million; the council plan would cost several million less.

The network will contact residents and businesses.



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