The Shire's new Transport Strategy continues to be a major focus of Council. A recent workshop saw expert consultants working with Councillors and senior staff to delve into topics such as parking management and public transport initiatives. They also took a close look at ride-sharing apps and discussed a possible Demand Response Travel service trial.
“This demand response public transport approach involves small buses that are available at call. If implemented, it could help cover areas of the Shire that are not well served by public transport,” Mayor Tony Wellington said. "It's just one of the innovations under consideration."
This Christmas will be an opportunity to gather important data about local traffic and pedestrian movements.
“We’ll be undertaking significant research over the coming holiday period to give us a clearer snapshot of Noosa’s transport and road networks at their busiest,” the Mayor said.
“Whilst it would be terrific to introduce solutions straight away, the fact is that we need to gather better data on our current situation first. That way we can be clearer about where the problems exist and it will also give us a baseline to know whether introduced solutions are actually achieving their desired effect.
"Council will be taking pedestrian and vehicle counts during the busy Christmas period, monitoring parking as well as recording when and where buses are getting caught in traffic. Locals and visitors will also be surveyed on their transport habits.
“We will carry out a further study in the low season during late February so we have a clear picture of the two extremes,” the Mayor said.
Meanwhile, a number of congestion-focused initiatives are already underway. Council’s new Walk-and-Ride to School Program will begin in January for the start of the 2018 school year. Council’s Free Holiday Buses will once again hit the streets for 10 days from Boxing Day to provide residents and visitors with a free transport option during the busy festive period.
“We have engaged traffic and transport consultants to advise on public transport options, paid parking possibilities and some novel new technology solutions,” the Mayor said. "Considerations of the impact of additional public transport services, priority transit lanes and park-and-ride facilities are also part of the mix.
“Council’s primary focus remains on reducing traffic congestion, especially on Noosa Parade, Noosa Drive and in the Hastings Street precinct. However, many of the innovative ideas under consideration will have flow-on effects across the Shire,” the Mayor said.
“It is absolutely clear that all my fellow councillors are very keen to find solutions to Noosa’s traffic woes. In that regard, we will continue to work closely with major stakeholders such as TransLink, Tourism Noosa, Hastings Street Association and other business and resident groups.
“We are well aware that there is no single solution, but rather that the best results will derive from a range of actions. This is a problem that has been largely ignored by previous Councils, and we are determined to get it right. It is not something we can fix overnight, but we aim to make serious inroads over the next eighteen months or so.”