e-Noosa - the future of shire transport?
TRAFFIC congestion in and around Noosa's Hastings St precinct has long been a problem.
In our Tuesday edition, we even highlighted a Hastings St traffic congestion story from a Noosa News edition published in 1995, in our 50 Years series.
But solutions have been always harder to agree upon.
Because now, a five-year plan is in its embryonic stage - yet it has already started receiving ticks of in-principle approval from politicians and stakeholders.
Noosa News has been given exclusive access to the details of Noosa Council's Noosa Transport Strategy and its aspirational goals under the name of e-Noosa, and today we present the "big picture”, while we will cover aspects of it in more detail in coming editions.
The principle approach is to help locals and tourists alike to see that there are better options to sitting in traffic jams while other forms of transport pass you by in ease and comfort.
But while the plans are labelled aspirational at this stage, federal politicians have already shown more than mere interest.
Additionally, council has carried out extensive surveys of residents, visitors and school-children, backed up by traffic, pedestrian and parking counts through all the significant areas and botttlenecks, on weekends and holidays, not just standard peak hours.
The vision comprises numerous parts. It includes the establishment of an electric bus service interconnecting hubs from Noosaville to Noosa Junction and Hastings St.
It includes the potential manufacturing and maintenance of these buses in Noosa Shire. The services would integrate with current Translink services but would carry their own, Noosa-unique livery.
Another spoke to the integrated transport wheel would involve e-bikes, with availability across the integrated area, and furthermore the establishment of a park and ride system.
An app would be developed to inform motorists of available - and unavailable - parking, guides to park and ride stations, and integrate with real-time bus services able to be interpreted by locals and overseas visitors alike.
If bigger money becomes available - and it may well do, as already the concept here could be exportable to regions with similar traffic management problems - some substantial infrastructure would come Noosa's way.
This would include the duplication of the Garth Prowd Bridge, with each bridge carrying a car lane, a dedicated bus transit lane and a pedestrian/cycle way from Munna Point Bridge along Noosa Pde, leading into an expanded bus station that occupied not one but both sides of the Parade, to enable ease of bus transit.
The station would also include end-of-trip facilities for cyclists and others, as well as a pedestrian underpass to the car park.
And as a means of bringing some order into the pedestrian 'chaos' of the car park and through-ways to Hastings St from the bus station, a 'boulevard' would be built up the side of the current car park, linking the bus station directly with Hastings St, thereby expanding the precinct.
Other than possible minor works at the corner of Noosa Dr and Noosa Pde, the infrastructure's footprint on the environment would be relatively light.
Next Friday: e-bus fleet and its intended services.