Peregian Village Traffic

Peregian Village Traffic

Local resident, James, asked about Peregian Beach village traffic. Below is my response:

Peak period traffic congestion through Peregian village at peak times has been, and is, an ongoing challenge.

I’ve discussed a range of possible solutions with infrastructure staff and the advice is that the IGA crossing itself is not a cause of congestion at peak times, nor necessarily is the northern crossing or Heron Street roundabout.

Main causes

One of the main causes is the sheer volume of vehicles from significant population growth and activity outside (and within) the shire driving through Peregian at peak periods on a two-lane road which has very limited scope for widening or detours.

The two crossings, roundabout (and people crossing informally near the roundabout) would also collectively help slow the traffic, which is fortunately not a problem in off-peak times.

Traffic lights have been considered but the advice is that they would delay vehicles more. A bypass, overpass and underpass have been discounted for reasons given below. Enabling more people to access the village via active transport is part of the solution.

The broader issue is that Increased peak period traffic is being experienced in every community on the eastern seaboard.

Long-term locals in small communities notice the changes and understandably see it as a negative, but new residents from cities think our traffic levels are minor compared to what they experienced daily.

We’ve questioned, “what is the problem we’re trying to solve locally?”.

The village has no significant history of traffic accidents, so safety fortunately is not an issue.

People can walk around safely and crossings give them priority over the car.

Prioritising people

The Noosa Transport Strategy and Planning Scheme has a focus on prioritising people over vehicles in popular areas, like Peregian village.

And the practice has been to build infrastructure to meet average, not peak, demand. This is why we don’t see any multi-storey parking lots or really heavy road infrastructure in Noosa.

It appears that the frustration some motorists feel when driving slowly through the Peregian village during peak periods is a key driver.

The sight of a long line of traffic is not attractive either.

Options that have been considered

The idea of carving out a bypass road through the national park to the west has been discounted and could not be achieved given the value we collectively place on National Parks which is enshrined in protective legislation.

In a sense, the Sunshine Motorway was created as the bypass. As you’d know, many Noosa-bound vehicles and trucks have been diverting around Peregian via the Motorway for some time now.

A metro-style underpass had been considered as part of the original IGA development but was dismissed because of the cost (estimated now by staff to be in the millions) and its potential to attract undesirable anti-social activity after dark.

An overpass was rejected for similar cost and amenity reasons. This sort of infrastructure along with commercial roadside signage, parking meters, high rise buildings etc create a heavy urban feel.

Traffic lights?

As you may know, traffic lights are one of the “big city” urban symbols.

Their use is deliberately minimised in Noosa’s town planning. Along with the (mostly) two-storey housing limit, four-storey building height maximum, no commercial roadside signage and no parking meters, traffic lights are among the key actions to preserving Noosa’s “look and feel” as a series of interconnected “villages” across the shire.

There are only 2-3 traffic lights in all of Noosa shire, usually on very busy roads near schools purely for safety reasons.

Again, the advice is that traffic lights would not significantly speed up traffic flow and may slow it.

The question being wrestled with is how can we reasonably and justifiably make this situation better without making it worse in other aspects, or detracting from the Village feel, or spending millions that are better off spent on so many truly needy areas?

Looking to the future

If people were being regularly injured and safety became an issue, we might start to see heavy infrastructure in our village: traffic lights, overpasses etc, as seen in Maroochydore and Caloundra’s CBD.

You’ve probably noticed that more people are accessing the village using electric bikes and scooters and buses.

Council is investing more in cycleways and pathways to encourage this form of transport for local trips, over the car. Upgrades to Plover Street (cycle and pedestrian paths) and the Heron Street roundabout are planned and will help.

It is also worth revisiting the idea of an extra roundabout at the IGA intersection.

There are no plans to sacrifice more foreshore or green space for parking but we can do better to direct motorists to the new, mostly unused supply of village parking in the Rufous Street precinct 100 metres to the west near the tennis courts, permaculture gardens and new community house

More questions?

I’m always happy to hear from the people of Noosa and to answer their questions to the very best of my abilities. My contact details are below.

Frank Wilkie for Noosa Mayor

Frank Wilkie
Noosa Mayoral Candidate