HUB UPGRADE: Map showing the proposed transit lanes, new bridge, and boulevard.
HUB UPGRADE: Map showing the proposed transit lanes, new bridge, and boulevard.

Transit lanes plan for Noosa Parade

IF ANYONE thinks traffic congestion in the Hastings St precinct will simply disappear by introducing electric buses, they have rocks in their head.

And Noosa Council agrees.

But council's Transport Strategy is designed to let motorists using the area know that there is a much better, stress-free way of getting where they need to be.

Part of this strategy involves tackling the bottleneck approach to the precinct: Noosa Parade and the Garth Prowd Bridge.

But it won't be cheap.

"This is the big money item,” council infrastructure director Carl Billingham said. "We are looking at duplicating Garth Prowd Bridge, with each bridge becoming one-way.

"There will be a lane for car traffic on each, as well as a bus lane and pedestrian/bike lane.

"We are considering having clearways during peak hours along Noosa Parade leading up to the Garth Prowd Bridge and transit lanes around the transit centre in Noosa Heads, to make it logical to choose a bus over a car.

"Drivers will see buses whizzing past as they are stuck in traffic.”

Mr Billingham said the other major item would be a re-vamp of the bus transit centre, for easier bus turning.

"We want to move the existing transit centre to both sides of the road, so it flows seamlessly,” he said.

"Translink is interested. They realise the existing bus stop is getting a bit tired, and they're looking into it, as buses currently get caught up with cars and pedestrians.

"We may also install end-of-trip facilities for cyclists, so they can have a shower after their bike ride, along with docking stations for e-bikes.”

Mr Billingham said the car park between Hastings St and the bus stop was like a maze where "everyone wanders through”, so it needed better navigation for tourists.

"We need better way-finding for visitors. We are also considering a pedestrian boulevard running down the side of the car park. This would be an attractive, nice place to walk, taking people directly from the transit centre to the beach. And we'll light it all up, so it's safer, as well as more attractive at night.”

"It will really extend Hastings Street's appeal, with more connection between it and the Junction.”

Mr Billingham said the key would be getting higher government funding for the whole plan, "rather than council trying to fund it piecemeal”.

Next Friday: Part IV final: the politics