Noosa’s traffic woes need smart solutions, not bandaids

When it comes to addressing our transport, traffic and congestion problems, Vivien Griffin’s appeal in Noosa Today recently for candidates to “get specific” seems to have fallen – mostly – on deaf ears.

As has the community’s calls for “transformational” measures to address transport issues. 

In her Soapbox contribution, Vivien urged candidates to put forward specific proposals which show they have done their homework on the key issues facing Noosa. Despite her appeal we are being served up with broad generalities rather than a genuine contest of ideas. 

Many candidates for the councillor positions have given us no hint of the vision needed to address many of Noosa’s seemingly intractable transport / traffic problems.

One exception is sitting councillor Brian Stockwell, who has had the foresight to at least propose a possible solution to our transport problems by advocating the removal of the transport levy and the introduction of a congestion charge or paid parking (with resident exemptions).

Locals were amused by the now-frequent anti-Noosa headlines in the Sunshine Coast Daily attacking Stockwell for daring to advocate for his own local constituents, rather than day-trippers clogging our roads.  They’re headlines he’s probably happy with.

As far as messaging goes, most candidates have failed to “read the tea leaves.” 

In fact, a quick analysis of the offerings of the fourteen candidates vying for the six councillor positions, only three have even referenced transport, traffic, or congestion in their policy statements.

While no one doubts the need for improved road infrastructure, particularly in the Noosa hinterland, an overarching transport strategy that reflects the transformational measures so desperately wanted by the community, must surely be a priority for the incoming council.

Mayor Annie Hidalgo of Paris (referred to in Vivien’s article) has shown what can be done to make a congested place more liveable and sustainable. With Paris to host the 2024 Olympics in July and August this year Mayor Hidalgo has implemented several transformational action…tearing out parking spaces that attract more cars, replacing car lanes with bike lanes, and whole streets – including the right bank of the river Seine – have been pedestrianised.


She has created a series of initiatives and polices to encourage green investments in the French capital, improve pedestrian traffic, and reduce the effects of urban heat islands by creating climate shelters and introducing a mobile app that monitors thermal comfort in all city areas. She has also become a key figure in the movement for the 15-minute city with proposals to eliminate non-essential traffic from the city centre before this years’ Olympic games.

Her ambitious policies are credited with reducing Paris’ carbon emissions by 40% (eat your heart out Zero Emissions Noosa!).

The 2032 Brisbane Olympics will be an impending infrastructure and environmental disaster for Noosa unless transformational strategies are identified, agreed upon, and implemented sooner rather than later. Sorting out our transport problems cannot be left to the council after next – elected in 2028. By then it will be too late.

Yet only one mayoral candidate (Frank Wilkie) has referenced the 2032 Brisbane Olympics in policy material available to date, along with other congestion-busting concepts.

From the platitudes and generalities served up by most of the remainder of candidates to date there is little evidence to suggest we will have a council with the vision and intestinal fortitude of the likes of Annie Hidalgo.


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