With only 400 parking spaces and around 4,000 vehicles per day during peak season, there is little hope of finding parking at Hyams Beach, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald. The desire of thousands of day-trippers to get a spot at the acclaimed “world’s whitest sand” results in traffic jams, illegal parking and stressed residents and visitors. This chaotic situation left the Shoalhaven Council with the unpleasant task of closing access to Hyams village.
The Council and community are evaluating permanent solutions to deal with this issue. The first initiative was to reduce demand by promoting other beaches in the area and dropping marketing efforts specifically about Hyams Beach. On the supply side, current discussions involve improving the access to the village by providing bus zones or a car park about 1.5km from the beach as well as shuttle-buses or a walking track to facilitate the journey.
The use of buses is not a favourite option as it doesn’t suit the village’s quiet environment and narrow streets; the community prefers the car park and a walking track alternative.
However, funding for the car park by introducing paid parking is not very popular amongst Shoalhaven residents living outside Hyams Beach. The Council is now left with the difficult task of keeping residents happy whilst providing a good experience for visitors.
Balmoral Beach, for example, suffered a similar fate. Although Council operates a free shuttle bus across the whole Mosman LGA, it is significantly underutilised and the installation of parking meters along the beach front initially met with strong opposition from residents who sabotaged the equipment by a range of means. However, the Council held fast and now, a few years on, the revenues generated from the parking meters have been reinvested in the area improving the amenities available to the public; and by the way, residents (with valid stickers) are provided with one 3 hour free parking period per day.
Have you seen examples of how other popular destinations dealt with similar issues?