Revealed: Gold Coast suburbs facing traffic nightmare
THE Gold Coast is home to as many vehicles as residents, prompting a call for developments in suburbs at risk of car overload to abide by a one park per bedroom rule.
New Department of Transport and Main Roads figures show nearly 609,000 vehicles call the Gold Coast home.
This includes cars, trucks, motorbikes, caravans, trailers, boats, mobility scooters and farm equipment.
The most recent estimate puts the city population at 625,518.
Southport leads the pack, with 33,614 vehicles, followed by Upper Coomera, Surfers Paradise, Robina and Nerang.
City leaders are now calling for reforms to developments in a bid to prevent the city's narrow residential streets from becoming choked with parked vehicles.
Robina, which currently has 21,372 registered vehicles, is being investigated as an eventual destination for either electric buses or a future light rail route.
Area councillor Hermann Vorster said it was "clear" that cars would remain the most popular form of transport for many years to come.
"These figures put beyond doubt that we need to hold our nerve and ensure that roads are widened so more carparking is provided for those areas which do not enjoy high-frequency public transport," he said.
"Ignoring these figures, particularly in areas like Robina and Varsity Lakes, will condemn these suburbs to congested, narrow roads and decades of neighbourhood disputes.
"We must not ignore the dependence Gold Coasters have on their family cars and ensure that vehicles can be accommodated in homes without spilling out onto narrow streets."
Cr Vorster has made a submission to the council calling for future developments to have one carpark for every bedroom in areas not serviced by high frequency public transport.
Rural suburbs in the city's Hinterland have the smallest number of vehicle registrations, including Gilberton, Neranwood, Natural Bridge and the Numinbah Valley, plus South Stradbroke Island in the Broadwater.
"As Australia's sixth largest city and with a growing population it's no wonder the number of cars registered on the Gold Coast is increasing," he said. "We have completed the M1 upgrade from Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes, and all attention is now on the much larger $1 billion upgrade to the border, which will see at least six lanes from Gold Coast to Brisbane.
"Planning is also well underway under the Palaszczuk Government to build the Coomera Connector to accommodate the population boom in the city's north, taking up 60,000 cars off the M1 when completed."
Construction of the light rail's third stage, between Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads is in its earliest stages, with contracts for major works to be awarded in coming weeks.
It is expected to be completed in 2023, while the stage 4 of the tram system, which will run from Burleigh Heads to Coolangatta via Gold Coast Airport is under investigation.
Western tram and bus routes to Nerang and Robina are also under investigation, as is an extension of the heavy rail to from Varsity Lakes to the airport.
RACQ spokesman Paul Turner said the figures were not surprising and indicated the Gold Coast would need a "strong mix" of public transport and private vehicles.
"We cannot just focus on building more roads or just on public transport - that will not work for everyone," he said.
"The Gold Coast needs this mix, otherwise the lifestyle which people came here for will be directly affected.
"Congestion is a trap and it takes you away from your family and job and keeps you in traffic rather than where you want to go."
Mr Turner said the Gold Coast's traffic issues were exacerbated by its geographic limitations as a linear city rather than a hub model.
'Things like trams, fast buses and heavy rail will take the pressure off," he said.
"Current issues aside, the Gold Coast is a very attractive place to live and more and more people want to live there so we need to ensure there is proper transport solutions."
Originally published as Revealed: Gold Coast suburbs facing traffic nightmare