IN 2013 Orange almost has more cars than people.
Residents prefer to drive rather than walk, take a bus or ride a bike in a city that boasts 38,728 registered vehicles.
The city’s love affair with the motor vehicle continues with figures from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) showing Orange’s streets, intersections and roundabouts are groaning under the weight of 5000 more vehicles than five years ago.
The situation requires some serious strategies according to head of Orange City Council’s traffic committee, Russell Turner, who says people are shunning alternative forms of transport in favour of the motor vehicle.
“The positive in all of this shows that we are a prosperous community where people can afford to buy cars, but the downside is that people think they can drive and park out the front of where they want to shop,” Cr Turner said.
“What these figures do highlight is that we need to look at extra parking as soon as possible and we are already talking about some long-term strategies in the Woolies car park.”
Encouraging people to catch a bus Mr Turner says isn’t a viable alternative under the present arrangements.
“I think people are reluctant to catch buses outside shopping centres where there is smoking and anti-social behaviour and perhaps we could look at more stops,” he said.
Riding a bike too can be hazardous, according to Mr Turner.
“I was told last week about a local man who was riding his bike, fell off in a pothole and broke his arm and leg,” he said.
“A lot of riders have near misses with the amount of traffic we have.”
Orange’s population is officially listed as 39,000.
Cabonne has 15,512 vehicles registered, up more than 1800 in the last five years.
“What we have to remember is many of these vehicles also come into Orange everyday, as many people who live in Cabonne work in Orange,” Cr Turner said.
Bathurst has slightly less vehicles registered with 38,720 vehicles, with Dubbo topping the region with 41, 481 vehicles registered.