Bel on Wheels continues her review of the preliminary designs for the Stanley Street component of the Woollongabba Bikeway:
Leopard St to Trinity Lane
Like everyone else who already rides a bike inbound along Stanley St, I won’t miss the bit where the bikelane is squeezed off the road just as you come out from underneath the SE Freeway and before you can reach the dubious safety of the bike box! All I can say about the new separated 2-way bikeway along Stanley St between Leopard St and the freeway off ramp is Hallelujah! Fortunately there’s already plenty of room here to provide a concrete kerb buffer from the oncoming traffic, a 3m wide bikeway, and a separate footpath (on the southern side). Nice.
The pedestrian lights across the freeway off-ramp are already one of the few sets in Brisbane that are “dwell on green” (meaning you don’t have rely on being there in time to press the beg button for a chance of a few seconds to cross), so a simple reconfiguration of the space here will make the intersection really workable. Council’s designers have made the smart decision to effectively incorporate the outlet of one-way Trinity Lane into this signalised intersection. That’s a great improvement for cyclists as well as for pedestrian safety and convenience. Anyone who thinks the “loss” of two four-hour car parks in this location (directly between major public transport nodes, and just a short walk from the 42,000 seat Gabba Stadium) will have a big impact on access to local businesses or facilities is frankly delusional.
I did quiz Council’s project team about who owns the land between the freeway off ramp and Trinity Lane, and their response was that it was most likely TMR. That suggests it’s the Queensland Government we should lobby to improve the connection to the Veloway at that point. (Yes, it will inevitably be steep in that location, but it could certainly be improved and widened.)
Trinity Lane to Annerley Road
As I’ve mentioned previously, allowing outbound bicycle traffic along Stanley St towards The Gabba will fill a big hole in the bike network on this side of the city. The alternative route via Vulture St in not only hilly, but also at times terrifying – even for an experienced and confident on-road cyclist. I’ve helped one fellow rider with broken bones there a few years ago, and been harassed, intimidated, and endangered by drivers on Vulture St more times than I care to remember. Plus, after years of experimenting, I still haven’t decided if the hazards of the uneven footpaths and turning traffic are actually any less risky than the road.
It’s hard to express how much I am looking forward to be able to ride along this section of Stanley St in a bikeway that is physically protected from motor vehicle traffic. Anyone complaining about the “loss” of two off-peak car parks and loading zones (which are clearways during peak hour anyway) is not going to get a very sympathetic hearing from me. Similarly for the bus stop consolidation, which seems that it will deliver people closer to the Mater hospital even if others might have to walk a few steps further to the pub.
Merton Road intersection
As part of this project, Merton Road will be closed to motor vehicles at Stanley St. That’s obviously something of a big deal, as Council doesn’t close roads without careful consideration to traffic flow. But Merton Road is a residential street where Council has already implemented traffic calming in an attempt to stop rat-running drivers avoiding the major streets, so it’s really only residents of the street itself who will be legitimately impacted, and I’m guessing the net effect of less people taking short-cuts past their properties and cruising for parking would be positive. (I would dearly love Council to close one end of the street I live on! I’d personally be more than willing to travel a little further each car journey to get the benefits of a living on a quiet street.) The proposed road closure will necessitate removal of a further 7 on-street car-parks, but I again refer to my earlier comments regarding car parking and quiet streets.
Crossing Stanley St
I intend to address the intersection of Stanley St and Annerley Road in a subsequent post, but this does bring me to a decision I don’t understand. West of Annerley Road, the Stanley St bikeway will be on the northern side (opposite the Lady Cilento Hospital) which makes complete sense to me for reasons I’ll also explain later, BUT the bikeway crosses Stanley St on the western side of the Annerley Rd intersection. What I don’t understand is why it doesn’t cross Stanley St just west of Allen St, near the location of the current pedestrian signals. That, in my mind, would excuse the removal of the crossing in front of the Brewhouse Hotel and solve some of the issues I see with the current plan for the intersection.
I’ve tried to mark this up in black in the image below: suggesting moving the 2-way protect bikelane to the northern side of Stanley St between Annerley Rd and Allen St, and moving the crossing point just slightly further to the west than the current pedestrian lights – which would also put it closer towards where the pedestrian crossing will be removed at Annerley Road on the eastern side of the intersection.
… Excuse me while I make some further inquiries. What have I missed?