The Squeeze on Bowen Bridge Road

BowenBridgeMap

Last month we contacted the project team responsible for the Inner City Bypass (ICB) widening project with our concerns about the effect on active transport along Bowen Bridge Road – particularly people trying to walk and cycle to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. Their response with our comments are as follows:

As discussed, the ICB upgrade includes a new on-ramp from Bowen Bridge Road to the ICB, which will be open to all vehicles. The lane currently marked for bus use only, connecting to the Inner Northern Busway (INB), will become open to all traffic in order to connect to the new on-ramp. A bus only lane will then diverge to access the INB.

So, this project which was touted as about widening the ICB is actually about funneling more cars onto it? Induced demand anyone??

This new on-ramp has been designed to coordinate with the existing cycling provisions. As Bowen Bridge Road is a highly constrained corridor, the primary cycle route in this area is provided off-road by the network of cycle tracks together with the footpaths along Bowen Bridge Road.

BowenBrRd1These “existing cycling provisions” presumably refer to the North Brisbane Bikeway, which runs under the bridge on the northern side of the rail line. It’s a great path, but not particularly relevant to people needing to cross the bridge. So, footpaths it is… except of course those are even more constrained than the road!

The design of the intersection of Bowen Bridge Road, INB and new on-ramp has been developed to integrate with these off-road facilities, and a signalised crossing will be provided at this intersection to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Fully signalising this intersection provides a safer connection for pedestrians and cyclists than the existing partly signalised arrangement.

The intersection will be signalised in two stages. The crossing across the INB will remain as is, with pedestrians and cyclists only stopped when a bus approaches to exit the INB. The new signals, to cross the new on-ramp, will operate when the crossing’s push button is pressed.

Beg

In short; if you’re using the footpath, you can expect to wait to cross the new road, because your time (spent standing in the sun or rain) is not considered as valuable as the time of people rushing places in their cars.

Perhaps some signs like these which have been spotted around Seattle might be in order?

As the finishing elements of this intersection’s design are still being finalised, I apologise that a drawing is not currently available for public distribution. However, we would be happy to meet with you to discuss any concerns you have about this intersection or the project more broadly.

But then the kicker:

Further to the above, construction of the new on-ramp has started and the western footpath of Bowen Bridge Road will soon need to be closed to facilitate on-ramp works on the INB. This section of footpath will be closed until on-ramp construction is complete. A small detour is available by using the path on the other side of Bowen Bridge Road.

Wait, what?! You’re about to close the footpath along Bowen Bridge Road. And you’re trying to tell me that crossing the road twice (including a high-speed slip lane from Gregory Terrace) and squeezing onto the narrow footpath on the other side is simply “a small detour”.

For your reference, a map outlining this closure is provided below.

BowenBridgeRdClosure

Er, thanks for nothing!

If you would like to discuss your concerns in person or have any further questions about the design and construction of the ICB upgrade, please contact the project team on 1800 870 437 or email cityprojects@brisbane.qld.gov.au

We recommend anyone who walks or cycles along Bowen Bridge Road to do exactly that!

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