On 13 October 2017, the Queensland Government announced funding for Stage E of the SE Veloway, between Birdwood Road, Holland Park West and Gaza Road, Tarragindi. This route is set to become not only safer and easier for existing riders, but also finally feasible and attractive for a whole new cohort of riders once people travelling by bicycle don’t need to brave the hectic unprotected stretch of Birdwood Rd, including the awkward Marshall Rd intersection.
The high-level plans for Stage E are available on the Department of Transport and Main Roads web site. Essentially: the new section of bikeway will be on the western side of the motorway. From Birdwood Road, there will be an elevated cycleway over Marshall Road and Sterculia Ave. Heading south, it will then drop to ground level and continue between the freeway and Bapaume Rd, before climbing again for an overpass over the Gaza Rd off ramp to rejoin the existing Veloway south of Gaza Rd.
We understand that Stage 1 (Birdwood Rd to Sterculia Ave) should be completed by the end of 2018, and Stage 2 (over Gaza St) by mid to late 2019. It’s not clear if stage 1 will be usable on completion – although potentially it could be by doubling back to the Bapaume Rd crossing at Sterculia Ave.
We know many people are concerned about the impact on established trees (which provide an important role mitigating noise from the motorway and offset some of the pollution from all that motor vehicle traffic), so we’re happy to see that the path of the bikeway avoids the stand of old eucalypts at the Gaza Rd intersection, and also should have minimal impact on the trees along western side of the motorway where the path follows Bapaume Rd. Hopefully the position of the bridge over Sterculia Ave will also avoid the stand of trees on each corner there. Of course we’re keen to see re-planting to replace any trees lost for the bikeway, and hope that the works will result in a net increase in trees along the corridor.
We don’t yet know what is planned for Birdwood Rd, but an elevated crossing is not part of the latest announcement. Obviously though, the current crossing and narrow footpath between there and Joachim St Park will not be sufficient to support the number of riders attracted to the upgraded route, so we look forward to seeing further information on how that connection will be addressed.
Back in February we were told this connection was not worth lobbying for, since a solution could be many years away. We persisted anyway, and it’s great to see the results of those efforts. Joe Kelly MP, Member for Greenslopes even gave us a mention in Parliament for our advocacy efforts!