Recent work to “upgrade” the intersection of Wickham St and Brookes St, Fortitude Valley was funded under the Federal Government’s Black Spot Program, which is supposed to be used to reduce the risk of crashes at dangerous locations. But the changes have made the intersection more hazardous and difficult for cyclists riding on Wickham St.
Now the curb-side lane of Wickham St is left-turn only, meaning people on bikes wanting to travel straight ahead must change lanes and merge with faster moving motor vehicle traffic. That’s a difficult manoeuvre even for a confident cyclist, and increases the danger of being killed or injured on this street.
Complaints to the Brisbane City Council have been dismissed by the City Projects team, arguing that the intersection has “been designed in accordance with all relevant standards and guidelines and is considered safe for all road users”. On the project web page they go further, claiming that it improves safety for all road users.
This is another instance of the Brisbane City Council ignoring the safety of people on bicycles, while trying to make it even more convenient for people to drive cars; in an inner city area which should be bicycle and pedestrian friendly. The number of lanes on Wickham St has increased from 4 to 5, with exclusive left and right turning lanes as well as three lanes straight going ahead. There are no bicycle lanes, bike boxes or other consideration for people on bikes, despite both Wickham St and Brookes St being identified as Principal Cycle Routes.
This is also another instance of Brisbane City Council using Federal Black Spot funding to make a street more dangerous for people on bikes.
Call to action: We encourage you to write or email your federal Member of Parliament and complain about this mis-use of Federal funding which is supposed to be used to make streets safer, not more dangerous. If you live in Central Ward, drop Councillor Vicki Howard a line and tell her that her council engineers are wrecking the liveability and economic prosperity of Central Ward by encouraging high-speed, high volume traffic to pour through, making the streets noisy, dangerous, and unpleasant places to be.