There was a great turn-out in West End on a hot and windy Saturday afternoon for a forum on Truly Inclusive Transport organised by Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba. Speakers included Anna Campbell from Queensland Walks, Kath Angus – Greens candidate for Lord Mayor, local resident Susanna (who gave some insight into the challenges of getting around when you’re on a low income and don’t drive—including how much of a time-suck public transport can be if you need to make more than one connection), and the indomitable Geoff Trappett from Inclusion Moves.
Geoff’s comments struck a chord; too often consultation sessions are held after the decisions have clearly already been made, and the system is stacked against individuals who complain that their rights are being ignored. We asked: why should it be up to community advocates to ensure projects are built to a basic standard; road projects don’t go ahead with lanes only 1.5m wide or no guard rails on bridges because there was “no room” or it was “too expensive”.
There were also some good points made from the audience about squeezing all forms on mobility onto cluttered footpaths (people walking, cycling, scooting, waiting for buses) while reserving multiple lanes for cars. A representative from No Second M1 pointed out how much we could achieve to make transport inclusive if we stopped pouring billions into trying to make it easier and more desirable for people to drive (and where are all those extra cars on the road from the Gold Coast going to go once they pour into Brisbane anyway?).
Finally, an elder from the local indigenous community pointed out the painful truth: our roads of black asphalt are smothering and heating mother earth, and she is burning. If we don’t take action to change that, there will be nothing left for anyone.