An open letter to TMR and Brisbane City Council:
We are very much looking forward to the opening of Stage E of the V1 Veloway, which is scheduled for mid-2020. This will provide a dedicated cycle path from Birdwood Rd, Tarragindi to University Rd, Upper Mount Gravatt. It will not only make conditions safer and smoother for people who already ride this way, but it will encourage people onto bikes who have previously been deterred by the dangerous crossings—particularly at Marshall Rd—and cramped conditions along Bapaume Rd.
However we note that cyclists will still need to cross Birdwood Rd to connect from the new section of bikeway to the existing Veloway from there towards Greenslopes and the CBD. This crossing is unsafe even for the current level of use, let alone the additional riders who can be expected to travel this way once Stage E is opened.
We understand that TMR have preliminary plans to construct an overpass over Birdwood Rd which will bypass this problem area, and we call for that project to be funded and commenced as soon as possible. However we are aware that this will require a significant investment, and will take many months to construct even once started. It is imperative that improvements are made to the existing link in the meantime.
We note that Birdwood Rd is the responsibility of Brisbane City Council, but also that TMR have a significant role to play, as this is a link in the Veloway, which is a state government asset. People who ride bikes simply want to be able to take their journey safely, and should not have to be concerned about which public authority or level of government is responsible for the safety of the facilities they use.
We request that Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government (via TMR) collaborate to make the following changes to the Veloway crossing at Birdwood Road as soon as possible:
1. Kerb ramp for southbound cyclists
For people cycling south: many confident cyclists are comfortable to ride in the road shoulder of Birdwood Rd from the signalised crossing, south. However currently there is no suitable ramp up the kerb to enable them to access the new Veloway section. Please provide a suitable kerb ramp, with generous width, which does not require riders to make a sharp turn, and in a location where there are good sight lines so southbound cyclists can avoid conflicts with north-bound riders, and with pedestrians and people waiting at the bus stop on Birdwood Rd. (It also should go without saying that the bottom edge of this ramp should be flush with the road surface so there is no lip that can cause riders to crash.)
2. Footpath improvements
Some people will not be happy to cycle on the road in either direction. These people will therefore choose to use the footpath. We note that the footpath along Birdwood Road at this location is narrow, so navigating it is difficult if there are people walking or if someone is cycling in the opposite direction.
We ask that the footpath closest to the property boundaries (furthest from the road) be completed and improved from 154 Birdwood Road to 172 Birdwood Road. This should include trimming foliage and installing necessary lighting to make this the attractive and obvious pedestrian route, thus reducing the potential for conflicts with people cycling on the stretch of footpath immediately adjacent to the roadway.
3. Improving the unsignalised crossing point
For people cycling north, some will likely chose to cycle on the footpath along Birdwood Rd all the way to the signalised crossing (see point 2 above regarding footpath improvements). Others will take the opportunity to cross Birdwood Road earlier, where Brisbane City Council recently constructed a mid-block crossing, with a caged centre refuge area. That arrangement appears designed to accommodate people walking to the bus stop, but is very poorly designed for cyclists.
We request that the kerb ramps on each side of the road be widened, and that a ramp be provided down from the kerb build-out to the on-road bikelane on Birdwood Rd, so that cyclists can safely cross the road and then join the bikelane instead of having to turn sharply and ride briefly in the main flow of traffic – which is a very awkward maneuver.