The Department of Transport and Main Roads have released plans for Stage 1 of the “Eastern Transitway” along Old Cleveland Road. The project is essentially about improving bus reliability by creating dedicated lanes so that buses aren’t stuck in general traffic, but active travel improvements are also included. Stage 1 covers the section between Narracot St and Carindale Street, including the intersection with Creek Rd.
Information about the project is available on TMR’s website, and community consultation is open until midnight on 12 July 2020. We see this as an opportunity to significantly improve active transport connections—especially to the Carindale Shopping Centre and bus interchange.
We know that enabling more trips by bike requires off-road facilities; painted lanes on major arterial roads like Old Cleveland Rd and Creek Rd are not sufficient regardless of their width. But at the same time, any changes shouldn’t make conditions any less safe or convenient for current commuting cyclists and recreational/sports riders who use these roads. Old Cleveland Rd is a particularly important link to The Redlands, and both it and Creek Rd are on the Principal Cycle Network.
We’re happy to see the plans involve constructing off-road shared paths on both the north and south sides of Old Cleveland Rd between Narracott St and Creek Rd.
We have been assured the paths will be 3.0m wide, with at least one metre separation from the bus lanes. That will be a significant improvement for walking and off-road cycling compared to the current situation where there is no footpath at all on the northern side of Old Cleveland Rd, and only a narrow path along the south.
We note that cyclists are permitted to ride in bus lanes, and we expect that will be the option selected as safest and most appropriate by sporting cyclists riding in groups, especially on the weekends. However solo riders, and those making local trips stand to benefit most from the new off-road paths.
We do have concerns about the transitions to and from the shared paths, and the safety and priority of cyclists at the intersections as designed. We suggest the following revisions:
Ensure the geometry of the ramp (1) immediately east of Naracott St allows cyclists to ride a smooth line (rather than rapidly changing direction) when transitioning to from the road to the path. Note that this is an uphill section, so riders will naturally want to maintain their existing momentum.
Move the ramp (2) further east so riders can choose to transition from the path to the road (bus lane) prior to the start of the left-turn lane rather than on the left of left-turning traffic.
Continue the shared path through the intersection at (3), and provide a priority crossing to remind drivers who are turning and entering the service road to slow and give way, and to not block the path when exiting the service road.
Continue the bus lane to the intersection (4). It simply doesn’t make sense to create a short section of “transitway” only to have buses caught in traffic which queues back at the intersection. A transitway should prioritise transit.
(5) Remove conflict at the slip lane from Old Cleveland Rd into Creek Rd, and eliminate the need for a new signalised crossing over that slip lane by removing it. Most traffic already takes the shorter route along Narracott Rd to reach Creek Rd, and all the residential properties are well set back from that street. There are no property entries from Creek Rd between Old Cleveland Rd and Narracott St, so the slip lane is redundant. Removing the slip lane would make walking and cycling through this large intersection much safer and more convenient.
Continue the full 3.0m-wide shared path (6) to the crossing point, and enable east-bound cyclists to rejoin Old Cleveland Rd with the same priority as other through traffic (7) so there is no penalty for using the off-road path.
Join the pedestrian crossing on the north-east corner of the intersection to Modred Rd (8) so people walking and cycling can use the overpass at Bedivere St to reach Carindale Shopping Centre.
We’re very happy to see the connection to the Bulimba Creek Bikeway, but cyclists transitioning from Old Cleveland Rd to the new shared path on the southern side should not have to do the wiggle shown at (9). We note there is plenty of available space.
The new shared path should have priority over traffic turning in and out of Carindale St (10), and the path should connect to the existing footpath at (11).
Similar to point (1), consideration should be given to ensuring a smooth transition for cyclists transitioning from the road to the shared path heading westbound at (12) – see figure 6 below:
These intersection works seem the obvious time to provide a pedestrian crossing on the western side of the intersection at (13) as recommended by Queensland Government policy.
We also suggest that the left turn slip lane from Creek Rd into Old Cleveland Rd (14) should be removed. The kerb-side lane on Creek Rd is left-turn only for around 140m leading up to the intersection, so there is not an issue with space for queuing vehicles. Doing away with a delay on a concrete traffic island would make the intersection more attractive for pedestrians.
We look forward to seeing more information about further stages of the eastern transitway along Old Cleveland Rd to the west.
We also call on TMR to work with Brisbane City Council to urgently improve facilities for cycling along Old Cleveland Rd east of the Creek Rd intersection. It was there, near Kinrade Place, in 2013 where Michelle Smeaton was struck by a bar protruding from a passing truck as she cycled home from work in 2013. Although described as a “freak accident” it would still not have occurred if there was more separation between where Michelle was cycling, and passing heavy-vehicle traffic. The potential for a similarly tragic incident near this location remains.