We welcome Brisbane City Council‘s move to ‘fast-track’ a walking and cycling bridge between the CBD and Kangaroo Point. This was highlighted as a priority in the 2017 draft renewal strategy for the Kangaroo Point Peninsula (which also, disturbingly, found that 48% of residents in that area drove a car to work). Indeed, the need for a river crossing in this location was identified almost a century ago!
We’re excited that serious planning for this bridge is finally underway. For riders from the eastern suburbs, it will cut up to 3km off a trip to the CBD, Botanical Gardens and QUT. So of course we’d like to ensure that the connections to the new bridge provide the best possible value – making walking and cycling an easy, comfortable and attractive option for as many people and as many trips as possible.
Of particular interest to EaST BUG are the connections at the eastern end:
Most critically, the underpass beneath the Bradfield Highway shouldn’t wait until the bridge is completed; it’s badly needed now!! We’ve been advocating for an accessible underpass for more than 5 years already. Please don’t delay any further; get on with it!
We note that Brisbane City Council already owns the necessary land – indeed there is a Council depot underneath the Story Bridge footings, with a large carpark is what is supposed to be a park (Maloney Park) on the corner of Main St and Rotherham St.
Similarly for the crossing over Main St; traffic calming measures and a pedestrian crossing are needed today! Currently, traffic turning off Bradfield Highway into the Kangaroo Point Peninsula feels like a freeway exit. It should instead feel like entering a slow, low-traffic neighbourhood where cars are the guests of people walking and cycling.
The plans for stairs and a lift up to the Scott St landing from CT White Park sound good, but we’d also like to see a rideable ramp from the riverside bikeway. The terrain doesn’t appear too steep to support this – after all, people already ride up to the top of Thornton St which is steeper. We understand that there are issues with disability compliance – which is why we suggest that this path be for cycling only, with the lift available to those who can’t manage. The alternative via Bright St and Main St is in no way suitable for 8 to 80 cycling!
For local Kangaroo Point residents, continuing a high-quality path south, up Main St is vital. This path is already busy with people walking, cycling, and on e-scooters, but is cluttered and narrow in places. We’re happy that it is being widened to 2.5m near the intersection with River Terrace, thanks to $1.15million in funding from the Queensland Government’s COVID-Safe Works for Queensland program – however we note that 2.5m is the absolute minimum wide for a shared path under the AustRoads standards, and we doubt this path would fit the criteria of “low-use” even now, before the new green bridge is built.
On the eastern side of the peninsula, council needs to urgently improve Deakin St, and the connection to Shafston Ave. Again, this shouldn’t wait for the bridge. It’s particularly pertinent with plans now approved for a supermarket at the corner with Ferry St.
At the other end of the bridge, there is not yet much detail available about the landing point at the corner of Alice and Edward Streets in the CBD. Obviously this needs to have a good connection with the planned CityLink Cycleway which we understand will include a bi-directional protected bikeway on Edward St, and possibly also in future on Alice St.
The bridge should also have a direct and safe connection to the Riverwalk. We’re concerned that the current proposal appears to be for cyclists to loop back through the Botanical Gardens to access the riverwalk. Between 6pm and 6am the main gates to the Botanical Gardens are closed (despite repeated attempts from us to change this practice), so cyclists, pedestrians, people on scooters, etc. must all use one of the narrow pedestrian entry gates which have very poor visibility. When the Botanical Gardens Riverwalk was being planned, we were repeatedly assured that it was designed to fit with a future bridge landing, so we are concerned about the apparent lack of clarity now.
Finally, on the bridge itself, some aspects that should be obvious, but are stated here for the record:
- The bridge surface must be non-slip (to avoid a repeat of the Goodwill Bridge fiasco) and should be an integral part rather than a coating (noting the lifting coating on the Go-Between Bridge and the North Brisbane Bikeway under Bowen Bridge Road.
- We commend the plans to clearly visually separate space for cycling (and using other forms of wheeled mobility of similar speeds, like e-scooters) from space for people walking and stopping to enjoy the view.
- We appreciate that the plans include a shade structure, and understand that modelling has taken into account how the shade will move during the day and across the seasons, and this has been optimised so that the path – particularly on the pedestrian side – will be protected to the greatest possible extent without enclosing the whole bridge.