Last week Brisbane bicycle user groups and Bicycle Queensland met with the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority for a briefing on their Request for Project Change 8. An important aspect of this proposed change is that it would allow construction heavy vehicles to use Kent Street (Woolloongabba / Dutton Park) for the purposes of haulage and delivery of materials – approximately ten heavy vehicles per hour during the peak of construction, with an average of four heavy vehicles per hour over the life of the project.
Those vehicles would cross the path of cyclists using the PA Hospital Bikeway, which is a busy route between O’Keefe St (including the V1 Veloway) and the Eleanor Schonnell Bridge to UQ and the western suburbs. Vehicles turning from Annerley Rd into Cornwall St and Kent St would also be operating in close proximity to large numbers of people walking and cycling.
As we’re painfully aware, construction heavy vehicles pose a deadly threat, and the drivers have very limited visibility, especially if their vehicle is the “conventional cabin” type.
We have been assured that the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority will be working with Brisbane City Council to build a new shared path from the end of the current bikeway to Annerley Rd – between the rail corridor and Kent St – which will become one-way. That’s actually likely to be an improvement over what’s there currently (a narrow footpath, and then nothing).
However there will are still 4 major conflict points that concern us:
- Cyclists using the roadway on Annerley Rd across the rail line (and either continuing on Annerley Rd or turning left into Cornwall St) interacting with construction heavy vehicles turning right from Annerley Rd towards the site. We have asked that the new shared path have a ramp allowing cyclists to get onto it from Cornwall St, but that won’t entirely solve the problem.
2. Construction heavy vehicles turning left from Cornwall St into Kent St, crossing a very busy pedestrian route.
3. Construction heavy vehicles turning left from Kent St into the site entry gate, across the path of cyclists heading to and from the PA hospital bikeway – particularly those heading downhill and in the driver’s huge blindspot on the left of their vehicle.
4. Construction heavy vehicles leaving the site and crossing the bikeway.
We support the Cross River Rail project, and want to see construction proceed as efficiently as possible, but safety should never be compromised. We will be making a submission to the Co-ordinator General to highlight our concerns about the interactions between construction heavy vehicles and cyclists in this area. That will include a request that vehicles used in this part of the project are not of the “conventional cabin” type, and that dog-trailers are not used on this site – we believe the risks are simply too high given the importance and popularity of this cycling route.
Submissions are due by Friday, 2 October.
Frustratingly of course, this would be much less of an issue if the overpass across the railway connecting the PA Hospital Bikeway to Peter Doherty St in the Boggo Road precinct was already in place so that people cycling didn’t have to rely so much on Kent St!