We believe the case for a walking and cycling bridge between West End and Toowong is strong. As Council points out, such a bridge will:
- offer Toowong residents direct access to markets, restaurants, art and music venues and green space in West End
- link West End residents to shopping, business and health facilities in Toowong
- enable commuters to interchange at Toowong Railway Station, walk across the bridge and access high-frequency bus services to destinations in West End and South Brisbane.
Most of the benefits are for people walking and accessing public transport. For those travelling by bike, there is already a good protected and mostly flat cycling route via Riverside Drive, the GoBetween Bridge, and the Bicentennial Bikeway – but depending on your start point and destination, that’s a 4km detour which many people will find very inconvenient or prohibitive.
As we’ve noted in our review of the options for a bridge between West End and St Lucia, we think the maximum value for cycling will be achieved if these two bridges are delivered in combination. However we still support a green bridge between Toowong and West End even if the St Lucia Bridge is scuttled.
Council has proposed 3 possible alignments. Our thoughts on these are as follows:
On the Toowong side, this alignment would land at a site which is currently empty, but is in private hands. This block is on the corner of Archer St, near the corner of Glen Rd, and appears to almost share the road access with the driveway of the neighbouring property. The existing footpath on Archer St at this point is very poor, and there are limited options to improve it or the cycling route due to the terrain.
Together with the information from Council that a bridge with this alignment would need to be quite steep, and could impact established trees on the West End site, this is sufficient for us to rule out this option as a realistic possibility.
This option puts the Toowong landing on Archer St closest to the walkway and link through to Toowong Village and Toowong Station. However, it would require resumption of an existing character home. From the Bicentennial Bikeway, or from Glen Rd, reaching this landing site would require a steep climb up Archer St.
From a cycling perspective, the slightly shorter distance from this bridge to the Toowong Walkway (where cycling is banned anyway) really isn’t enough to outweigh the disadvantages of this landing location.
With Options B and C feeling like strawman proposals, we believe Option A is the only realistic alignment proposed. It has the advantage of the lowest profile, and the best connection from the Bicentennial Bikeway – particularly if a connection is created through the old ABC site at 600 Coronation Drive as required under the Brisbane City Plan and the Local Government Infrastructure Plan. (We also support calls for that site to be returned to public ownership for parkland).
Our support for this option still insists that the detailed plan:
- minimise (or preferably totally avoid) impact on established trees in Orleigh Park
- preserve the important Sorry Site at Cranbrook place
- minimise the bridge landing footprint, and activate the space under the bridge to create quality public space.
We encourage people to get along to the remaining information sessions:
- Thursday 10 December 2020 4-7pm South Brisbane Sailing Club, 68 Hill End Terrace, West End
- Saturday 12 December 2020 9am-12 noon Toowong Rowing Club, 37 Keith Street, St Lucia
Also, fill in the feedback survey* and make a written submission to Council with your own views.
*You might also like to consider the points raised by Kurilpa Futures and the West End Community Association (WECA) who argue that the timing of the consultation is poor and insufficient, and urge people to reject the push-polling nature of the survey.