Following community concern about aspects of the proposed plans for connecting the North Brisbane Bikeway from Wooloowin, though Eagle Junction, to the Kedron Brook Bikeway, a number of people have asked why we aren’t advocating for alternative routes (such as Dawson St and Shaw Road), and what previous options have been considered and consultation undertaken.
Here we attempt to answer those questions by presenting a timeline of the North Brisbane Bikeway connection from Wooloowin to the Kedron Brook Bikeway. (Note that this does not cover the the section between Roma St and Wooloowin; that’s a whole other saga.)
- Early advocacy and analysis: 2009 to 2010
- The lost years: 2010 to 2015
- Shaw Road: 2016-2017
- Kent Road route: 2018
- Wellington Street Route: 2018 to 2019
- All the Way to EJ
- Spreading the word
This discussion relates to places in and on the lands of the Turrbal People who have been the traditional custodians of this land since time began. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present. Any discussion about who should be provided with or excluded from access to public streets should be mindful that this is, was, and always will be, Aboriginal Land.
Early colonial history of the area suggests that the route comprising Dickson St, Bonney Ave, Junction St, and Jackson St formed the original Sandgate Road, until this was rerouted towards its current alignment starting some time in the 1860s. The 1896 Cyclists Map of Brisbane includes most major roads within 5-10km of the CBD around a decade before the first motor car in Brisbane. It includes Dickson St, Bonney Ave, and (Eagle) Junction Road. In the vicinity it also includes Chalk St, Kedron Park Rd, and Kent Rd (or Park Rd). This indicates these were all “cycle streets” long before they were used by motor cars. Sydney St and Jackson St appear in the sale notice for the Isleton Estate, Toombul from 1888. Any claim these streets were designed or built for cars, or that the cars were there first, is therefore false.
For additional context, aerial photographs from 1946 show that Jackson Street connected north to what is now the route of the Kedron Brook Bikeway, although the bridge over Kedron Brook was gone by then. Jackson St has certainly not always been a no-through road.
Brisbane City Council’s 1994-95 Annual Report mentions the bike lanes on Shaw Road, Kedron as the first time in Brisbane that part of a general carriageway is marked for use by people travelling by bike
Early advocacy and analysis: 2009 to 2010
November 2009: Brisbane CBD BUG contacted Lord Mayor Campbell Newman (with a copy to Cr David McLachlan) expressing concern about the safety of cyclists using Bridge St and Dickson Street, Wooloowin, and requesting Brisbane City Council take action to address this.
December 2009: Deputy Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk (for Lord Mayor Campbell Newman), replied confirming that this corridor was identified as a future cycle route by Brisbane City Council, and that “improved cycling facilities for these streets are currently part of Council’s future plans”. That correspondence also acknowledged that Bridge St / Dickson St was marked as a principal cycle route in TMR’s South East Queensland Principal Cycle Network Plan.
August 2010: Correspondence to Brisbane CBD BUG from Minister for Transport, Rachel Nolan MP, regarding the North Brisbane Cycleway stated:
“Following on from local and state government studies, my department is now undertaking the North Brisbane Cycleway investigation, which will produce concept designs for high-quality cycle facilities in the short- to medium-term to address this vital missing link in Brisbane’s cycle network.”Minister for Transport, Rachel Nolan MP, August 2010
October 2010: North Brisbane Cycleway Concept Design Study and Staged Implementation Plan document prepared by AECOM for TMR is delivered. A copy of this report was later acquired by Brisbane CBD BUG through a Right to Information Request. The report includes very detailed modelling and options analysis – including an on-road cycleway along Dickson St, Junction Rd, and Jackson St, as well as the route along Price St, Kent Rd, etc.
The lost years: 2010 to 2015
January 2012: A letter to CBD BUG from Anastasia Paluszczuk MP, then Minister for Transport and Multicultural Affairs, confirmed that planning was being undertaken for the North Brisbane Cycleway – as referenced in the Queensland Cycle Strategy and Planning SEQ2031: an Integrated Transport Plan for South East Queensland. This correspondence also mentioned connecting Chermside, Wooloowin and Albion Train Stations, and the RBWH at Herston.
February 2013: Responding to correspondence from Brisbane CBD BUG, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk confirmed the importance of the North Brisbane Cycle Way, and that Brisbane City Council were committed to working with TMR to deliver it. He also confirmed that BCC had allocated $250,000 toward planning and design.
Feb 2014: Frustrated by lack of action, members of CBD BUG campaigned for safety improvements on what they dubbed the “Albion-Wooloowin Death Corridor” along Bridge Rd and Dickson St. Story in Courier Mail They started sending postcards to the Premier (and former Lord Mayor), Campbell Newman.
April 2015: Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announces that he will spend $120 million on bikeway upgrades around Brisbane over four years as part of an innovative plan to generate more business in Brisbane’s suburbs. According to this announcement, the Better Bikeways 4 Brisbane program will include a commuter network targeting the city’s top eight employment areas. These include Australia Trade Coast (Brisbane Airport north of the river through to Port of Brisbane south of the river), and North-East Industrial Corridor (Nudgee/ Banyo/ Boondall/ Brisbane Airport), as well as Chermside. [Text recorded by Airport BUG, but since removed from BCC website.]
September 2015: Bicycle tours conducted for delegates of the Asia Pacific Cycling Congress (APCC 2015) in Brisbane include a tour of the route for the current (at the time) and future North Brisbane Bikeway through to Dickson St near Wooloowin Station. The NBB tour was conducted by bikeway planning staff from TMR and Brisbane City Council.
November 2015: Members of Brisbane North BUG and Airport BUG are joined by Minister Mark Bailey for a bike ride around the northern suburbs. High on the agenda: the lack of a connection from the CBD to the northern suburbs.
Shaw Road: 2016-2017
Around 2016, Council’s maps for the North Brisbane Bikeway seemed to indicate the intended route from Wooloowin to the Kedron Brook Bikeway was via Dickson St, Dawson St and Shaw Road. Wavell Heights resident Caroline decided to go and see her local Councillor and ask about that plan…
May 2016: Caroline visits newly elected councillor, Cr Adam Allan, and discusses the route of the North Brisbane Bikeway – in particular issues relating to Shaw Road
July 2016: Brisbane City Council installs traffic counters (including for video) on Shaw Road at Shaw Park.
September 2016: Meanwhile, TMR submit detailed designs for the Gateway North Upgrade – including the Gateway North Bikeway – to Brisbane City Council, see http://files.brisbanenorthbug.com/nbbdata/Gateway01.pdf and http://files.brisbanenorthbug.com/nbbdata/Gateway03.pdf
February 2017: Caroline visits Cr Adam Allan again to discuss the NBB. Caroline raises concerns about the lack of any information regarding time-frames and a proposed route, pointing out there is a very engaged group of local riders who are keen to consult and provide practical solutions from first-hand experience.
May 2017: BCC announces plans to “upgrade” intersection of Shaw Rd with the driveway to the Shaw Park sports precinct by adding lanes and removing the on-road bike lanes. Brisbane North BUG and Airport BUG flag concerns with this proposal. Representatives from Brisbane North BUG and Airport BUG meet with Cr Adam Alan to discuss their concerns.
23 May 2017: In Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee Meeting, Chair Cr Adrian Schrinner states that Council does not consider the current markings on Shaw Road constitute bike lanes, thus claiming the space for vehicle turning lanes does not equate to removing bike facilities. According to Cr Schrinner, cyclists travelling along Shaw Rd have the option to take the off-road shared path, so are not losing anything if the priority through route (on the main carriageway) becomes more hazardous. The priority is to remove queuing cars, and retaining space for bikes in the intersection reconfiguration would exceed the project budget.
August 2017: Attempts by Brisbane North BUG to raise awareness of BCC’s plans to remove bike lanes from Shaw Rd are removed from Council’s Cycling Brisbane Instagram feed for being “too political”
October 2017: Brisbane City Council reveal their final plans to widen Shaw Road and remove on-road bike lanes. In an interview on ABC Radio on 19 October 2017, we ask “Can you heritage list a bike lane?” Later that month, we hold a funeral for the Shaw Road Bike Lanes. You can read more about our campaign to save the lanes on our blog post. See also the coverage in Quest Newspapers.
November 2017: Caroline discusses our disappointment with Council’s process regarding Shaw Road with state candidates for the Nudgee Electorate, including sitting MP Leanne Linard.
December 2017: Brisbane City Council is presented with our petition asking that they maintain Shaw Road as an important north-south cycling corridor. Council eventually responds saying “the project design balances the needs of all users in the area”. We decided at that point that hopes for the North Brisbane Cycleway along Shaw Rd were dead and buried. Rest in peace.
Brisbane City Council had decided that their priority for the Shaw Rd / Dawson Road corridor was to increase its capacity and utilisation by cars, making it an urban arterial route, and they were not going to create a safe cycling corridor. It was time to turn our attention to advocating for alternative routes.
Kent Road route: 2018
April 2018: Brisbane City Council finally propose a route for Stage 5 of the North Brisbane Bikeway, connecting from Price St, along Kent Rd, Rose St, Park Rd, and Brook Rd to the Kedron Book. This plan included “buffered bikeways” (which would have been the first in Brisbane, pre-dating the Gabba Bikeway on Stanley St) and our first ‘Cycle street’ with a 30 km/h speed limit and clear markings showing motorists that they are sharing with more vulnerable road users. Space for Cycling and Brisbane North BUG promote the consultation sessions for this connection, along with the designs which are somewhat radical for Brisbane at the time.
April-May 2018: Consultation is held on this connection is held in Melrose Park from 9-11am on Saturday, 28 April and 3-5 pm on Wednesday, 2 May, and online via a survey.
May 2018: The bikelash begins almost immediately, with an article appearing in Quest Newspapers on 3 May 2018, with business owners objecting to the ‘loss of parking’ on Kent Rd (see image below).
Was a consultation report produced??
October 2018: Cr McLachlan writes to (some) constituents proudly boasting of his part in causing Council to abandon plans for the North Brisbane Bikeway route via Kent Rd.
Wellington Street Route: 2018 to 2019
October 2018: BCC announce that they have cancelled plans for NBB stage 5 in favour of a diversion to the west at Chalk St, taking Wellington St and Bradshaw St to the Kedron brook Bikeway via the Lutwyche Bus Station.
November 2018: we discuss the curious coincidence in timing of this announcement and the approval of the development application at Lutwyche Station.
An awkward silence follows. Meanwhile…
February 2019: Member for Clayfield, Tim Nicholls MP sends out a survey to his constituents about the TMR component of the bikeway (stages 2, 3 and 4), saying “this isn’t about whether the bikeway should go ahead (because it certainly should) but it is about how we can best go about it.”
March 2019: Queensland Transport Minister, Mark Bailey MP commits TMR to building Stage 4 of the North Brisbane Bikeway along Dickson St through to Price St, giving safe passage through the notorious s-bend at Wooloowin Station.
March 2019: Gateway North Bikeway is officially opened, adding urgency to the case for a direct connection from the CBD to the Kedron Brook Bikeway at Toombul and thus the Jim Soorley Bikeway and Gateway North Bikeway route.
June 2019: Brisbane City Council finally release detailed plans for the Wellington Diversion. This proposes a shared path along Chalk St, a short section of protected cycleway along Kedron Park Road, and significant engineering work along Wellington St and Bradshaw St to create a “cycle street” with kerb build-outs, additional speed cushions, and new garden beds and kerbing. See also https://kedrontoday.com.au/bridge-street-to-kedron-brook-north-brisbane-bikeway-concept-design-released-for-community-feedback/
July 2019: BCC holds public consultation sessions on the Wellington St link (attended by representatives from Space for Cycling) on Thursday 4 July from 5pm-7pm at Lutwyche Bus Station (Bradshaw St) and Saturday 6 July, 10am-12pm at Lutwyche City Shopping Centre.
November 2019: extracts of a letter from Cr McLachlan to local residents and businesses are published in the Courier Mail. In that letter (which we have seen), Cr McLachlan blames the State Government for the “explosion in bikeways” and adds his support to their opposition to the bikeway route along Wellington St.
All the Way to EJ
By late 2019 it’s clear that Cr David McLachlan will side with residents who raise any objections to any bikeway route. Council appears to have gone cold on the Stage 5 connection via Wellington St. At this point we decide it’s time to campaign for the more direct route via Eagle Junction.
December 2019: Our petition is presented to Council with more than 300 signatures asking them to connect the North Brisbane Bikeway All the way to EJ.
March 2020: TMR complete Stages 2 and 3 of North Brisbane Bikeway to just before Wooloowin Station.
May 2020: Brisbane North BUG write to Minister Mark Bailey MP, and Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner asking TMR and BCC to collaborate to expedite delivery of the North Brisbane Bikeway through Eagle Junction to connect with the Kedron Brook Bikeway, and suggesting Dickson St, Keith St, Sydney St, and Jackson St as a feasible route.
9 June 2020: BCC’s Public and Active Transport Committee discusses their assessment of the 2 previously considered options for the North Brisbane Bikeway Stage 5, plus our nominated route via Eagle Junction. In that meeting it was confirmed that all 3 of those options (via Kent St, via Wellington St, and via Sydney/Jackson St would be similar in cost. A response to our “All the Way to EJ” petition was recommended.
mid-June 2020: Following discussion and voting in Council’s meeting on 16 June, BCC respond to the “All the Way to EJ” petition
July 2020: First meeting of the Active Transport Advisory Committee (ATAC), established to facilitate further collaboration between Queensland Government, Council, and Active Transport Community. The meeting discusses the three alignments under consideration by Council for completing the link in the North Brisbane Bikeway from Bridge St to Kedron Brook:
- via Dickson St, Eagle Junction, and Jackson St (as per our petition)
- via Wellington St and the Lutwyche Bus Station (last heard of in 2019)
- a version of the Price St, Kent St, Brooks St zig-zag route abandoned by BCC following the consultation sessions and detailed planning in 2018.
At that time the BUGs pointed out that it was strange to be discussing only having one single active transport connection from the CBD to the northern suburbs of Brisbane. Imagine only having one road in each direction.
July 2020: Given the requirement to only chose a single route, the BUGs and Bicycle Queensland expressed our strong preference for the connection via Eagle Junction, as the most direct route, but also the most likely to proceed in a reasonable timeframe – given it had not been previously rejected, and was not (at that stage) strongly opposed by the local councillor. We did not reject either of the other options – as later falsely claimed by Cr McLachlan – but nominated our highest priority.
October 2020: Brisbane North BUG runs campaign in conjunction with the State Election to counter negative messaging in the Courier Mail against cyclists in general and North Brisbane Bikeway in particular.
November 2020: In the meeting of Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee on 3 November 2020, Chair Cr Ryan Murphy was asked about recent media reports that Council were distancing themselves from the North Brisbane Bikeway.
Cr Murphy responded that he doesn’t know where this notion has come from; he and Council are right behind the North Brisbane Bikeway stage 4 (currently under construction by TMR along Dickson St to Price St) and Stage 5—which will extend north to Eagle Junction. He said that design of the “All the Way to EJ” link would be completed within three to six weeks and then go out for public consultation.
November – December 2020: Brisbane North BUG and Space for Cycling run a series of post highlighting the importance of safe cycling connections for families on the north side.
January 2021: Stage 4 of the North Brisbane Bikeway, to Price St Wooloowin is complete!
9 March 2021: Meeting of Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee receives a presentation on the plans for Stage 5 of the NBB through Eagle Junction. The nominal route presented shows the bikeway continuing along Dickson Street to Junction Road, then down Keith St, Sydney Street, and Jackson Street to join the Kedron Brook Bikeway. Chair Cr Ryan Murphy acknowledges in the meeting that BUG groups support multiple links, but the route through Eagle Junction is their highest priority.
November 2021: Detailed plans for the Stage 5 connection though Eagle Junction are publicly released, following technical feasibility. A number of options are put forward, but there are only small differences. Consultation sessions on the Eagle Junction route are held on Thursday 4 November 2021, 5pm-7pm at Eagle Junction Train Station and Saturday 6 November 2021, 9am-11am at Kalinga Park (near Jackson Street).
Spreading the word
Although local residents were advised of the consultation sessions through letter-box drops, Council doesn’t appear to have made any effort to alert people who might cycle in the area – for example by contacting their large database of members subscribed to the Cycling Brisbane program, or by placing signs on the nearby bikeways. Brisbane North BUG, Airport BUG and Space for Cycling attempted to address this imbalance by promoting the consultation sessions on social media, leading a bike ride from the CBD to the Thursday session, posting notices along the bikeways, handing out flyers, and letter-boxing surrounding streets.
We are an entirely volunteer organisation with none of the resources of Brisbane City Council, the local Councillor, or the State Member of Parliament. Our only goal is to ensure that a safe cycle route finally connects from Wooloowin through to the Kedron Brook Bikeway to service the growing areas around Toombul, Nundah, and Nudgee, as well as the major employment area at Australia Trade Coast and the Brisbane Airport.
We consider that calls from Cr David McLachlan to scrap the current proposal (as he has done for all previous versions), and from Tim Nicholls MP to “go back to the drawing board” amount to calls to discard the detailed analysis, planning, and community consultation process that has proceeded (albeit incredibly slowly) for more than a decade. It’s time to just get on with it!