Dear Supporter of the CBD Protected Bike Grid
You may have received a letter from the Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk outlining reasons why his administration cannot make Brisbane CBD safe and convenient for people on bicycles.
If the Brisbane Lord Mayor had been following the roll out of protected bike lanes in cities in the USA and around he world, he would know he is on the wrong side of history. We recommend he read the book Street Fight by Janette Sadik Khan. We know Brisbane will ultimately become a bike friendly city with protected bike lanes in the CBD, as has New York, San Francisco, Washington, Seattle and 53 other USA cities and of course many cities in Europe. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnston, who installed much of London’s popular bicycle infrastructure, said that if he had his time again he would install more segregated bikeways.
The Brisbane Lord Mayor is mistaken when he told you the Brisbane CBD Protected Bike Grid cannot be built. It can be built. All it takes is a vision of a better, more liveable Brisbane CBD and the political will.
Let’s us correct some of the mistakes in the Mayors letter:
Firstly the CBD Protected Bike Grid is on just five streets in the CBD. All the other streets in the CBD are unaffected. The CBD Protected Bike Grid is only on a bit of one side of these streets. The rest of the street is available for parking, loading zones, bus stops, travel lanes, café tables, etc.
Bus Stops: The Mayor’s claim is that the Protected Bike Grid would result in the loss of nine bus stops is incorrect. The number of bus stop impacted will be fewer because the bikeways will be on the opposite side of the road to the bus stops. The reality is: 3 bus stops and 2 peak hour only bus stops would be impacted on Edward Street, and one bus stop which is no longer in general use on George Street. No bus stops will be affected on Margaret Street only a bus layover zone and no bus stops would be affected on Ann Street. The affected bus stops could either be relocated to nearby streets or they could remain and be redesigned to be compatible with bike lanes as explained in TMR technical note 128. The Dutch have numerous designs of floating bus stops which allow protected bike lanes and bus stops to coexist on the street. Here is a video of some Dutch bus stop designs incorporating protected bike lanes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Pvhkx0153k
Clearways: The affected clearways will become clearways for bikes. These clearways will still be moving people, which is the function of streets. No city wants more cars in their CBD. Protected bikeways have been shown to greatly increase the number of people riding bicycles where ever they have been installed. The provision of safe space in Brisbane’s CBD will also allow more people to use bicycles rather than cars, and the people who have to drive will still have the normal traffic lanes.
Loading Zones: The Mayor is right that loading zones are important to commerce in the city. Any loading zones impacted can be replaced by allocating new loading zones in nearby streets or on the other side of the road. Everyone who uses a loading zone has a trolley to move goods into the stores. While some deliveries will have to trolley goods a few metres further, some will also have a few metres less. The number of loading zones can be maintained or even increased by converting a few of the hundreds of on-street car parks into loading zones. The 2015 Brisbane Parking Taskforce report records that the Brisbane CBD has over thirty thousand car parks and over ten thousand of these are available for use by the public. There are over 800 on-street car parks in Brisbane.(Ref: Modern cities recognise that on street parking in the CBD is not the best use of valuable street space. Even the motoring organisations agree on this. Converting some of the existing on street car parks into loading zones will keep businesses and tradies happy.
We need Space for Cycling.
The Mayor’s suggestions that BAZ is a way to make cycling safe is wrong. BAZ is signage, just stencils on the road. They do nothing for the safety and comfort of people on bicycles. Similarly cycling in bus lanes only results in bikes holding up buses or stopped buses holding up bikes and each taking risks to leapfrog each other down the street. No one wants to share a lane with a bus, they’re scary. The huge difference in mass and speed between a bus and someone on a bicycle makes cycling in bus lanes an unsuitable option for all but the fast and fearless cyclist. Bus lanes are not suitable environments for 8 to 80 year olds but protected bike lanes are.
The CBD Protected Bike Grid will have a minimum impact on motorised traffic but will have huge benefits in health, in reducing pollution and in congestion busting by getting more people out of their cars and onto bikes, as well as making Brisbane a more attractive and liveable city.
Currently there is almost no safe space on the CBD streets for people on bikes. The few metres of bike lane on George Street has given people a taste of what protected bike lanes in our city could achieve. We need the existing George Street bike lane extended all the way down George Street and we need a bit of space on just four other streets to build the CBD Protected Bike Grid. The Protected Bike Grid will make a huge difference to our city.
We ask the Lord Mayor to share our vision for Brisbane as a people friendly, more liveable New World City where people can get about by bicycles safely and conveniently. Brisbane needs the CBD Protected Bike Grid.