With less than two weeks until the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival on March 14, make sure you don’t miss out on tickets – get yours today! Our local film-makers have delivered some great short films in the Epic Cycles Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition. We’ll be showing the finalists ahead of the feature film Motherload. Don’t miss the fun!
The Brisbane City Council election is now less than four weeks away, so we’re doubling down our efforts to get healthy active transport at the top of the agenda. This week, Chris met Greg Adermann, LNP candidate for Pullenvale Ward for a ride in Kenmore. Greg hadn’t been on a bike since high school (let’s call it 30 years) and he was apprehensive, but determined to give it a go to experience life on two wheels first hand.
They rode up the Cubberla Creek Bikeway from Kenmore towards Chapel Hill State School and back, before crossing at the lights on Moggill Road to look at the steep, narrow and sharp bend to join the Cubberla Creek Bikeway on the southern side. Connecting this bikeway which is bisected by Moggill Road is just one of the issues we know is considered in the Moggill Road Corridor Planning Study. While Chris and Greg were looking at the Cubberla Creek culvert underneath Moggill Road and its potential to host a cycle path, an intrepid cyclist emerged through the tunnel on his mountain bike and gave a well-timed briefing on the hydrology factors at play and why it’s a challenge to build something there. In the meantime he makes use of his secret commuter route! Greg enjoyed the local cycling experience and is keen to take a CityCycle for a roll when the weather gets cooler.
At the other end of the experience spectrum, Greens candidate for Coorparoo Ward, Sally Dillon is a very experienced bike rider; not only an active commuter with her family; she’s a champion penny farthing racer, and even wrote the Lonely Planet guide book for cycle-touring in France! On Thursday Sally joined Belinda for a ride around Stones Corner, Greenslopes, Coorparoo, East Brisbane and Woolloongabba. Full marks to Sally for not only coming along in peak-hour, but also towing a trailer to help illustrate how some of the road crossings, tight corners, and narrow and uneven paths which are manageable by a fit adult cyclist can present real barriers for someone travelling with kids, or for folk who are older, younger, or less experienced riders. (Not to mention riding at night or in the rain).
Belinda and Sally discussed how cycling infrastructure doesn’t always have to be expensive and heavily engineered; some of the quiet neighbourhood streets would make great bike routes except that things get really difficult when you want to cross a major road. Too many intersections have high speed slip-lanes where drivers don’t give way, and signalised crossings for pedestrians and cyclists that seem to take forever and then only provide a few seconds to scamper across. Sally and Belinda’s loop included sections of Old Cleveland Rd and Stanley St East – both of which require on-road cyclists to deal with parked cars, buses, and high-speed traffic. They took on the challenges of crossing Cornwall St, Deshon St, and Bennetts Rd in busy traffic, and explored some paths through Wembley Park, Coorparoo Common, Bowies Flat, and along Coorparoo Creek – many of which are narrow, crumbling, unlit, and in some cases completely missing.
Another very experienced commuter cyclist running for council is Anthony Walsh, Greens Candidate for Deagon Ward. Anthony showed off his local knowledge and his bike skills riding around Deagon, Sandgate and Shorncliffe with Andrew from Brisbane North BUG on Saturday. They visited the waterfront and commercial centre of Sandgate, talking about the benefits that bikeways bring to local businesses. They also marveled at some disappearing bike lanes, and discussed how bike parking and end of trip facilities can be improved. Anthony and Andrew’s trip took them to four of the local schools to check out the active transport options and bike parking facilities. Anthony agrees that Council needs to do a whole lot more to make cycling locally an easier and safer choice for everyone, especially school kids.
Andrew was out riding again on Sunday afternoon, this time with Labor’s candidate for McDowall Ward, Liam Culverhouse. They checked out some of the new sections of the Cabbage Tree Creek Bikeway, as well as some older sections of path, on-road bike lanes along Hamilton Rd, and some missing links and poor footpaths in Aspley, McDowall and Bridgeman Downs. Liam mentioned that when he’s been out talking to people in the community, their preference for the North West Transport Corridor (Trouts Road corridor) is for green space and walking and cycling pathways.
Also in election news this week, we were very happy to hear Labor Lord Mayoral candidate Patrick Condren announce that if elected he will establish a Lord Mayor’s Advisory Bicycle User Group, to advise on cycling and active transport policy issues, and assist with advocacy and bicycle policy reform within Brisbane City Council.
This is great news, as we have seen too much time lost, and public money which has not been used most effectively. We’ve seen projects and proposals that duplicate already functional bike infrastructure while other critical connections have been completely neglected. After four years, Council have still not released their active transport network plan.
We’re very happy to see healthy transport as a key component of Pat’s election campaign, and appreciate his commitment to listen to the experience of bicycle user groups and to fill in the missing links in Brisbane’s suburbs to create healthy transport connections that work for everyone.
North Brisbane Bikeway
On the ground, the big (huge, massive…) news this week was that the North Brisbane Bikeway opened through as far as Wooloowin. It’s magnificent! Enjoy our photo gallery. This comment from Robert on Facebook says it all: “Great ride home today. Safe enough now to take the kids.” Yeeha!
We have had a few questions about how to get on to the new bikeway from the north (where it is still under construction). Our suggestions:
If you’re coming from east of the railway line at Fraser St, there isn’t a ramp to directly cross the road onto the bikeway, so you would need to turn left down Bridge St, and then use the right-turn lane or the pedestrian crossing to enter the bikeway at Chalk St.
If you’re coming from Dickson St, the first place to enter the bikeway is using the pedestrian crossing at Wooloowin Station – but be aware that’s busy with pedestrians and has a few metres of gravel path and a tight turn. Do not attempt this at speed!
Alternatively, if you’re comfortable to take the lane, make as if to turn right at Rigby St, and enter the bikeway there. (Although there is a sign saying no right turn at Rigby St – not sure if that’s temporary?) Failing that, enter at Chalk St as above.
Thanks also to one of our supporters, Darren for providing these suggestions for the most bike-friendly routes to/from the bikeway and Kent Rd /Shaw Rd.
Priority crossings for bikeways are still quite new in Brisbane, but hopefully as we see more of them, drivers will work out not to queue across the path. The crossings for the North Brisbane Bikeway at Merehaye St and Bridge St are well designed, with enough room for a car to wait ahead of the bikeway crossing (after giving way to path users). Sometimes a second driver will pull up too closely behind – like this guy – but in a low speed environment, that’s annoying rather than dangerous. We recommend the death stare, and hopefully they’ll know not to do it again 🙂
There is one outstanding issue though, and we thank to Jonty Bush, Labor’s candidate for Enoggera Ward for highlighting it: the dangerous crossing at Blackmore St. This section of the North Brisbane Bikeway (which was previously in Hamilton Ward, but is now in Enoggera) has only been open a few months, but the Blackmore Street intersection is already proving to be a conflict zone, with reports of near misses between people on bikes and cars. The visibility is particularly bad for northbound cyclists who are in conflict with motor vehicles turning left off McDonald Road.
Blackmore is the only side street on McDonald Rd where the bikeway does not have priority, and the intersection has no traffic calming or surface treatment to make it safer. The original plans from TMR had a priority crossing here, but we believe objections from Brisbane City Council caused that to be reversed. Blackmore St has traffic calming further west, and is intended for local traffic, so it’s difficult to understand why that traffic has been prioritised ahead of the safety of people travelling on the major bikeway to Brisbane’s northern suburbs. The intersection needs to be fixed to ensure people using the bikeway are safe at this crossing.
Veloway at Birdwood Road
On Monday, we reported that we had received a response from Deputy Mayor, and Holland Park Ward Councillor Krista Adams regarding our concerns about the Veloway crossing at Birdwood Rd. We appreciate Cr Adam’s support for our calls for TMR to bring forward a permanent solution to complete the Veloway at Birdwood Rd with an overpass. However, more still needs to be done to ensure a safe temporary solution is ready for when the Veloway Stage E is completed in mid-2020.
Unfortunately it seems that the information from council officers regarding the state of the footpath along the boundary of the properties from 154 to 172 Birdwood Rd was a bit confused. We asked Council to take another look at that section, highlighting again that it is the footpath on the lower level that could provide an alternative route for pedestrians, rather than trying to share the path directly adjacent to the road with hundreds of inbound cyclists from the Veloway. Separation between people walking and cycling on this very busy commuter cycling route will be important to prevent conflict and possible collisions.
We were delighted when on Thursday, Labor’s Lord Mayoral candidate Patrick Condren and Holland Park Ward candidate Karleigh Auguston announced that if elected they will invest $1million to fix the missing link in the Veloway at Birdwood Rd. No more having to balance along the footpath!
Better Bikeways for Brisbane program in review
As we approach the Brisbane City Council election on March 28, it’s worth looking back at the progress of the current council administration on bikeways. Previous Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, and his successor, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner have made much of their $100 million Better Bikeways for Brisbane program, and it has included some achievements worth celebrating. Let’s take a look through the list, starting with the most expensive: first up is the Botanic Gardens Riverwalk.
Known initially as the Alice St/Edward St bikeway, this was an election commitment by Team Quirk in 2016. It fixes a very narrow ramp between the Eagle St Riverwalk and the City Botanic Gardens – in case you’ve forgotten, this it what it used to look like:
And this is what it looks like now:
We can probably all agree that the outcome here is very much better – although it is missing shade. There were some significant engineering challenges and heritage constraints given the location. At $100,000 per metre of bikeway, we’re not keen on solving all challenges by building massive structures out over the river like this, and we have yet to see how it integrates with the next stage of the Eagle St upgrade, the Kangaroo Point Bridge, and a transition into the CBD. But it is undeniably a nice section of bikeway.
Then again, experience from cities overseas suggests you could complete a connected grid of bikeways covering the CBD for that type of money.
Budget total: $20,407,000
Final amount: unknown, so let’s assume $20,407,000
Quality: Very high. Fully separated.
Completed: December 2019
Council ward: Central
On Facebook, we asked: what’s your verdict? Many comments echoed Jon’s sentiments:
Yeah, I’m not really convinced about this one. It’s certainly a nice piece of infrastructure but blowing one fifth of your bikeways budget on 200m of bikeway doesn’t seem value for money, especially when it connects you down to the Riverside Centre frontage which has a similar set of problems to the ones this solved. It’s very expensive pathway to nowhere.
But people who use it appreciate it, like Alicia:
lots of cyclists on the stretch in the morning 6 to 7.30, gets too hot after that in full sun and heading along Kangaroo Pt is the cooler option to get to the Valley. Huge improvement to my commute even though it was very expensive and is quite short.
Things about to happen
Council might be in caretaker mode ahead of the election, but there are still plenty of projects starting up around the city that will impact on cycleways:
From Monday 2 March 2020, work will begin at South Bank for construction of the new pedestrian-only bridge to the Queen’s Wharf casino and resort. The work site and accommodation sheds will include the landing site and the green open space between the Wheel of Brisbane and the Brisbane sign.
We’re not sure when removal of the four mature trees “in the way” of the landing site will occur, but it will be a sad day for Brisbane. While Brisbane needs more river crossings to enable healthy transport, we are on record highlighting that this particular design and location falls far short of providing value to make up for the loss of public space and amenity.
Heads up for northside riders: from Tuesday, the short steep section of the North Brisbane Bikeway between Campbell St and O’Connell Tce, Bowen Hills will be closed for construction work on the site. The (official) detour will be via Sneyd St – which adds around 200m to the trip, but is a much easier gradient. The footpath on Sneyd St is quite wide, so should easily accommodate the detour, although we expect many northbound riders will prefer to use the road. Heading south, we believe Wren St (which some riders already use) will remain open – although obviously that might get busy with construction traffic.
The good news in the long term is the new development “will incorporate the demolition and re-construction of a new bikeway which will include improvement in the grades and the smoothing of the travel path on the bikeway/footpath plus increased lighting in the area to improve public safety.”
Parking on the path. Aaaargh!
We’re fans of all forms of micro mobility. But not when it’s left blocking the path! This week we reported another motor scooter parked blocking the bikeway at the city end of the Goodwill Bridge. The fact this happens regularly indicates that there is a problem with the markings. However Brisbane City Council hand-balled it to the State Government where our call was bounced between departments and eventually rang out. One of our followers helpfully went down and moved the scooter himself so the hazard wasn’t there in peak-hour. The “juicers” for the Lime and Neuron electric scooters seem to be increasingly lining them up in totally unsuitable places too.
News from around the world
With so much going on in Brisbane at the moment, it’s hard to keep up with international news too, but a few things caught our eye this week:
The London Cycling Campaign has long been lobbying for slower speeds on streets where people live, work and shop because of the danger associated with high speed traffic. On 2nd March this year, their wishes will be granted with traffic speed limits in central London limited to 20mph (32 kph). There is a clear association between higher vehicle speeds and the severity of collisions, so this is good evidence based public policy. The statistics show speed is a factor in at least 37% of collisions where a person is killed or is seriously injured and reducing the speed reduces the number and severity of injuries. We think it’s time Brisbane looked at lowering speed limits on streets where people live, shop and play.
As this article suggests for Melbourne, Brisbane can put the wasted decades of car-obsessed investment behind it too. Connecting the patchwork of good cycling and walking routes into a coherent, convenient, safe network would be a good start. Lots of other places that have turned the corner used to be like Brisbane.
‘Copenhagen was not always a cycling and pedestrian friendly city. For many decades primacy was given to cars – roads were widened to make way for more cars and public squares were converted into carparks.
But from the late 1970s Copenhagen started redesigning its transport system to encourage cycling, walking and public transport. After decades of investment the city now has 50 per cent of all trips to work and school made by bicycle.’
Don’t forget your tickets!
Before you go, don’t forget your tickets to the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival on Saturday March 14 – it’s going to be an awesome night. Invite your friends!