1 Nov 2020

2020 Queensland election

Congratulations to the Palaszczuk Labor Government on securing a third term in office. We look forward to continuing to work constructively with the State Government, and with Brisbane City Council to make Brisbane a great cycling city.

With most seats decided in the 2020 Queensland election, we congratulate all the returned Brisbane MPs, and welcome a few new faces in parliament: Jonty Bush (Labor for Cooper), Amy MacMahon (Greens for South Brisbane), and Jimmy Sullivan (Labor for Stafford).

For the record, here’s an index with links to the rides and conversations we had with candidates across Brisbane during this election campaign.

Big bikeway project announcements are great, but it’s also really important to have local representatives who will support the smaller infill connections, and champion active transport across all areas of government and all aspects of government policy.

Just days before the election, we welcomed a commitment from Mark Bailey MP and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that a re-elected Labor government will invest $58 million this year in cycling projects across Queensland – including a number of outstanding missing links in Brisbane. We’re available for ribbon-cutting at all times… 🙂

Kangaroo Point Riverwalk

It was great that the candidates from each of the major parties who ran in South Brisbane support finally completing the Kangaroo Point Riverwalk from Dockside to Mowbray Park. Just a few short missing segments have prevented a safe, flat, accessible walking and cycling route around the river – instead requiring people to walk or ride up some steep hills, navigate a number of off-camber corners and roundabouts, and deal with increasing volumes of motor vehicle traffic and construction traffic.

Labor made a $22.5 million contribution to this project a major plank in their cycling infrastructure policy. We hope this will be the trigger for Brisbane City Council to finally also get serious about delivering this much needed infrastructure. It is something former Gabba Ward councillor Helen Abrahams championed (you can still find her petition online from 2013), as has current councillor, Cr Jonathan Sri.

The latest from Council

This week, Council’s Infrastructure Committee heard a presentation on the process for auditing Council’s assets. Brisbane City Council manages $27 billion in assets – of which $16.8 billion are infrastructure assets. This includes 5,812km of Council-controlled roads, 875km of off-road paths, 8 cross river bridges, 184 road bridges, 383 pedestrian bridges, 344 park pedestrian bridges [not sure what the distinction is], and 2,278 road culverts. Also 1,052 playgrounds, 166 outdoor gyms, and 719 BBQs.

Roads (plus the adjacent footpaths) and off-road paths are subject to a manual visual inspection every 3-5 years. I.e. the complete network is inspected over that period. Faults are also reported by Council staff, councillors, and residents.

The main issues with shared paths (which are mostly concrete) are caused by tree roots, vehicle loading, and soil conditions. The presenter didn’t mention service pit covers, which we’ve observed to be problematic —especially when vehicles drive over or park on them.

The presentation didn’t address the performance criteria for repairing issues—ie. how long between when an issue is reported to when it is patched and repaired.

You can report issues to Council via their website.

Wayfinding on the River Loop

On the agenda for Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee was a presentation on “River Loop Wayfinding Signage“. Since the Infrastructure Committee meets at the same time, and we were keen to hear how Council manages their assets, we weren’t able to hear about the River Loop, but we do welcome improvements to this popular recreational cycling route.

The Brisbane Times reports that the River Loop will have more than 400 wayfinding signs and pavement markings installed by November.

We would also point out that there are many other places around Brisbane where bikeway signage could be improved – for example along the Cabbage Tree Creek and Bulimba Creek Bikeways.

Chris spoke on ABC Brisbane radio on Thursday morning about wayfinding signage on bikeways, the recent surge in people cycling, bike parking, end of trip facilities, and our rides with candidates ahead of the election. In case you missed it, you can catch up here from 1:15:30.

Boggo Road

An update on the Boggo Road precinct at Dutton Park, and plans to turn the central boulevard into a car park: On Tuesday, Lucy from community group Boggo Road Futures spoke on ABC Brisbane radio. She was followed by the developer, who claimed the plans won’t really impact active transport access. We dispute that.

Even more frustrating: this land belongs to the State Government. They have given permission for the developer to submit an application to Council, providing “certain conditions” are met. But what are those conditions, and why don’t they insist on keeping public space for community benefit rather than turning it into a carpark?? You can read more on our latest blog post.

The kids who came along to the Play Date organised by Boggo Road Futures this week seemed pretty keen on retaining the central boulevard as car-free, safe open space for cycling, scooting, skating, running, skipping and walking.

Thanks to Amy MacMahon (Greens candidate and now MP elect for South Brisbane) and Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba for dropping by.

What do you think: would Brisbane be a better place if we consulted with the kids more often on planning decisions?

Sunday Streets

There are some great ideas in The McKell InstituteRiding the Revolution” report, released on Wednesday. Including ‘Sunday Streets‘ or ‘CicLAvias‘ which have been hugely popular all over the world, helping people reimagine life in their cities when their streets are not choked with cars or hostile wastelands.

Space for Cycling at Brisbane’s own mini Ciclovia – the Kurilpa Derby

The report also highlights some of the obvious missing links in Brisbane’s bikeway network: like Sylvan Rd, Toowong, and the CBD itself. “The point is that with not huge money, you could get real about joining up some of those links.”

Kedron Brook Bikeway

North BUG had some good news this week from the Mayor of Moreton Bay Regional Council, Mayor Peter Flannery: plans for the Kedron Brook Bikeway connection to Dinterra Avenue, Ferny Hills (Harry Evans Park) are now out for consultation. This project will allow people to commute and exercise safely every day by getting off busy roads like Patricks Road. Moreton Bay Regional Council are looking for some feedback on the plan, so please check it out and leave some good feedback if you want to see this project happen.

Jim Soorley Bikeway

There was more excellent news from Brisbane North BUG, with some long-awaited repairs now completed on the Jim Soorley Bikeway at Nudgee. This path is popular for both recreation and commuting, and is enjoyed by everyone from young families to older riders.

Indooroopilly Roundabout

In case you missed it, last week Brisbane City Council released an updated preferred option design and business case for the Indooroopilly Roundabout Upgrade at the intersection of Moggill Road and Coonan Street.

After an earlier consultation put out two high level design options for community feedback, the design featuring an overpass from Coonan Street has been selected. We advocated strongly for quality cycling facilities in this project given the intersection’s importance in the Principal Cycle Network, and the opportunity for such a major project to significantly improve active transport connections in the local area. Currently, the roundabout is almost completely impassable to pedestrians and anyone but the bravest and most determined road cyclist.

It does seem like some of our feedback was taken on board. The paths shown appear wider (in parts) than the previous draft designs, and the on-road painted bike lane with multiple slip-lane conflict points has gone.

However, we still have some concerns (green circles):

1. The crossing of the left-turn slip lane from Coonan Street into Moggill Road appears not to have traffic lights, or a prioritised crossing for cyclists and pedestrians.

2. The path crossing the unsignalised entry and exit of Indooroopilly Central Shops does not appear to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians – we’d suggest a properly designed priority crossing here.

3. The crossing of the left turn into Stamford Road from Moggill Road doesn’t appear to be a priority crossing.

4. A path down Keating Street was suggested, but we agree with the comments in the business case recommending this be planned in a broader sense with connections along Clarence Road to the Indooroopilly Riverwalk (currently under construction).

We also make the general observation that the paths crossing driveways should show the path as continuous indicating it has priority, not the driveway.

Finally, the traffic light crossings should be designed to encourage walking and cycling by minimising wait times. For example, if the general traffic light is green, the corresponding crossing light should also be green, not insisting on a “beg button” for permission to cross.

All in all, the biggest benefits of this project will be to provide active transport access across this intersection that currently does not exist. The benefits for motorists are more about safety, since the travel time savings are negligible, and largely irrelevant given the bottlenecks elsewhere in the vicinity.

At $126 million, this upgrade doesn’t come cheap, so we will continue to push to get the best possible outcome for active transport.

Wynnum Road

On Tuesday in Council, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner made much about the completion of the $650million Kingsford Smith Drive project. But a similar milestone passed unremarked on Wynnum Rd recently, with work on Stage 1B finally wrapped up, and the roadwork sign removed from the footpath/bikeway.

What’s frustrating after all the months of disruption on the shared path is that the replacement section just east (up hill) from Norman Ave is only 2.5m wide – not the 3.0m minimum for a shared path on a major route like this. There is room to provide a 3m path in this section, but it seems Council were too mean.

Then just a little further along, Council has laid new turf, but not touched the footpath. This is supposed to be a primary cycle route, and it’s less than 1.8m wide!

As for the overall project outcomes, imagine spending $115 million to “bust congestion”, and then just weeks later, finding… congestion.

It’s almost as if every real-life case study ever conducted on a road widening project didn’t predict exactly what has happened on Lytton/Wynnum Road.

Climate Action

As yet another report warns of the dangers of inaction on climate change, the folks at Extinction Rebellion have been on their bikes again sounding the alarm. Their ride on Sunday (the day following the Queensland State election) called for a citizens’ assembly because governments are not listening and acting on advice from scientists to address climate change.