10 Jan 2021

Take Action: Petition for Cycling Infrastructure

Please sign our petition requesting that TMR make the Old Cleveland Rd off-ramp to the Gateway Motorway safe for people cycling, and that future projects comply with the Queensland Government’s own Cycling Infrastructure policy.

Introduced in 2017, this policy requires that all TMR funded projects on principal cycle routes (such as Old Cleveland Rd) explicitly provide cycling infrastructure within the project’s scope. We’ve seen how effective the policy has been to create quality cycling infrastructure as part of the upgrades to the Gateway North Motorway, Ipswich Motorway, and Sumners Rd interchange. But what’s currently under construction on Old Cleveland Rd makes no provision for people cycling – in fact it makes conditions even more dangerous.

We want TMR to urgently address the conflict zone where vehicles heading to the Gateway Motorway will turn off Old Cleveland Rd across the path of anyone cycling straight ahead. We also want to ensure that future projects like this give proper consideration to the safety of all road users.

Grammar Path temporary diversion pops up

We began this week with a reminder that as of Thursday 7 January, a detour would be in place for the Grammar Path (North Brisbane Bikeway behind the Grammar Schools). This time the Cross River Rail team are providing a temporary protected shared path along College Rd (repurposing a general traffic lane) and Gregory Tce (in space currently taken up by long-term metered kerbside parking). The diversion will be in place until late January – it is required to be completed before school returns.

Barriers and other modifications to create the temporary shared path were set to be installed on Tuesday and Wednesday. We were impressed to see how quickly the lane on College Rd popped up. On Monday there was nothing, but by Tuesday evening, a row of orange barriers were in place.

Then the schedule slipped a little – possibly due to the rain – but on Friday afternoon, the Cross River Rail crew were hard at work constructing the pop-up protected bikeway on Gregory Tce. They advised on Saturday that the diversion was in place by 10am.

We’re very interested to see how well this “pop-up” space works. This is exactly the sort of solution many other cities have taken to quickly create safe space for people to stay active and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately a few weeks probably won’t be enough to demonstrate that protected space past two major high schools might actually be a good long-term solution to the traffic woes in the area, and that the row of long-term on-street parking bays on Gregory Tc actually aren’t essential.

Bulimba Creek Bikeway Lighting

Speaking of “pop-up” infrastructure, we’re not quite sure what has happened to the planned lighting on the Bulimba Creek Bikeway between the Veloway and Freesia St, Macgregor. This was one of the projects approved for funding under the Queensland Government’s COVID-Safe Works for Queensland Program, announced in May last year. The first round of that program allocated a total of $5 million to Brisbane City Council for “shovel-ready” projects that would deliver value to residents while supporting local construction jobs. We’re hoping to see progress on lighting this rather dark bikeway connection soon.

(Meanwhile, if you have seen Buddy the dog or Yuan Yuan the cat, please help them get home to their families!)

Cyclists Dismount order on Albert St

On Monday, police were out warning people for cycling through the Albert St tunnel (between Mary St and Charlotte St in the CBD). Revised signage will be in place by the end of the week, and we’ve been advised they will be giving people the full $133 fine after that.

Yes, it is a little ironic that the temporary tunnel is actually wider and less cluttered than most footpaths around the city. But if you want to avoid an awkward conversation and a possible fine, we strongly recommend you either walk this block, or avoid it. (Which will be easier when the CityLink Cycleway on Edward St is open).

More walking: Go Between Bridge

We also received notification from Transurban that from Monday, 11 January, for 6 weeks (weather permitting), they will be conducting resurfacing works on the cycleway and walkway on the Go Between Bridge. During this time, pedestrian and cyclist access will be maintained, however you will be required to dismount and walk your bike across the bridge for the duration of the works. An alternative detour via the Kurilpa Bridge has also been sign posted, as below.

We’ve contacted Transurban to discuss the issues with this arrangement:

  • Dismounting should only be required when strictly necessary; there are multiple examples of shared paths in Brisbane which are narrower and busier where cyclists are not required to dismount and walk. For people who ride a bike or trike as a mobility aid, this long walk may not even be possible.
  • The detour is really problematic, as there is no good access from the Bicentennial Bikeway to Kurilpa Bridge. The footpath on North Quay is narrow and cluttered, and Tank St is even more constrained.
  • We’ve also asked Transurban to confirm that the bridge closures will not coincide with upcoming works on Tank St.

However, at this stage we recommend you assume it will proceed as planned and be prepared significant disruption if you’re heading that way to work this week.

Lockdown Listening

3 days of strict lockdown in Brisbane gave us the chance to catch up on some podcasts about cities and active transport. Here are a few of our favourites:

If you haven’t discovered The War on Cars podcasts already, we highly recommend them. From the US, they offer a some fresh and challenging perspectives on bikes, society, car addiction, and how we think about public space. There are 52 excellent episodes to catch up on, but some we particularly recommend are:

  • Episode 46 – Crash Course with Woodrow Pheonix. A really interesting interview with the author of a graphic novel that challenges some of the ‘norms’ of cities where driving is assumed to be the default behaviour.
  • Episodes 27 and 28 take a look at “The Problem with Public Meetings” – including how badly these can go wrong.

From London, Streets Ahead is another excellent podcast series about bikes, streets, cities and transport. We particularly recommend the episodes on Cargo Bikes (Episode 18, 21 Dec 2020), Hospital Parking (Episode 12, Aug 2020), and School Streets and Play Streets (Episode 7, 12 Jun 2020). You can find Streets Ahead on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app.

Closer to home, The Adelaide Show Podcast episode 304 discussed Rethinking the Daily Commute with former Lord Mayor of Adelaide and urban planner, Stephen Yarwood, and urban strategist, Steven Burgess.

Looking to the future

Every city has its challenges in creating a culture centred on quality of life for people rather than for cars. But as we’ve watched Sydney stride ahead despite their tangled roads and even more tangled politics, it gives us hope for Brisbane. If 2020 was the year Sydney turned the corner to becoming a cycling city, 2021 can be Brisbane’s time!

Post COVID cities will prioritise wellness, and the economic benefits will follow. Will Brisbane become a New Well City by reclaiming public space?