11 July 2021

Zero Emission Vehicles

We’ve provided input to the development of Queensland’s new Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy, recommending that it aim for less use of private cars—whatever the power source—in favour of more walking, cycling (including electric bicycles), micro electric vehicles (e-scooters and similar) and public transport (preferably via electric trains, trams, buses, and ferries).

While the stated aim of the new strategy is to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles, we are concerned that it will effectively encourage the ongoing reliance by Queenslanders on private cars which are much larger and more powerful (and hence more dangerous) than is required for the task at hand—which is usually to transport a single person or a few members of a single family.

Apart from zero tail-pipe emissions (obviously a good thing), electric cars are as detrimental to urban amenity as cars powered by fossil fuels. Indeed a number of features potentially make them even more problematic. We’re urging careful consideration of government subsidies for private vehicles. In particular, valuable public land—including at the kerbside—should not be dedicated to the storage of private vehicles while they are charging, and charging paraphernalia should not be permitted to impinge on footpaths and verges that could otherwise be used for trees, garden beds, and other public amenities.

We’ve requested that the Queensland Electric Vehicle Council include members representing the electric bike and e-scooter industry, not just proponents for electric cars.

You can read our full submission here.

On that topic: how often have we heard “Tradies need a powerful ute for their work; you can’t take tools on a bike”? Well according to this London plumber, an e-bike is the perfect vehicle for his business. It takes a little planning, but overall is more convenient as well as healthier for him and his neighbourhood. Smart tradies choose the right tool for the job – and sometimes that’s a bike!

Everyone’s saying it: e-bikes can help Australians reduce their carbon footprint, improve their health and save money. But cycling infrastructure in Australian cities is lagging behind the growth in popularity of utility cycling.

“Local councils need to respond to the issues highlighted and create more cycle infrastructure to accommodate the cycling and e-bike revolution. In the absence of an improved cycle network, the environment, our health and road congestion will continue to worsen.”

Melbourne-based place strategist Louise Ford, in Australasian Leisure Management magazine

Chermside to Aspley path

On the weekend, we went to check on progress of the North Brisbane Bikeway connection from Webster Rd to Nevin St, Aspley. This is a Brisbane City Council project, with funding from the Queensland Government via their COVID Works for Queensland program. It’s being done in conjunction with TMR projects to install noise barriers along Gympie Rd, and to signalise the left turn lanes at the Webster Rd / Gympie Rd intersection. (These were previously zebra crossings, but didn’t feel particularly safe—too many drivers just didn’t stop.)

There’s still some work to complete, but from our ride-through yesterday, this seems like it will be quite a comfortable ride. Certainly less intimidating than Gympie Road, and it will be nice not to have to ride through the Aspley Hotel carpark! We found the signals at Webster Rd quite responsive.

We understand that the on-road sections (the western end of Ellison Rd, and the Gympie Road service road) will be 40kph. However, since the regular speed platforms have an advisory speed of 20kph, we’re not sure why the limit wasn’t set to 30kph to make it feel more comfortable cycling while deterring rat-running drivers.

For more on this project, see Council’s web site.

North Brisbane Bikeway

It has been over a year now that the North Brisbane Bikeway has been closed between Campbell St and O’Connell Tce, Bowen Hills for construction of the Wren Medical Precinct. The reconstructed path—with improved gradient and lighting—is due to reopen in “mid 2021”. The building looks almost complete, and the outline of the path is now visible, so hopefully there’s not long to go before this reopens.

Just a little further north, water seepage and run-off across the North Brisbane Bikeway under the rail bridge at Windsor had been a problem since it was first constructed, and previous attempts to address the issue hadn’t been terribly successful. We’re happy to note that the latest fix seems to have finally solved the problem, and there’s no longer a slippery coating on the corner.

Sandgate Road tunnel at Nundah

Have you ridden along Sandgate Road through the tunnel at Nundah? It has an interesting history; at first bikes were permitted, but then they were banned for years—shunting riders off through Nundah Village to contend with parked cars, traffic lights, and unpredictable driving manoeuvres.

Thanks to Bicycle Queensland calling for a review a couple of years ago, the tunnel was reopened for cycling earlier this year. With the wide lanes and plastic edge barriers, we think it feels more comfortable cycling than many other places in Brisbane—including through Nundah Village!

Sandgate Road is still a very busy road, and there are conflict points before and after the tunnel so this will not be for everyone, but we think it’s a great improvement.

Veloway updates

What’s missing in these photos of the Veloway diversion at O’Keefe St? The yellow plastic utility pit cover that had been there forever. Happy dance! 💃🕺

One exciting line item in the Queensland Government’s recently announced budget is $1.6 million (over 2 years) for “Veloway 1 (V1) Cycleway, Birdwood Road cycle bridge, design”. It will be great for those heading to/from the southern suburbs to be able to bypass Birdwood Road altogether.

We do hope that Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland) are working closely with Brisbane City Council on this, as the likely construction area (also used during the Veloway Stage E construction) might again interfere with Council’s planned local connection to Joachim St. Although it’s not listed separately in Council’s budget, we understand from listening to Cr Ryan Murphy in the budget information session that the $9 million Active Travel Infrastructure Fund includes $132,000 for the Joachim St shared path connection to the Veloway at Holland Park West.

That project has been listed in the budget previously, but we were told then it was not constructed due to the Veloway works. We’d hate to see that happen again through lack of coordination between levels of government.

Further south, it was good to see the crew putting finishing touches on the lights along the Bulimba Creek Bikeway between the V1 Veloway and Freesia St at MacGregor on Thursday. Apparently Energex were scheduled to be there the next day, so hopefully the lights might be on this now!

We were worried this project would miss the deadline for the Queensland Government’s COVID Works for Queensland program funding, but the contractors have made great progress since they started.

Finally, here are some glimpses of the Veloway extension south from its current termination at Eight Mile Plains – including the ramp up to Underwood Rd. We’re really looking forward to this next section opening, although we don’t know the timing of that.

Old Cleveland Road

In the eastern suburbs, work on the Old Cleveland Road to Gateway Motorway ramp looks like it’s finally nearing completion. It’s hard to imagine that this is really going to “reduce congestion” though, or solve the problem of drivers queuing on the bike lane. Cycling west along Old Cleveland Road, you can only hope someone cutting across the bike lane doesn’t wipe you out. And trying to avoid that by taking the off-ramp is no help either, as the bike lane there just dumps you into the kerb at the underpass anyway.

Wakerley Bikeway

Also in the eastern suburbs, it’s exciting to see the Wakerley Bikeway taking shape along Rickertt Road, together with the Chelsea Rd / Rickertt Rd intersection biggering project.

However we still think it’s a shame this shared path is only being built to the bare minimum width of 2.5m, not even matching the old path east of Chelsea Rd. At the same time, Rickertt Road is being widened from a single lane each way to 6 lanes at the intersection.


Back on the north side, and just across the local government boundary in Clontarf, it’s great to see the progress on the separated cycle and pedestrian paths by Moreton Bay Regional Council. Brisbane North BUG understand that the plan is to have a separate cycle and pedestrian pathway all the way to Woody Point. Fingers crossed we won’t have to put up with the temporary diversion just off the Ted Smout Bridge for much longer!

Cannon Hill Bushland Reserve

At Cannon Hill: it’s distressing to see how much damage has been done to the carefully restored vegetation in the Cannon Hill Bushland Reserve where Council have carried out soil testing for the new Minnippi Bikeway. We don’t believe this is the right approach to building a cycling connection in this location, and we’re disappointed Council don’t seem to be able to find a less destructive route following the existing access track.

Recent land clearing for the nearby golf course will have already displaced wildlife – perhaps moving here, only to have the machines move in again.

There are existing (wide) transport corridors through Cannon Hill. Building a new bikeway connection shouldn’t require damage to carefully restored bushland!

Updates from Walter Taylor Ward

From Brisbane West BUG, an update on recent happenings in Walter Taylor Ward, including:

  • A new kerb ramp installed on The Esplanade at St Lucia, just before the 2nd hill as you head away from the University.
  • River Loop Wayfinding pavement markings – these are much easier to spot and follow than the posted signs.
  • Indooroopilly Riverwalk – ok, it’s not THAT new, but who can resist right?

Other News

Oops, it has happened again… Someone really needs to label that stencil “this side up”.

It was great to see Transport Minister Mark Bailey MP promoting congestion-busting transport this week, posting photos on social media taking his bike on the train to work.

For a 6-month trial period, the restriction on taking bikes on trains during peak hour has been lifted (you just need to travel in either the first or last carriage, and ensure there are no more than 2 bikes per carriage). If you’ve thought about riding to work/study but worried that it’s too far or too difficult, taking the train for part of the journey can make all the difference.