12 July 2020

Ride to remember Carolyn Lister

This week was quite emotional, as we organised a ride to remember Carolyn Lister.

Ride 4 Carolyn 2020-54

Thank you to everyone who came along on Saturday.  Carolyn’s husband John was touched that the cycling community would honour Carolyn in this way. It was lovely of him to invite us all into his home to see the happy holiday photos on the wall of him and Carolyn on their cycle tours.

The slow ride from Wooloowin to Bowen Park didn’t take long at all because our police escort got us through the intersections without stopping. Once we were on the North Brisbane Bikeway, it was a very smooth journey. Let’s make more of Brisbane feel like that!

Bowen Park was a beautiful place to finish the ride and to pause for a minute of silence as we remembered Carolyn. Thank you to Transport Minister, Mark Bailey MP for joining us as a fellow rider.


We named the event: ‘Friends along the Way – Ride for Caroline’, because Carolyn always made friends along the way on her rides. Also because in our advocacy journey to make our streets and cites safe for cycling we will need friends along the way. Thank you to all our friends for your support on Saturday, in the past, and moving forward.

Active Transport Advisory Committee

Earlier in the week, we were pleased to participate in the inaugural meeting as members of the Active Transport Advisory Committee. While the first meeting was mostly about setting the scene, introductions and background on how Brisbane City Council and Department of Transport and Main Roads plan and prioritise their projects, it’s great to see a genuine commitment from both levels of government to work cooperatively and collaboratively together.

Council’s Public and Active Transport Chair Cr Ryan Murphy and Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey MP are to be congratulated for taking this initiative, and for facilitating a broad and open discussion.

It’s testament to our ongoing work and that of our BUGs that Council and State Government alike are determined to draw on our wealth of local knowledge and shared experience to help inform the program of work to more completely deliver a genuine cycling and walking network across Brisbane. It’s an acknowledgement that the network can’t be delivered with isolated bikeway projects alone, but a holistic view of the entire road network, and by getting serious about including active transport upgrades in every infrastructure project from concept to completion.

“Save our rat-runs”

But this was odd: the following day, South Brisbane MP Jackie Trad and Transport Minister Mark Bailey MP appeared in a video on Facebook, promoting the “Velobridge” ramp at South Brisbane and a petition to “save the Ellis St short cut”. We’re not aware of any actual plans to close Ellis St, although it is something we (and others, including the local councillor Jonathan Sri) have suggested should be considered as a way to reduce rat-running and encourage people to walk, cycle, and use public transport instead.

Announcement of the “Velobridge” ramp back in January came as a surprise to us. We have since provided feedback: we agree with the need for improvements for cycling and walking in this area, but would like to have seen other options considered before this very expensive and high-impact infrastructure was announced. Potential alternatives we have suggested include: reducing the gradient of the current Veloway ramp by cutting in at the top; providing a priority crossing and introducing traffic calming on Lower River Tce; closing or partially closing Ellis St to free up space to create a safer path; and providing a better connection between the Veloway and the Gabba Bikeway at Stanley St. Where is the feasibility study of the alternatives ahead of this latest commitment to the Velobridge??

Our own informal consultation with the cycling community reveals there is strong support for improvements to the Veloway – it’s a massively popular cycling route, and people are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of investing in active transport. But the crossings at O’Keefe St and Carl St are the issue most people would like to see addressed as top priority on the Veloway route. And of course people are concerned that other areas of Brisbane have no good cycling connections at all.

The video was circulated the day after the first meeting of the Active Transport Advisory Committee, with all the accompanying talk about collaboration between State Government and Council and listening to the experience and concerns of advocacy groups. Manufacturing disagreement between local representatives, and promoting the idea that “cyclists” are “taking” from the community by closing their “short-cut” seems incredibly unhelpful. Elsewhere in Brisbane, residents are fed up with traffic rat-running down their local streets!

Oh, and here’s an idea to improve safety at Lower River Tce: take a look at this video from Melbourne showing a crossing which requests drivers to give way to people walking and cycling on the shared path. Seems to work!

While Brisbane still seems to be in the early planning stages for “pop-up” cycleways, Sydney is already rolling. Check out these images from SydneyCycleways on Facebook:

Around the Suburbs

From the south: it’s good to see form-work in place ready to concrete the underpass beneath the Ipswich Motorway at Oxley Creek. The old underpass was closed in January 2018 while new motorway bridges were constructed. The new underpass is scheduled to open at the finish of the project in late 2020. We’re looking forward to it! This area was never very easy to navigate by bike, but has been extra challenging during the construction work.

The final result will be great, with a separated cycleway connecting from Granard Rd through to Oxley Creek, and then a shared path from there to (almost) Oxley Rd. At the western end of the project, we hope Council and the state government can come to a sensible arrangement to deliver the short missing connection from the new path through to Bannerman St, Oxley.

SalisburyBikewayReconstructionAlso in the southern suburbs, this time in Councillor Steve GriffithsMoorooka Ward, reconstruction of the Salisbury Bikeway along Riawena Rd between Regis St and Orange Grove Rd appears to be going well. It’s due to reopen at the start of August.

A little further west, the bikeway along Stable Swamp Creek through Kookaburra Park, Rocklea has recently been upgraded, but the western end from Leeds St to Pegg Rd is still in need of some attention – with some cracks wide enough to catch a wheel, and lifted sections of concrete.

Finally this week, EaST BUG were happy to report that finally the banana bars either side of the Norman Creek Bikeway crossing at Main Ave Coorparoo/Stones Corner have been removed!! (This was top of a list of “little things” BUGs were asked to submit to Council for quick action 4 years ago! The other issues EaST BUG submitted remain outstanding 😕) The position of the banana bars on a corner of the path and very close to the road created a dangerous pinch-point, as they made it difficult for people to cross the busy road with a bike and get clear of the roadway ahead of fast moving traffic – especially if there were pedestrians or cyclists are also trying to cross from the opposite direction. Good riddance bananas!

Around the World

From Hawaii, here’s a good summary of how building more road lanes doesn’t “bust congestion” at all; it actually creates a liability. Instead, we need to prioritise moving people, not vehicles, and invest dramatically in the increased capacity and funding of active modes. This means not just a project here and there, but building the technical support and funding to match our desired community goals around active transportation.

Also, in the New York Times this week, a long but excellent read about how reducing an urban area’s reliance on cars can lead to a better life.

“Rather than stumble back into car dependency, cities can begin to undo their worst mistake: giving up so much of their land to the automobile.”

Meanwhile, Paris. Wow.

As Brent Toderian says on Twitter:

The most important thing about this amazing Paris transformation is how fast it has all happened — how fast the people on bikes “appeared” — once streets have been transformed. You can’t write this off as “Paris was always this way,” because it wasn’t. It look leadership.

Finally, this is definitely worth a catch-up listen if you missed it on ABC Radio National on the weekend: a 30 minute Rear Vision episode outlines the history of the humble bicycle in Australia, the US, and Europe – including cycling booms of the past, and some of the surprising reasons those continued in some places but bikes fell out of favour in others.