13 Dec 2020

Green Bridges

There was a good crowd on Thursday evening at the South Brisbane Sailing Club for Council’s consultation session about the proposed green bridges from Toowong to West End and West End to St Lucia. We unashamedly support both these walking and cycling bridges – in fact, the more options to make active travel easy and convenient, the better. However we also want to ensure that new bridges have alignments which provide best value, and take into account the reasonable concerns of current residents whilst also setting the city up well for the future.

It was good to have a chance to chat informally with members of the sailing club about the impact the proposed bridges would have on their activities – particularly if the structures have pylons in the river. West End residents also expressed concerns about a bridge alignment that could have people looking directly into their apartments. We totally appreciate such concerns, and would hope they would be addressed through good engineering design.

We also think it’s reasonable to ask: what does a green bridge offer over a cross-river ferry service? Our response: on-demand service (how frequent is the ferry – especially on weekends?); ease of use (can you get a cargo bike or kids trailer on and off the ferry easily?); hours of operation (if the last ferry doesn’t get you home from late-shift or to an early morning start, that’s a problem); and cost (if you’re a low-income worker without a student or seniors discount, the return ferry fee can be a big deal!). Plus of course, there isn’t a ferry terminal between South Bank and Hoogley St, or upstream from there.

A couple of people also commented that the proposed bridge from West End to St Lucia is very close to the existing Eleanor Schonell Bridge. While that’s somewhat true on the St Lucia side, the story is quite different across the river – not only in terms of distance, but also elevation. Plus, the road environment is incredibly hostile for cycling.

We’re in favour of both bridges, and have previously set the reasons for our preferred alignments for the St Lucia to West End bridge on our blog. This week, we also discussed our preferred alignment for bridge from West End to Toowong.

North Brisbane Bikeway

It was quiet on Brisbane’s bikeways on Sunday – for obvious reasons. We took the opportunity for a sneaky ride on some of the new pieces of the North Brisbane Bikeway at Wooloowin. Hopefully there won’t be too many days lost to rain – we’d love to be riding on this by Christmas. It’s looking fabulous.

Someone else who’s looking forward to it is Paul, who spoke with Brisbane North BUG recently. Paul rides to work in Spring Hill from his home in Sandgate because he hates sitting in traffic. But the bonus has been his own health:

“My doctor is amazed at how my vital signs like blood pressure, heart calcium score etc. are much improved since I got back on the bike.”

Paul, Sandgate

Paul is hoping Brisbane City Council move quickly to fix the last missing link in the North Brisbane Bikeway, taking Stage 5 from Wooloowin through to Eagle Junction.

Addressing the real dangers on our roads

A recent webinar organised by the National Road Safety Partnership Program on “Adapting the UK’s Construction Logistics and Community Safety Initiative to Australia” really highlighted how badly Brisbane is lagging behind when it comes to mitigating the risks to community safety posed by large construction projects. Speakers from Sydney Metro and the Amy Gillett Foundation comprehensively dismantled some of the excuses we’ve heard in recent years for why action is all too difficult or too expensive in Brisbane. We’ve summarised the key issues, and provided some commentary in the Brisbane context on our latest blog post. We need Brisbane City Council, Department of Transport and Main Roads, and major construction projects like Cross River Rail to take notice, drop the excuses, and raise the standards here in Brisbane.

On the topic of community safety, this excellent piece by Cycling UK explains how, to be most effective, road safety campaigns should focus on working out what are the greatest dangers and reducing them. That sounds obvious – but it’s actually the opposite to what most road safety awareness campaigns around cycling do.

We all know drink driving is dangerous, but can you imagine a pre-Christmas campaign which said, ‘Beware of the drink driver this Christmas – if you have to drive, wrap Christmas lights round your car so a drunk can see you better’.

Jim Densham, Cycling UK

Safer speeds

Lena grew up in Germany, which is a car-loving nation where the car industry is influential, but she felt much safer there when she walked or cycled. Unlike in Australia, “Car drivers did not feel that they “owned” neighbourhood streets. They were watching out for kids and people riding bikes.”

She makes the case that a clearer hierarchy of streets will be better for everyone – not least drivers. It will make it clear where drivers should go slowly and share the street and where they should go fast to not hold up the traffic.

We have consistently called for 30kph neighbourhood streets, and protected space for cycling on main roads. Lena, who founded the 30 Please campaign, provides an excellent explanation of why this is better for everyone.

Cross River Rail changes at Dutton Park

The latest change request for the Cross River Rail project is proposing to add a new right turn lane from Annerley Road into Peter Doherty Street to provide better access for trucks entering the Boggo Road construction site. While there are several proposed plans, the one that appears to be leading involves replacing the on-road bike lanes on Annerley Road between Peter Doherty Street and Gladstone Road with a shared path on the inbound side. This would require outbound riders to cross the road at Peter Doherty Street, and then presumably make multiple crossings again at Gladstone Road to continue their journey along Annerley Road or to connect to the Eleanor Schonell Bridge.

Along with the inconvenience of so many crossings, we’re concerned that a shared path in this location will be inadequate given the volume of riders on this popular bike route, especially considering the increased pedestrian traffic from the brand new Brisbane South State Secondary College which is due to open next year. This is technically a temporary change for the duration of the project, but may continue for several years. We went along to community information sessions this week to raise these concerns with the CRR team.

Around the Suburbs

We haven’t given an update on the Indooroopilly Riverwalk for a while, so here are some photos from a nearby resident. How good does this look?!

There has also been good progress before the rain on the SE Freeway Bikeway (shared path) at Annerley. The team are working hard to get this completed before Christmas – subject to rain interruptions. Meanwhile, the cross-country course was fun in the dry weather, but might have become a little more challenging over the last few days.

EaST BUG recently received notice from Brisbane City Council that the works to upgrade Manly Rd, between New Cleveland Rd and Wondall Rd in Tingalpa will now be done in 2 stages. The first stage – including an on-road bike lane and 330m of new shared path on the southern side, west of the sports park has been completed and looks good. Work on the remaining 170m section to New Cleveland Rd will start again in early 2021.

Of course what we really want is the section between New Cleveland Rd and Belmont Rd on both sides – it’s currently terrible!

Over in the western suburbs, Brisbane West BUG were pleased to see that $600,000 has been allocated in the State Budget for “Moggill Road cycle planning from the Rafting Ground Reserve to Centenary Highway,” which is roughly the scope of the Moggill Road Planning Study in which West BUG participated in 2018. That study looked at short, medium and long term options State and Council could develop to make cycling more accessible, in light of fatalities in 2011 and 2017.

We’re keen to find out how local cyclists can participate and ensure we get a good outcome from the planning study. As Dr Christian Rowan MP, Member for Moggill said in his budget reply speech, it’s light on detail at the moment. We’re looking forward to a briefing about how the findings of the 2018 study are being used in this next stage and its scope of work. We hope this term of government will see infrastructure underway to help Kenmore and Brookfield residents ride more often, and ride safely.

Car Parking

Brisbane’s bid for the 2032 Olympics is set to get a boost with this announcement, as reported by The Shovel, that Reverse Parallel Parking is being added as an Olympic sport. Brisbane has thousands of kilometres of pristine public space reserved for parking all year round – some with amazing riverfront views. International competitors will surely relish the opportunity to park in a bike lane, knock over a newly planted street tree, squash a possum, open their door into the path of a cyclist, and still have a whinge that they couldn’t get the spot right in front of their house. There will be a special elite category for occupying public space with boats, trailers, skip-bins, and bathtubs.

On a more serious note about parking, this article in The Urban Developer points out that cities which are rushing to provide free car parking to stimulate business in their CBDs are acting against the evidence according to university researchers. Encouraging cars back into the hearts of cities isn’t just a bad recovery strategy. It could be a huge missed opportunity to create more attractive, high-amenity cities.

CBDs previously didn’t need to be pleasant to be full of people – many were forced to be there. That has changed, and so the city must change too—from a destination of default to a destination of choice.

Meanwhile, in the suburbs, EaST BUG note that these carparking spaces at Murarrie Station cost approximately $65,000 each to build, but we were unable to get a bike rack on this side of the tracks – or a secure bike parking enclosure here at all.