14 March 2021

North Brisbane Bikeway

At Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee meeting this week, the presentation included plans for the North Brisbane Bikeway extension beyond Price St, Wooloowin.

We’re very happy that the “all the way to EJ” route via Eagle Junction has been chosen from the 3 options considered for joining the North Brisbane Bikeway and Kedron Brook Bikeway. This is something Space4cyclingBNE, Brisbane North BUG and Airport BUG have lobbied for strongly, and it’s a positive sign that the new Active Transport Advisory Committee is listening to views of the cycling community. As Cr Ryan Murphy noted in the meeting, we’d of course like multiple options for bike routes (just as there are many alternative ways for people to drive), but when forced to pick the highest priority, connecting from Dickson St via Eagle Junction and Jackson St to Kedron Brook is the best option.

We understand that work on the concept design is currently underway, with community consultation expected in mid-2021. It will be a mix of separated cycleways, and on-road cycling on quiet streets. The nominal route presented in the meeting showed the bikeway continuing along Dickson Street to Junction Road, then down Keith St, Sydney Street, and Jackson Street to join the Kedron Brook Bikeway.

It was great to hear that the bikeway is progressing, although funding for construction has not yet been secured and it is hoped the State Government will contribute.

Chermside to Aspley

Also discussed at Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee meeting: the next section of the North Brisbane Bikeway between Chermside and Aspley. This section, from Webster Rd to Nevin St, will mainly use the Gympie Road service road, where the speed limit will be reduced to 40kph and additional traffic calming features will be added. That’s good, but we note that all available evidence and worldwide best practice identifies 30kph as a safer and more appropriate speed to enable cycling for people of all ages and abilities. Driving on the service road should only be for local access, so requiring drivers to stay below 30kph for a very short distance at the start or end of their journey should not cause any real inconvenience.

We also note that the plan will involve a significant reduction in the space along the service road available for car-parking, but since this space is currently very sparsely utilised, that should not be any imposition.

The Chermside to Aspley bikeway has been discussed for around 4 years now, so it’s good to see action about to commence on this next stage thanks to funding made available by the Queensland Government through their COVID recovery Works for Queensland Program. That funding agreement requires that the work be completed and acquitted by the end of June, so we look forward to good progress on this project.

For more information, see Council’s project web page. See also our overview of the corridor, from December 2017.

Boggo Road precinct

In other Council news, the City Planning and Economic Development Committee was provided with an update on the development application for 21 Boggo Road, Dutton Park, which Council approved last Friday.

Since we’ve written about this proposal a number of times, we should acknowledge the substantial improvements in the final version of the plans:

1) The public thoroughfare easement plan now requires a separated bikeway along the eastern edge of the site (next to the Eco Sciences precinct), with a minimum width of 3.0m.

2) It also now includes a minimum 3.0m unobstructed walkway along the front of the commercial tenancies, which does not include the area for footpath dining and advertising signage. This walkway looks like it will be under the cover of the veranda/awnings.

Recall that the original plan had only a 3.5 shared path through the site, including footpath dining, so this is a substantial improvement for active transport.

3) The new design seeks to retain a row of established trees along the existing path between the Eco Sciences precinct and the historic Boggo Road Gaol.

4) The ground-level carpark will now be one-way (entrance from Boggo Rd, exit onto Peter Doherty St) rather than 2-way, which should significantly reduce its use as a cut-through.

5) The number of below-ground carparking spaces has been increased from 42 to 60 in the final approved plan, while the number of ground-level spaces has reduced from 113 to 89. The total number of car parking spaces has decreased from 158 to 149.

While we would still prefer this development didn’t convert such a big chunk of the site to a carpark, we appreciate that Brisbane’s planning rules and community are still very much fixated on carparking. Hopefully one day in the not-too-distant future the tide will turn and this car parking space can be reverted back to a public plaza!

In the meantime, we acknowledge the work of Brisbane City Council in pushing for better outcomes based on the feedback we and others have provided in public comments and submissions. We also commend the developer, Stockwell Property Group, on rising to the challenge and coming back with a vastly improved plan. They have distinguished themselves from a number of other major developers in this regard. (Looking at you if your development name includes the word Wharf, Wharves, or Pier…)

CityCycle decommissioning

As Brisbane’s public bike hire scheme, CityCycle, is shut down, stations like #148 on Sandford St, St Lucia are being progressively decommissioned. The problem for people who rely on CityCycle to get to work or to get about is: the new e-bikes meant to replace City Cycle aren’t anywhere to be seen. We fear this will be a backward step for active transport in Brisbane as it will force people who rely on City Cycle to find another means of transport, and they may not return to active transport when the new scheme becomes available.

We would like to see the closure of CityCycle paused until the new bike share scheme is available to take its place so people can keep up their healthy habits.

Kenmore Roundabout

This week the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) released a concept design to replace the roundabout at Moggill Road and Brookfield Road, Kenmore with a traffic light controlled intersection. They are seeking community feedback to inform a business case.

Moggill Road is a critical route on the Principal Cycle Network Plan, and the current road layout has no provision for cyclists at all. The new design shows on road bike lanes, but these are unprotected, painted lanes only alongside and through bus stops, past driveways and street parking and, at the intersection itself, sandwiched between three lanes of motor traffic unprotected.

Pedestrians should also be prepared to take a packed lunch as they negotiate three or four stage crossings to get from Kenmore State School to the shopping centre.

Interestingly, TMR is also working on a business case for the Moggill Road Cycleway from Rafting Ground Reserve to the Centenary Highway, which presumably interacts with this roundabout project. We think it’s crucial to treat both projects and business cases together.

A stream of interested residents attended the first Kenmore Roundabout Replacement consultation session at Kenmore Village on Saturday.

Chris from Brisbane West BUG noted TMR’s Cycling Infrastructure Policy and design guides for cycling facilities require high quality, explicit provision for cycling. The current design doesn’t achieve that.

Chris also expressed concern about the waiting time for pedestrians navigating a 4 stage crossing. Long waits deter walking and encourage risky behaviour.

Make sure you head along to one of the upcoming sessions to remind them that active transport is a priority, not an afterthought:

  • Saturday 20 March, 7:30–10am: Brookfield Markets
  • Thursday 25 March, 4–7pm: Kenmore Village Shopping Centre
  • Saturday 27 March, 9am–12pm: Bellbowrie Swimming Pool (carpark)
  • Tuesday 30 March, 10:30am–1:30pm: Kenmore Village Shopping Centre

You can view the plans and complete an online survey on the project website.

Granard Road connection, Rocklea

It’s good to see work on the Granard Rd Cycleway progressing at Rocklea. This is a much needed connection to the Ipswich Motorway Cycleway.

And speaking of the Ipswich Motorway Cycleway, we’re a bit frustrated that the underpass at Oxley Creek is still closed – it has now been more than 3 years. But we understand that the service road is set to be finished by the end of March and handed back to Council, so hopefully the underpass will be open by then.

On the bright side, Oxley Creek in the vicinity of the underpass is looking much healthier.

Around Australia

Nice work Toowoomba! Check out the new James St underpass, which is making cycling trips to work, school and day-care safer, quicker, and easier.

This looks like the type of solution that could work well for the Norman Creek Bikeway under Logan Rd at Stones Corner, and for a number of other key locations around Brisbane.

Plus, look at this! Someone in Sydney has figured out that the way to encourage active transport is to make it convenient and easy. That means crossing an intersection shouldn’t require waiting multiple signal phases while people in cars are prioritised.

Thanks to Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore for the image. Could you please have a quiet word to Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner about the Gabba Bikeway intersections at Stanley St and Annerley Rd, and at Stanley St/Vulture St/Little Dock St? Plus more recently the intersection of Edward and Margaret Streets in the CBD (although fortunately that is a temporary plan).

International News

Europe doubles down on cycling in post-Covid recovery plans:

“When the coronavirus pandemic led to lockdowns a year ago, hundreds of cities reconfigured their streets to make walking and cycling easier to aid social distancing and reduce air pollution. Now, with an end to the lockdowns in sight, the measures have proved so successful that cities across Europe are betting on the bicycle to lead the recovery.”

Laura Laker, The Guardian

Here in Brisbane, our experience with the pandemic has been quite different (for which we are very grateful), but we still feel Brisbane missed an opportunity to rapidly transform and “build back better”. People have returned to their cars because they feel they have to, not because many of them wouldn’t prefer to take active transport instead—if only it was safe and convenient.

Off-Road Cycling Strategy

Back in Brisbane, BORRA (Brisbane Off Road Riders Alliance) have launched a petition to counter some of the misinformation shared about the Brisbane City Council Draft Off Road Cycling Strategy.

Consultation on the strategy is closed, but if you support sensible, planned trail provision to reduce the prevalence of damaging, unauthorised tracks or if you support more mountain bike opportunities other than just Mt Coot-tha, please consider signing.