15 Aug 2021

Climate Crisis

This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change delivered a report that dispels any notion that the effects of the climate crisis are abstract or distant. The science is unequivocal; human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land to an unprecedented degree, with effects almost certain to worsen through the coming decades. This is the challenge of our times. We must act decisively, and we must act now.

But you’d hardly know that by listening to the bickering that passes for debate in the Brisbane City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Tackling the climate crisis is a whole systems challenge; it will require a systemic approach. Many of the policy levers lie with the state and federal government. But city councils also have a big part to play.

This week, Brisbane City Council’s Environment, Parks and Sustainability Committee heard a presentation on their solar program. This is a good initiative, and we applaud efforts to reduce emissions from Council’s operations and invest in renewable energy. But even so, claims of “fully carbon neutral operations” are only achieved through the charade of purchasing “offsets”.

But Council has the capacity and responsibility not just to control their own operations, but to shape the climate impact of the whole city, as well as our ability to adapt to the increasing effects of human-wrought changes: increasingly likely and severe heat waves, drought, storms, and flooding.

Currently, our city planning defaults to prioritising private motor vehicle use for the majority of trips; even very short ones. This negatively impacts the safety and comfort of everyone who might chose an alternative means of transport. We dedicate huge hot and expensive paved areas to pander to traffic peaks that happen for a short period five days a week. We insist that space which could better be used as parks or green space or housing or community facilities must instead be reserved for the convenience of storing cars when they’re not even in use!

Instead of patting themselves on the head about who is on the “Olympic Committee”, we are calling on our city’s civic leaders to change course, take bold leadership, and help leave a legacy of a liveable planet.

A vision for New Farm Park

New Farm Park was car free last week because of the lockdown. It was great to see children on their bikes and scooters enjoying riding on the ring road inside the park. Picnicking was not allowed under the health directives, but exercise was, and local people were out using the ring road to walk, jog, skate, scoot and cycle.

We are amongst the people advocating for a permanently car free New Farm Park as we believe the park should be a place for people, free from the dangers of moving motor vehicles and the clutter of parked ones. If you didn’t get a chance to ride there, check out our photos to see what a future car free New farm Park could look like. And compare that to “business as usual” when those people are pushed aside to make way for cars.

Farewell CityCycle

Friday was a sad day: CityCycle shut down for good, and power was switched off to the last stations on Sunday.

CityCycle was often maligned, and a bike share scheme was probably ahead of its time for a city like Brisbane that, in 2010 when it was introduced, really didn’t treat cycling as a legitimate form of transport.

It wasn’t easy to subscribe to, wasn’t easy to hire, there was very little infrastructure in the city to ride them on safely and – elephant in the room – our mandatory helmet laws, given helmets weren’t always available.

It had a surge of use after 2016 when then Public and Active Transport chair and now Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner proactively worked to improve its use – simpler subscriptions, links to GoCard, ability to tap and go by credit card at the stations, more helmet availability etc.

However, a couple of years later along came Lime e-scooters, and despite being far more expensive, their dockless and powered nature made them dwarf CityCycle in popularity.

Council last year decided to discontinue CityCycle, and introduce shared e-bikes along with e-scooters, which Beam and Neuron have rolled out.

So we say good bye, dear CityCycle. We shall miss you.

In with the new: check out Chris’ video review of the new e-bikes:

Magpie alert

It’s that time of year; magpie swooping season has started. Apparently only a very small number of magpies are aggressive, but that doesn’t help much when one of those birds decides you are a threat to his nest.

Our usual advice applies:

  • Wear a helmet and sunglasses (wrap-around are best)
  • Don’t panic; keep control of your bike. The first fright is probably the worst, but some magpies are quite persistent. A bird is unlikely to cause significant injury, but falling off your bike can!
  • Log your experience to www.magpiealert.com to warn others.

You might also consider:

  • Adding a hat or brim, and something to cover your ears for extra protection – especially if you’re heading out somewhere like the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.
  • Cable ties, reflective tape, fake eyes, mirrors, wigs. Go wild. It possibly won’t make any difference (even if your mate swears by it), but don’t let that stop you enjoying silly hat season.

Glow in the dark paths

If you live in or near Rochedale, and have experienced the experimental glow in the dark path between Gardener Rd and Obrist Place, we have someone who’d like to ask you a few questions – ideally by phone or video call, or alternatively via email.

Thomas is a Lighting Design M.Sc candidate at Aalborg University in Copenhagen, and his thesis work is on the viability of photoluminescent (glow-in-the-dark) asphalt aggregates for use in pedestrian and cycling pathways.

We understand that Brisbane City Council didn’t proceed with further trial sites, because the experience in Rochedale wasn’t quite what the nearby residents had hoped for. But if you rode (or walked) this way at night, Thomas would be really keen to hear about your experience. Send us an email and we can put you in touch.

Cycling to work at Brisbane Airport

Airport BUG has been campaigning for safe bicycle and pedestrian access to workplaces at the Brisbane Airport Domestic Terminal since 2008. The campaign has included submissions to the 2014 and 2020 Airport Masterplans, and to the Productivity Commission’s Report into the Economic Regulation of Airports. The BUG performed an audit of the bicycle route between Lomandra Drive and the Domestic Terminal in 2015 and presented a report to the Brisbane Airport Community Aviation Group recommending that a pathway be built along Hibiscus Street, which runs parallel to Brisbane’s Airtrain line and has sufficient width for a pathway in the easement. The issue has been raised with Brisbane Airport Corporation representatives over several years, and also with federal politicians.

It should not be this hard to get basic active transport infrastructure to give people the option to ride (or walk) to work!

Feeling the squeeze at Kangaroo Point

These bollards recently installed at either end of Dockside Walk, Kangaroo Point are 80 – 85cm apart. We’re sure that fails accessibility standards, as well as being dangerous for anyone on a bike or scooter who turns the corner off the Riverside Promenade and suddenly comes across them.

Alan wrote to us: “Whilst out riding with my dad this morning near Dockside, we noticed two new sets of bollards that are too narrow to comfortably cycle through. Dad is 91 and narrow spaces are difficult.”

We suspect Dockside Walk might be an easement across privately owned land, but we don’t think it’s acceptable to block access to the riverside path and to the ferry terminal (assuming Council do plan to re-open it as they claim).

New bikeway at Cannon Hill

There’s better news from the eastern suburbs: a new shared path is under construction on the boundary of Cannon Hill and Carina, as part of the Minnippi golf course development. Following Windrush St and Moorabbin Dr, this will join the bikeway from Harris Cl (in the Minnippi development) to Billan St, so you won’t need to ride across the dirt at the edge of the playground any more. Nice.

Manly Rd, Wakerley

Also on the east side, the upgrade to Manly Rd, Wakerley (inbound, just before New Cleveland Rd) is due to be finished this month. This has been a major project, but it’s looking good. It includes a 2.5m shared path—which goes behind the relocated bus stop—and an on-road bike lane.


From the north side; this is how to cater for active transport in a new (infill) development!

There are still a few missing links in the bikeways around Carseldine, but this section along Plaza Place forms part of the Cabbage Tree Creek Bikeway, as well as an excellent local connection. We’re delighted to report that the path has raised priority crossings for both of the road intersections. Thanks to Economic Development Queensland for this.