This week saw the last Council meeting of this 4-year term, and we were there as usual as observers. It was quite disappointing to hear Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner deride Labor and the Greens for policies calling for more protected bikeways—including a grid of protected bikeways in the CBD—as anti-car and anti-motorist. He seems not to realise that every single city which has reduced the number of private motor vehicles in their CBD (in some cases to zero) has improved conditions for everyone: residents, tourists, people walking, cycling, running businesses, and even those who need to drive!
Council’s formal response to the petition from East BUG Inc. for a protected bikeway connecting the inner eastern suburbs was a little lame:
“Council recognises the community interest and value of providing bicycle infrastructure along Stanley Street East, however there is currently no funding available for its construction. As such, your request has been noted for inclusion in a future capital works budget. Construction of this infrastructure will be assessed and prioritised against other proposed bikeway/pathway projects and competing citywide priorities. Any future project would consider impacts on general traffic and on-street parking and loading zones, with the inclusion of a two-way separated bikeway likely to require removal of a traffic lane or parking in several locations.”
However it was heartening to hear Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba and Councillor Fiona Cunningham (Coorparoo Ward) speak up very strongly in favour of the proposal in Council’s last meeting.
Riding the completed sections of the North Brisbane Bikeway is a reminder how safe and comfortable good separated cycling infrastructure can be. What a contrast to jostling with buses, parked cars and weaving traffic inbound on Stanley St, or trying to pick a way home by heading south and then north again on dark, disconnected and flooded paths along Norman Creek, or risking the racing traffic and left hooks on Vulture St. We hope that the incoming Council will indeed suitably prioritise the missing connection from Brisbane’s eastern suburbs
North Brisbane Bikeway
Speaking of the North Brisbane Bikeway; thanks to everyone (including Labor’s Enoggera Ward candidate Jonty Bush) who dropped in to the community information sessions on Stage 4. There was a good turn-out despite the weather. It’s important to provide as much positive feedback as possible to help ensure TMR can get this stage underway by mid-2020, rolling on from stages 2 and 3.
Separated cycleways like this are transformative, allowing people to travel by bike without having to mix with motor vehicles on the road, but also out of the way of pedestrians so everyone can be safe and comfortable.
Stage 4 will provide a protected 2-way cycleway, 3m wide (although down to 2.8m at a couple of points where room is tight) along the western side of Dickson St, Wooloowin from Rigby St to Price St. The bikeway (and footpath) will have priority crossings over the side streets at Rigby, Inwood, McIntyre and Ashbolt Streets, while Wride St will be closed at Dickson St and made into a cul-de-sac, preventing rat-running traffic. That will provide a huge safety improvement, preventing a lot of close passes and left-hooks that currently happen all too frequently at that spot.
We’ve suggested that Price St should also have a priority crossing, to help people transition safely to/from the on-road lanes on Dickson St further north.
Although Brisbane City Council decided to scrap Stage 5 in favour of a diversion to the west at Chalk St to pick up a different catchment, there will still be large numbers of riders who want to continue north to Eagle Junction and Toombul, and connect through to the Kedron Brook Bikeway, Nundah Criterium Track, Brisbane Airport precinct, Jim Soorley Bikeway, and Gateway North Bikeway. We’re therefore very happy that TMR are proceeding with their plans to extend the North Brisbane Bikeway through to Price St, Wooloowin.
Unfortunately though, we have confirmed (thanks to an observant rider from Brisbane North BUG) that the configuration of the Chalk St intersection, being built now as part of Stage 2/3, has been changed from the detailed design and what we were told at the last consultation round. It seems the slip lanes for drivers turning left into and out of Chalk St will be retained rather than replaced with fully signalised turning lanes. That’s extremely disappointing, as it’s likely to add many minutes of additional delays to the cycling trip, similar to the situation along the Woolloongabba Bikeway where the signal timings make the outbound trip (in particular) absurdly dysfunctional.
Around the Suburbs
It’s great that more people are engaging in the conversation about combining cycling and public transport. It’s much cheaper and easier to provide bike parking than car parking, and it doesn’t clog up the surrounding streets with cars. Of course people also need safe routes so that they can ride to the station, and secure parking options so they can be confident their bike will still be there when they need it to cycle home. It’s nice if it hasn’t sat in the sun or the rain all day too! Thanks to Councillor Steven Huang (Macgregor Ward) for getting the conversation going on his Facebook page.
Many residents who live near public transport stations want more Park and Ride facilities because they are tired of their street being parked-out by commuters. The trouble is that if on-street parking is not removed when new parking is installed, it doesn’t work; people still choose the convenience and easy access of parking on the street. That was certainly the case at Murarrie during the week. We’re asking: when can we start to see some more cost-effective investment in making it easier and more attractive for people to walk or ride a bike to their nearest station, ahead of encouraging more people to drive?
Belinda dropped in to the Holland Park Ward office during Councillor Krista Adams‘ open office last weekend to highlight the importance of upgrading Birdwood Road under the motorway to cater for the increasing number of cyclists who will be crossing there once stage E of the Veloway is opened later this year. The current crossing point has been designed for people walking to the bus stop, and doesn’t work well for people on bikes.
In response to our earlier letter, a council officer has followed up to say they will be trimming back the vegetation to ensure the lower footpath is clear for pedestrians, which is good news. (Although they did also say that lower the footpath is complete from the pedestrian crossing … which isn’t quite correct.)
The state of our paths
The poor condition of Brisbane’s footpaths has been in the news this week, with Labor Lord Mayoral candidate, Patrick Condren being very critical of the number of repair jobs outstanding. LNP councillors are busy on social media asking people to report broken footpaths and potholes so they can quickly be repaired. But the issue goes deeper than this; EaST BUG have been complaining about the shocking condition on Lytton Rd, Morningside for years. This is supposedly a principal cycle route:
Some of the comments on Facebook include:
This road is so unsafe. It takes my children approximately 10 minutes safely cross the road adjacent to Balmoral High School. Safer pedestrian and bike access is definitely needed asap.
I commute to the very end of Thynne Rd from Tingalpa and that is the worst part of my ride in both directions, won’t miss it when I start my new job in a couple of weeks.
Morningside Ward Councillor, Kara Cook posted pictures of the road surface outside 246 Lytton Rd, reminding the Council administration that this whole road needs urgent review and repairs, as it’s very dangerous for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians! That must have touched a nerve, because Council sent out a crew the next morning to patch it…. and sweep the gravel into a pile at the end of the bike lane.
Just down the road at Colmslie Recreation Reserve, the trailer parking is dry, and has plenty of capacity. Too bad if you want to walk or cycle to the pool, sports facilities, or dog park though – there’s no money left over for a footpath. #priorities
In slightly better news from the eastern suburbs, there has been smooth new bitumen laid on the Bulimba Creek Bikeway along Stanton Rd West, where EaST BUG posted last month that it was badly cracked. Thanks Cr Lisa Atwood (Doboy Ward) for getting those much-needed repairs on the agenda.
Unfortunately we’ve been informed that the cracked concrete sections further south through Minnippi Parklands will need to wait for funding through Council’s capital works program – which probably means not until next financial year.
Across town, on Saturday morning, Brisbane West BUG reported large cracks forming and path slipping on Centenary Bikeway just south of the Centenary Bridge. They advised the Department of Transport and Main Roads, and a crew was sent out urgently to inspect it. West BUG provided these updates:
- UPDATE 5:00PM SATURDAY: TMR is still on site. They are going to temporarily fill cracks and reinforce the path where it is slipping. The bank has subsided, so will need a larger fix.
- UPDATE 8am SUNDAY: Cracks have been covered with concrete and barricaded off. Further analysis by engineers of the erosion under the path will be undertaken on Monday.
West BUG also advise that the bikeway between Kiln Street and Valance Street, Oxley/Darra is temporarily closed while the construction next door is completed. The closure permit is until early March. The detour is to stay on Kiln Street to Dowding Street. (Note that the footpath in Kiln Street is narrow, has no kerb ramps before Dowding Street and at the moment has a lot of debris from the rain. We’d recommend using the road, but beware of heavy vehicles in this industrial estate.) Others have observed that this path was closed before Christmas, and at various times in January – including the Australia Day long weekend. The closure permit seems relatively new…
Last October, West BUG noticed the fence on the outside of Metal Recycling Industries in Darra had an ominous lean over the Darra Station Bikeway. They mentioned it to council who followed up with the business who have now put in a new concrete wall. That looks much more stable!
Finally, a shout out to BMD who are responsible for the Sumners Road Interchange project, and who have made some significant improvements to the bikeway path through the construction site on weekends. The path now runs on the outside of the construction zone, away from the road and slip lane. It’s still a bit bumpy, so take it slow, but it’s a big improvement on a few weeks ago!
Caught on Film
As we know, build it and they will come. Despite the terrible signal timings, people are taking to the Woolloongabba Bikeway on bikes and scooters of all shapes and sizes! Perhaps the path on your usual commute was a little flooded this week? This rider might have the perfect bike for keeping your feet dry!
And don’t forget, we gather for a slow roll around the CBD every Tuesday, meeting at 6:30pm in King George Square (in front of City Hall). Our route changes each week, but finishes up at The Milk Factory in South Brisbane.
In Other News
StreetsBlog USA posted this week about one of the most frustrating arguments that cycling advocates hear every day: “Because you can’t [insert thing that’s hard, but not impossible to do on a bike in your city here] on two wheels, there’s no point in investing in making biking easier at all! Case closed!” They took a look at all the things you absolutely can do on a bike. We added a few of our own:
#ThingsYouCantDoOnABike Ride to the airport. When we raise the issue of bike parking at the airport, people say “you can’t ride to the airport with all your luggage”, which ignores the fact that a huge number of passengers flying domestically are only taking cabin baggage. Taking hand luggage on the bike is not an issue. (A safe route to Brisbane Airport, and finding the bike parking at the domestic terminal, when you get there is a different story).
Speaking of the reaction that is often triggered by talk of cycleways, you’ve probably met these people 🙂
In fact, we speculated* that it was a question about protected bikeways in the Brisbane CBD that triggered this reaction from Federal MP Bob Katter.
*That’s a joke folks. But Bob’s rant “don’t you keep taking us on flights of fancy… Your city lilly-pad lefty mindset…” immediately brought to mind the Lord Mayor’s diatribe in Council about those people on bikes with their “little wicker baskets”, and his latest (on Tuesday this week) version of it all being some lefty anti-motorist conspiracy. Like the “Hitler Rants” parodies, we think this one from Bob Katter could become a classic meme.