This week started with a grouch, as we reported on Council’s recent disappointing response to Brisbane CBD BUG’s petition to complete the missing sections of Riverwalk between Mowbray Park and Cairns St, Kangaroo Point. They have correctly identified that there are are only two short missing pieces, of around 320m in total. That’s much less than sections about to be built across the river at Eagle St, and at Indooroopilly. Council has also spent $100,000 investigating a riverwalk from Toowong to St Lucia. But on the south side of the river, they have moved the missing connections from the Priority Infrastructure Plan to the “Long Term Infrastructure Plan” – which we can probably translate as “not in your lifetime”. We speculated: is this because the bikeway at Kangaroo Point is not in the electorate of a high-profile member of the LNP?? (This issue has been on the agenda since at least 2013)
On a brighter note, Minister Mark Bailey posted a video update on the Veloway construction at Tarragindi. This will be a fantastic improvement when it’s completed next year.
Also, we received reports that Queensland Police finally had a presence on the Gabba Bikeway where we’ve observed dozens of motorists turn left against the red arrow to the motorway on-ramp when the turn is banned during the afternoon peak from 4-6pm. Thanks to John from Brisbane South BUG for raising that issue again in a recent meeting with Minister Bailey.
In Council: Again this week, active transport was left off the agenda in Council’s Public and Active Transport, Economic and Tourism Development Committee Meeting. The committee heard a presentation on the INAS Global Games which will be held in Brisbane in October 2019. This sounds like a great event, and we’re all for inclusion in international sports. It’s a pity Council isn’t equally committed to inclusive transport infrastructure for residents who can’t drive.
In general business, Gabba Ward Councillor Jonathan Sri raised the ongoing safety issues along the Woolloongabba Bikeway (and committee chair Councillor Krista Adams claimed this was the first she was aware of safety issues at the freeway on-ramp!). Cr Sri also questioned why Council insists on putting pedestrian beg-buttons out of reach from the ramps at pedestrian crossings. In a response to the same question from us back in March, the Lord Mayor’s office stated that this requirement in the Brisbane Standard Drawings is actually for the benefit of disabled people, and Council have no intention of reviewing the practice. We haven’t been able to find any mobility or vision impaired people who support that justification for putting the beg-button out of arms reach laterally from the kerb ramp.
Meanwhile, Mitch attended the meeting of the Infrastructure Committee to see a presentation about the “upgrade” of the intersection of Boundary Rd, Chatsworth Rd and Samuel St at Camp Hill. Despite each of these roads being identified in the Principal Cycle Network Plan and the Brisbane City Plan (although only designated secondary routes there), there will be no infrastructure provided for people travelling by bike. Apparently, there is “no room” on these “constrained corridors” even though Council has resumed property to add additional lanes for turning and through traffic!
In the face of questioning by Cr Nicole Johnston the presenter argued that not providing for cyclists was justified because cyclists don’t use these roads, preferring instead the alternative “Camp Hill Cycleway”. That’s a very long bow to draw in an area with a few very sketchy, indirect, and poorly connected old paths. We suggest the real reason there is limited cycle traffic though this intersection is that the roads are very hostile; indeed a pedestrian was killed at the nearby intersection of Samuel and Thomas Streets in 2017.
You can read more about this project (including the claim that it will “improve safety for all road users”) at Council’s web site.
Fixing the path through Howard Smith Wharves is about returning this public space to a state that is safe for everyone—including people trying to get home, and people wandering out of the bars and restaurants not expecting to be stepping straight onto a cycleway. We’re happy that the loose and crumbling gravel surface has been replaced by something more suitable, but as Belinda says in this article in the Brisbane Times, the development should have provided legible, separated space for people walking and cycling from the beginning. It should have been specified in the master plan, a condition of the development approval, and Council should have insisted the facilities be up to standard before they were permitted to open
Update: it was good to see that the path through Howard Smith Wharves has been upgraded to a firm stable surface. However the bare black asphalt does cheapen the look. It could certainly be improved by some attractive surface markings, which could also provide an indication that it is a thoroughfare for people cycling, scooting, walking, and running, as well as a destination. It would be great to see some input from local artists.
For inspiration, perhaps the Howard Smith Wharves developers could check out this gallery of beautiful street art, or this award-winning project from Calgary. It’s hard to go past the invitation to walk up this beautiful street in Iceland. Or for a local example, check out the work of school students in Bowden (suburban Adelaide).
In other news this week, we took a sneak peek over the fence at the “Goodwill Extension” part of the Bicentennial Bikeway (the section closest to the Goodwill Bridge). No more blind corner—woohoo!
On the weekend, Belinda caught up with Member for Chatsworth and Shadow Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Steve Minnikin MP for a great chat about transport policy and planning. It’s good to hear that Steve is committed to including provision for active transport in major projects when they are first built; retrofitting is expensive and difficult, so good long-term planning is essential. (Standing by the side of Old Cleveland Rd at Carina is a good site for that discussion!)
Steve was also keen to hear more about best practice for bike parking at public transport stations, and we discussed models for using land around those nodes more effectively than vast expanses of car parking space which is largely empty outside commuter hours. We have a challenge for new Chandler Ward councillor Cr Ryan Murphy too, as we observed a number of quite elderly people struggling to cross Old Cleveland Rd to the Carina shops at the desire line from Adelaide St. Walking a long way further and waiting for multiple pedestrian lights at Gallipoli St didn’t make sense for them, but it was frightening to see how easily the direct route could end in disaster.
Meanwhile, at the Ekka, people were adding their ideas to improve Brisbane at the Green the Street display . On the wish list: more bike paths, more cycleways, bike paths to schools, less cars in my street, and mountain bike jump lines! 🚲🚲🚲🚲 Plus, make the city friendlier (including for cats🐈and lizards🦎).
Ekka week in Brisbane tends to mark a change in seasons, and we noted that it’s time to get your goggles on! We’ve had reports that the magpies are swooping already, and we’re heading into that time of year when some of them can give you a flappy surprise. Our number one recommendation when swooped is: don’t panic. A swooping bird is unlikely to cause a significant injury, but falling off your bike into traffic could have dire consequences. We don’t recommend waving your arms around to try scaring the bird away; keep upright, in control, and enjoy the attention… Wearing eye-protection is a good idea in case you fall foul of a particularly aggressive bird. The jury is still out on hats, helmets, cable-ties, wigs, and eyes stuck on the back of your helmet.
Make sure you have these events locked in:
- Thursday, 29 August 2019 the Big Bicycle Film Night comes to the Schonell Theatre. Make sure you’ve got your ticket!
- Join us on Sunday 1 September for the Big Push for Road Safety from 10am in Kurilpa Point Park
- Also, save the date for our annual fund-raising event, the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival which returns on 14 March 2020 at the Schonell Theatre.