19 July 2020

Queens Wharf and the Bicentennial Bikeway

We were frustrated this week to read propaganda from the developers of Queens Wharf about “disused riverside land” being converted to public parks.

Queens Wharf is not “disused riverside land” at all. It is used by thousands of people daily – cycling, walking, and running. It is a major active transport arterial route.

QueensWharfPlazaWhile this article claims the “Bicentennial Bikeway will also be upgraded, as will Queen’s Wharf Road, beginning in September”, the latest plans we’ve seen include “shared” sections along the Bicentennial Bikeway (similar to the South Bank Promenade), and a shared pedestrian/bike/vehicle space on Queens Wharf Road. Rather than the good connection from the Bicentennial Bikeway into the CBD which is so desperately needed, this suggests Queens Wharf Road is likely to be a repeat of the Howard Smith Wharves fiasco, but steeper.

Mention of a bicycle workshop and end-of-ride facilities is good, but is this just “bike-washing” (a term for trying to make your project seem eco-friendly by including some token bike parking)? We heard similar claims about “football fields” of “new public parkland” at Howard Smith Wharves too. But the reality has been crowded commercial spaces, roped-off areas, and some plastic grass.

Victoria Bridge

On a brighter note, this week, Space4cyclingBNE, CBD BUG, EaST BUG, West BUG and Bicycle Queensland had a productive meeting with the design team for Brisbane Metro, focusing on the best way to create connections to a bikeway across Victoria Bridge.


You might recall that the most recent Metro design had a bi-directional bikeway on the upstream side of the bridge. But since then, there have been a few changes – including a decision to retain the station above-ground at the Cultural Centre, and a proposal for a CBD bikeway on Elizabeth St. In light of this, we think it’s worth re-visiting the option of a bikeway on the downstream side of Victoria Bridge.

There’s more room past the Cultural Centre station to Melbourne St on that side; better options to connect to the South Bank promenade and Russell St; and a much gentler ramp to the Bicentennial Bikeway on the north bank via Queens Wharf Rd versus the very tight and constrained ramp at Queens St. Plus, connecting to Elizabeth St would be much simpler from a bikeway on this side.

We also made the case that it would be sensible to try removing general traffic from Victoria Bridge as soon as possible, while traffic to the CBD is light due to COVID. This is the ideal time to get people thinking about moving differently; making walking and cycling more attractive than driving between the CBD and South Bank / West End.

More information on the Metro project and preferred tenderer, check out the recent press release from project partners Acciona and Arup.

Pop-up Cycleways

Nice work, Yarra City Council! Door-zone bike lanes are dangerous. For many people they’re a deal-breaker; being sandwiched between parked cars and moving traffic just doesn’t feel comfortable. These new pop-up lanes in Richmond (in Melbourne‘s inner east) will make cycling much safer and more inviting.

This was achieved in 4 weeks! It has now been longer than that since Brisbane City Council announced pop-up bike lanes in the CBD. We should be working on round 2 by now!

Meanwhile in Sydney, BIKEast report that the Pitt St popup cycleway (southbound) is open. Northbound is a few weeks away due to work required for signals / intersections.

At this rate Sydney will have completed their 6 popup cycleways and be on to round two before anything has popped up in Brisbane!

Why the big deal? Because this is what we’re missing out on! A liveable city is one where journeys feel like this:

Sometimes it feels like the level of motor vehicle traffic we have now is inevitable; that it is only going to increase. But Paris says otherwise! With bold leadership, and a commitment to resetting priorities – not just talking about it – the transformation can be fast and remarkable, as this video demonstrates:

Around the Suburbs

PAHospitalBikewayOne aspect of the state government’s Cross River Rail project we’re very excited about is the bridge planned as part of work at the southern portal and Boggo Road Station precinct. This will provide a much needed east-west connection between from the PA Hospital Bikeway towards the Eleanor Schonell Bridge – thus finally connecting the Veloway to the University of Queensland. (Although we note the Annerley Rd / Gladstone Rd intersection is still quite poor). It will also connect a large part of the catchment area for the new Inner City South State Secondary College.

This is something we have campaigned for for many years, and included in a petition to parliament in 2018/2019. Unfortunately we don’t have any details to share yet, but the artist’s impressions from the project web page look promising.

Inside information on the Ipswich Motorway project says the team are hoping to be able to open the cycleway early – perhaps late August/September if all goes well. It seems that doesn’t include the underpass at Oxley Creek and the connection at Granard Rd though, which have to wait until the project finish (scheduled for early 2021). That means the connection at the northern end will still require riding some way on Ipswich Rd, which is a bit hairy. We’re keen to see plans to improve conditions for cycling north from there; either on Ipswich Rd, Fairfield Rd, or using the rail corridor.

There is also plenty of action on Council’s Indooroopilly Riverwalk project. You might have noticed that some of the piles have been installed at the Witton Rd end (upstream). Meanwhile, work seems to be progressing well on the stairs connecting down from the Walter Taylor Bridge, and the ramp from Radnor St at Foxton St.

From big things to small things: well done Airport BUG for prompting Council to improve the drainage for the Kedron Brook Bikeway behind Toombul Shopping Centre. Let’s hope this simple improvement does the trick to stop the puddle sitting around for days after each time it rains.

Toombul4Background: Airport BUG wrote to Councillor Adam Allan on 3rd Feb this year asking for council to address the issue of water pooling on the path. The reply was:

“Council’s Roads and Drainage Officer attended this morning at approximately 10:30am and found that despite the heavy rain last night, the path was relatively dry. However, Council will cut back a section of the grass edge in isolated sections to give this water somewhere to run off to. The work is programmed for completion by the end of April 2020”.

It’s now mid July but better late than never. Hopefully this means no more muddy stripes up your back or wet socks from riding through the water. No more splashing passing riders either (sorry kids).

Across the river, EaST BUG were delighted to discover #FreshKermit on Queensport Road, Murarrie

…and that the banana bars on the path leading to the rail underpass from Morley St, Coorparoo are gone. As are the set just to the north. Good riddance!

Also in the eastern suburbs, construction work is about to begin to make Cannon Hill Station fully accessible. We’re happy to see that it will include a secure bike parking cage and (it appears) casual bike parking on the northern side of the station, near the entrance from Barrack Rd. Hopefully (although it’s not shown in the artist’s impression) the casual bike parking rack on the southern side will remain – EaST BUG had to campaign for years to get that!


We’ve also asked if the project will include any improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at the level crossing at Barrack Rd, but don’t yet have an answer on that. We’re disappointed we still haven’t been able to persuade Council and/or the State Government to construct a cycle and walking connection to Cannon Hill Station from the south west (why is adding more car parking a higher priority than making it easier for people to walk and ride??), but we’ll keep working on that.


MoggillFerryIn the west, West BUG have been enjoying the the Moggill Ferry ride in the early morning, but musing that it would be even better if, one day, there is a safe cycle route between Moggill and the Centenary Bikeway via Kenmore!

In Other News

This week the Queensland Government introduced legislation banning single use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates. Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch MP said

“the government is committed to reducing the destructive impact of plastic waste on our waterways, marine life and environment.”

That’s a positive move, but there’s another source of plastic pollution which gets almost no attention: if the government are really serious about reducing the harmful effects of plastic pollution on the environment and on human health, they also need to get serious about reducing the use of cars!

Almost everything is better by bike anyway… including servicing cars! The Dutch equivalent of the RACQ have started using bikes instead of vans to provide roadside assistance.

Safer Urban Speeds

Well done to the NSW councils that are reducing speed limits in busy pedestrian areas to 30km/h. The risk of a pedestrian dying if they are hit by a vehicle travelling at 50km/h is 80 per cent. At 40kph that drops to 40 per cent, and down to 10 per cent when the impact speed is 30km/h.

And it’s not just about crashes; shop and cafe owners can look forward to more passing trade as their streets become more pleasant to walk and cycle, and outdoor dining during (and after) COVID19 more pleasant, relaxed and easier for parents with children.

It’s time for Brisbane to follow suite. Like every other city which had taken these sensible measures, there will be outcry at first by those predicting the end of civilisation, but very soon everyone will wake up to how much more pleasant life is with slower neighbourhood streets.

(Can you believe the speed limits on the streets fronting Brisbane’s major hospitals are still 60kph?)