19 Sep 2021

Kangaroo Point Green Bridge

Belinda dropped in to one of Council’s information sessions about the Kangaroo Point Green Bridge on Wednesday. This project is really exciting for East BUG as it will cut up to 2.5km from trips between the eastern suburbs and the CBD!

There’s not a lot of new information for us since we’ve been following this project very closely. But Belinda was keen to stress:

  • The design of the restaurant access and any other commercial areas must not compromise the primary active transport function of this bridge. (And no, “operating rules” are not enough as we’ve seen at Howard Smith Wharves and recently at Dockside, Kangaroo Point. Potential conflict must be designed out.)
  • Work on the underpass beneath Bradfield Highway at Kangaroo Point shouldn’t need to wait for the bridge construction; it’s needed NOW. (And for goodness sake, don’t let it be like the Gateway Bridge where the bikeway connections at either end are still missing more than a decade later!
  • Given the infeasibility of providing a DDA-compliant ramp down from Scott St to the riverside bikeway at Kangaroo Point, it’s imperative that Council improve conditions for cycling on Main St and Bright St as the alternative wheeled access to taking the elevator.
  • Before construction work takes up much of the “roundabout” site at the corner of Edward and Alice St in the CBD, we think it would make sense to implement the signalised crossing there, and move the Edward St bikeway to the Port Office Hotel side (see below).

We’re relieved to learn that much of the construction material is proposed to be brought in by barge, as the small streets at Kangaroo Point would not cope well with large construction vehicles.

There is one remaining information sessions coming up, which we encourage you to get along to on Thursday 23 September 4-7pm at the Queensland Multicultural Centre, Main Street, Kangaroo Point.

We recently wrote to Council’s Transport Chair, Cr Ryan Murphy, suggesting changes to the intersection of Edward St and Margaret St to improve the efficiency of the CityLink Cycleway in the CBD.

Cr Murphy asked the project team to look into the possibility of continuing the two-way bikeway across the southern side of the Edward Street/Margaret Street intersection. They have advised that continuing the two-way bikeway across the Margaret Street intersection would require additional space for the bikeway lanes plus storage space and a protection island outside the Port Office Hotel, at the midway point of the crossing, to separate and protect cyclists from traffic turning from Margaret Street to Edward Street. With the two-way bikeway present on the Stamford Plaza side, and two lanes of traffic, there is insufficient space to include protected, separated storage outside the Port Office Hotel.

So that means we’re stuck with the rather awkward configuration of this intersection for the moment.

But Cr Murphy also highlighted that the vision for the bikeway on Edward Street is to connect riders to the future Kangaroo Point Green Bridge, via a new signalised crossing at the corner of Alice and Edward streets. That would involve moving the bikeway to the southern side of the road on Edward Street, between Margaret and Alice streets, and removing the two-stage crossing at Margaret Street. Council are apparently considering bringing these permanent changes forward to next year pending the success of the CityLink Cycleway trial, and feedback from the community.

We think that’s really positive news. Keep supporting the CityLink Cycleway folks; if we can deal with the scrappy connections sensibly and safely, we’re unlocking the streets for more people to be able to ride and roll in future.

If you haven’t yet had your say on the CityLink Cycleway 12 month trial, please provide positive feedback as well as your suggestions for improvements.

As if on cue, a memory popped up in our Facebook feed this week: 5 years ago, we set up a short demonstration “pop-up” protected bikeway on Edward St in the CBD in the block between Margaret St and Alice St. The CityLink Cycleway trial is now in place on the opposite side of this street, but will hopefully soon move here permanently!

Brisbane Metro Vehicles

This week in Council we heard debate about the procurement of the pilot Brisbane Metro Vehicle. Amongst some silliness about whether it’s a bus or not-a-bus (an omnibus perhaps??), there was some information about improvements to the initial design to provide more priority seating and make it more accessible. That sounded very positive. However there wasn’t any mention of whether the new vehicle will be designed to allow bicycles onboard. We’re concerned that no mention is bad news.

This was part of our submission on the Brisbane Metro proposal back in May 2018:

Vehicle fleet

From discussions we have had with the Metro project team at the public information sessions, we understand that the intended specification for metro fleet vehicles does not provide for the transport of bicycles onboard.

Having the opportunity to take public transport with a bicycle can make a big difference for people who occasionally work late or have evening appointments and don’t feel comfortable cycling all the way home. It can also be really important for people travelling with children; where having the option to use public transport for part of the trip can be the difference between setting out by bicycle or relying on the family car. It is disappointing that the current Brisbane Metro proposal won’t allow this flexibility.

Although some cities’ bus fleets allow bikes to be loaded on a rack (a limited trial in Brisbane some years ago was abandoned), we agree that isn’t desirable for a high frequency service like the metro. However, taking bikes on-board large buses is entirely feasible, and can be a good use of space which is standing room during peak times. Looking for international precedents, we understand that the Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake City installed vertical bike racks on their Siemens S70 articulated buses, and that bikes are allowed on SWIFT buses in Seattle. We note that bikes are allowed on metro light rail services in some cities like Sydney and Seattle, although not on the Gold Coast’s G:Link service.

Fairfield Road and Clapham Yard

Recently, the BUGs and Bicycle Queensland received an update from Cross River Rail about construction work on new train stabling facilities at the Clapham Yard—the section of Yeerongpilly between Fairfield Rd and the rail line adjacent to Moorooka Station. The work will involve closure of Chale Street to non-construction related traffic (which has already happened), and temporary footpath closure on the eastern side of Fairfield Road to enable embankment works. Pedestrian access is intended to be via the western side of Fairfield Road between Palomar Road and Sherwood Road.

This is bad news for anyone attempting to walk or cycle in this area—for example to reach the major employment precinct at the Brisbane Markets. This has always been a hostile place to walk or ride, and despite Fairfield Road being on the Principal Cycle Network, there is no cycling infrastructure whatsoever. The 70kph speed limit, and high volumes of heavy vehicle traffic mean on-road cycling here is only for the strong and fearless.

Some south-bound riders have traditionally used the northern end of Chale St to bypass the worst section of Fairfield Rd where there is no footpath at all. Now even that option is closed to them. Suggesting that these riders cross Fairfield Road to use the footpath on the western side ignores two glaring issues:

1) The intersection of Chale St and Fairfield Rd has no kerb ramps. Unless you are prepared to hop up and down the kerbs, you can’t reach the beg-button to activate this intersection, and can’t use the crossing.

2) The western footpath along Fairfield Road is so narrow and unkempt in places it is unnavigable without riding into the rough. (And we’re not talking about the golf course – although that’s tempting!)

When we’ve raised concerns about Ipswich Road (in the context of the Nathan, Moorooka, and Salisbury Neighbourhood Plan), both Council and the State Government have pointed to Fairfield Road as the nominal principal cycle route. Yet now the already poor conditions on Fairfield Road appear to be the excuse used to justify doing nothing to cater for cycling during construction operations.

This is simply not good enough. There is plenty of space along this section of Fairfield Road to provide for separated cycling facilities, courtesy of a centre-turning lane which is now largely defunct, as the premises it previously serviced are closed.

We’re calling on Cross River Rail, TMR and Brisbane City Council to urgently implement safety measures for cycling on Fairfield Road, and to improve facilities for pedestrians—including widening the western footpath, fixing trip-hazards (including at driveway crossovers), strictly enforcing no-parking on the path, and providing kerb ramps at the crossing from Chale St.

Exhibition Station

Brisbane North BUG recently wrote to Minister Mark Bailey MP to highlight the safety and conflict design concerns over the planned Cross River Rail pedestrian connection from Exhibition Station to Bowen Bridge Rd. The design shows a pedestrian connection to the North Brisbane Bikeway just as the Bikeway goes under Bowen Bridge Rd.

North BUG have a number of issues with this poor design. In summary they are:

  • Pedestrians crossing a busy bikeway on a corner (poor sight lines).
  • Expected pedestrian volumes will exceed the design capacity of a 1.65m pathway.
  • Pedestrians will spill out onto the bike path, high chance of a pedestrian and bicycle collision.
  • Pedestrian waiting area at Bowen Bridge Rd is too small. Even prior to the station being opened the area has excess people waiting causing the to spill over onto other areas.

If you think this is a bad design as well please feel free to email the Cross River Rail team and send the Main Roads Minister an email to pass on your concerns as well.

PA Hospital Bikeway

Users of the PA Hospital Bikeway will have noticed that the shared path along Kent St has been squeezed by construction work for Cross River Rail. Stop-go traffic control is in place during construction hours.

We’re also had a report from a rider who slipped on mud from construction dust at the site entrance; that issue has been reported, but please continue to be careful and patient in this area.

We’ve very much looking forward to seeing plans for the bike/walk bridge connecting the PA Hospital Bikeway across to Peter Doherty St in the Boggo Road precinct that will eventually take a lot of the pressure off this path and the diabolical squeeze along the Annerley Rd footpath past the entrance to Dutton Park Station.

A protected intersection for Beaudesert Road

Transport and Main Roads Queensland are undertaking a business case and concept design to upgrade the Beaudesert Road and Illaweena Street intersection at Calamvale, Parkinson and Drewvale. We’re happy to see that the proposed concept design includes a protected intersection and new shared paths, which will make it much easier and more attractive for people to walk and bike to the nearby shopping centre, school (Stretton State College), and facilities like the Parkinson Aquatic Centre. It will also link to the path south to Browns Plains which was delivered as part of the Logan Enhancement Project back in 2019.

Consultation—via an online survey and interactive map—is open until 3 October 2021. Following completion of the consultation and detailed design, construction is expected to commence in early 2022 and be completed by mid-2023.

Monier Road and Bellwood Street, Darra

From the west: Brisbane City Council has released designs for an upgrade to the Monier Road and Bellwood Street intersection in Darra. Brisbane West BUG is happy with on road bike lanes providing better space for cyclists travelling east-west, however, has noted some other concerns with the design at the intersection of two priority routes on the Principal Cycle Network Plan.

Slip lanes continue to feature in intersection upgrades, despite these being regarded as poor practice along cycling routes, given the requirement for motorists to cross bike lanes, and sometimes being tempted to speed up to pass in front, creating potential conflict.

Only providing pedestrian crossings on 2 out of 4 legs is also undesirable, and there’s missing paths on both sides of Monier Road that could be filled with this project.

Veloway extends south

Have you checked out the latest section of the SE Veloway yet? Late last week, without fanfare, a new section was opened from Eight Mile Plains to Maureen Street, Underwood.

This was part of a huge project to widen the Pacific Motorway, and extend the SE Busway. It’s hard to get excited about an extra lane on a motorway (we all know how that works), but the new express cycleway is worth celebrating. We know the connection at Underwood Road will be especially appreciated by people from Rochedale South who now have access to the Veloway without having to ride on Logan Road.

John from Brisbane South BUG captured this footage of the smooth new ride:

Commuting by Bike

It was great to see Minister for Public Works and Procurement, Mick de Brenni for Springwood, making use of the Veloway and combining fitness and commuting with a fast cycle to work. If you have access to a safe, direct route like the V1 and end of trip facilities, even quite long trips can be quicker by bike than car.

But of course you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits of cycling; riding to your nearest public transport hub, or investing in an e-bike are great options too.

The power of cargo bikes

This is a conversation we should be having in Australia: electric cargo-bikes can be 60% quicker than vans for delivering goods in city centres, and more than 50% of goods can be delivered by bike.

Add to that: cargo bikes cut carbon emissions by up to 90% compared to diesel vans, and by as much as one third compared to electric vans.

There are so many great reasons to move to electric cargo bikes: time, cost savings, environment, and a healthier happier workforce!

Electric Vehicles

One aspect of our recent submission on Queensland’s new Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy, was a recommendation that the Queensland Electric Vehicle Council include members representing the electric bike and e-scooter industry, not just proponents for electric cars.

We’re happy to see that Bicycle Queensland CEO, Rebecca Randazzo was invited to attend the Queensland Electric Vehicle Committee Forum this week, and used the opportunity to highlight the importance of including e-bike infrastructure with the new electric vehicle network (inclusive of homes, workplaces, public transport hubs and key destinations) and the opportunity to incentivise households to switch their second vehicles to e-bikes as a strategy to remove traditional fossil fuel cars from our roads.

Bikes are best!

In 2024 the eyes of the world will be on Paris for the Olympics and Paralympics. What will we see? Thousands of Parisians and visitors enjoying the city’s public open spaces, walking and by bicycle!

This is a vision we’d love to see for Brisbane 2032: let’s liberate our city for everyone to be able to enjoy the great lifestyle.

Another Rail Trail

We obviously can’t travel to Paris right now. But there are great holiday cycling destinations much closer to home. Just a few hours north of Brisbane, the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail is now open between Kalpowar and Builyan, and it is spectacular.

There was a big crowd for the opening last Saturday; well done to all the amazing local volunteers, as well as to TMR, and Gladstone and North Burnett Regional Councils. Special mention to Desley O’Grady Councillor Gladstone Regional Council, Sue Payne Councillor North Burnett Region, North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers, Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett, and Glenn Butcher Member for Gladstone.

Never one to miss a bikeway opening and a photo-opportunity, Belinda joined Andrew from Bicycle Queensland and Robert from Brisbane Bicycle Touring Association on a week long bike-packing adventure from Brisbane to be there for the trail opening. Look out for more photos and a full report to come.

If you like rail trails and regional hospitality, start packing your panniers!