2 August 2020

State Election Campaign

JessPugh1Continuing our rides with candidates ahead of the state election, this time on the west side: Despite the damp weather, nothing could stop Jess Pugh MP for Mount Ommaney joining Chris for a ride along the Centenary Bikeway recently. Like many, Jess hadn’t ridden a bike in years, but soon was right at home on two wheels.

At the previous election, we advocated strongly for inclusion of a bikeway upgrade as part of the Sumners Road Interchange Project. After being elected, Jess went into bat for that outcome, and it was great to be able to check on progress. Soon there’ll be a tunnel for the cycleway under the new interchange to enable an uninterrupted north-south ride, as well as a much improved crossing for those heading east towards Darra.

This year’s election the focus will be on the Centenary Bridge, and Jess got to witness first hand the very narrow shared path across the existing bridge. The business case to widen the bridge plans to deliver a 5 metre wide path with separated sections for cyclists (3m) and pedestrians (2m). That will be a big improvement for active transport.

Jess also experienced the Dandenong Road roundabout crossing, which we hope will also benefit if the motorway widenings continue, as well as further improvements to the bikeway in Jindalee and access via Seventeen Mile Rocks Road.

Later in the week, Belinda and Rolf Kuelsen, Greens candidate for Bulimba rode a lap around the Bulimba electorate checking out the train stations (Norman Park, Morningside, Cannon Hill and Murarrie) and ferry terminals (Apollo Rd, Bulimba, Hawthorne, and Norman Park). It was thirsty work.

They discussed options for putting bikeways along the rail corridor, and creating better connections – such as with an underpass near Morningside Station, a path from Morningside Central to Cannon Hill Station, and access over the rail line at Creek Rd where the existing facilities for cyclists and pedestrians are very poor.

Rolf12With the cross-river ferries currently out of service indefinitely, the need for more river crossings is very apparent. Instead of hearing a repeat of all the reasons a bridge would be difficult and expensive, we’d like to see a wider investigation of alternatives, like a submerged tube tunnel, an opening bridge, or a regular barge service with vessels that are easy and quick to load bikes, prams, mobility scooters, etc

On that subject, Brisbane CBD BUG recently wrote to Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner asking that a fifth “green bridge” be seriously considered across the Bulimba Reach of the Brisbane River, following the decision not to proceed with a public and active transport bridge at Bellbowrie. Both CBD BUG and East BUG have suggested options for locations and approaches which could address the problems of the size and scale of a fixed bridge from the end of Oxford St. One of these is a tunnel like the Maastunnel in Rotterdam, which was first built in 1942, and recently refurbished. Check it out:

Community Cycle for Protected Bike Lanes

Cycle1Thanks to everyone who joined us on Saturday on the Community Cycle for Protected Bike Lanes. It was great to have a large enough group to be able to confidently claim the lane along Stanley St, Vulture St, and Wellington Rd without feeling bullied into riding in the door zone, or having to get around parked cars.

Stanley St and Wellington Rd would be ideal places to make one of the four traffic lanes into a bi-directional bikeway, linking up Coorparoo, East Brisbane, Woolloongabba, and Kangaroo Point, and enabling people to ride to the park, shops, school, work, train station, Gabba Stadium, etc.

We had riders today aged from 7 to over 70. As Kath said about the Gabba Bikeway:

“while it has a few annoying flaws, it has made a huge difference having a protected bikeway. Finally it’s possible for me to ride to South Bank with my family without having to yell at my kids because I’m scared for their safety.”

(Or, like too many other parents, feel you have to bundle your kids into the car to get around your own neighbourhood.)

Thanks Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba for continuing to be the squeaky wheel and asking “how can we make our streets and neighbourhoods better for people” rather than “how can we fit more cars in?”

Another road or better public and active transport?

Our friends at RAIL Back On Track have consistently advocated for active transport to be a big part of Brisbane’s transport mix, including as a way to access public transport. In this post they question Brisbane City Council’s decision to plan more road infrastructure in Brisbane’s north when BCC’s own surveys shows the majority of people are asking for better public and active transport.

WhatPeopleWantIn a surprising statement dismissing the results of their own survey, Brisbane City Council wrote:

“Although public transport is seen as a solution to reducing demand on the road network, it is not a viable option for many trips due to a range of issues which has led to a reliance on car trips”.

What’s going on here? Even when public opinion is in favour of more public and active transport, BCC continue to prioritise private motor vehicles over other more efficient modes.

We have to agree with Rail Back on Track’s assessment of the problem: “The reliance on car trips has actually been created by Council’s prioritisation of driving over walking, cycling and public transport”.

Shifting Gears

What we need is a clear strategy and commitment to prioritise walking and cycling into every level of government planning and investment. That’s exactly the approach adopted in the UK. Released this week, their “Gear Change” policy document sets out a vision for the future of transport in England; where cycling and walking will be the natural first choice for many journeys with half of all journeys in towns and cities being cycled or walked by 2030.

GearChange1

With strong leadership, a commitment to acting according to a set of solid principles, and ensuring active travel is embedded in wider policy making, this policy provides a recipe for success. Increasing cycling and walking can help tackle some of the most challenging issues we face as a society – improving air quality, combatting climate change, improving health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities, and tackling congestion on our road. All while supporting and growing local businesses along the way. What’s not to like?!!

Link to the full document here.

Petitions

One way to accelerate delivery of a safe cycling network is to ensure that when any road is resurfaced or upgraded it is also brought up to scratch for cycling.

JunctionRdPetitionEast BUG have started a petition asking that when Junction Road, Morningside is resurfaced later this year, it be re-marked so that bike lanes are positioned next to the kerb, protected from moving traffic by a painted buffer and car parking spaces where room is available. This should serve as a pilot project for other similar roads around Brisbane so that delivery of the principal cycle network can be accelerated. (Otherwise, at the current rate, it will take hundreds of years!)

We note that on their own, petitions are a fairly weak form of advocacy, but using this formal structure does help put active transport on Council’s agenda and forces a public conversation about the issues. You can look forward to seeing more petitions from us in coming months. We appreciate your support!

Another petition, this time to include walking and cycling facilities in works planned for Miles Platting Road, Rochedale. $1.4 million has been allocated to road resurfacing of Miles Platting Rd in this year’s budget, but it doesn’t have footpaths or any cycling facilities – despite being a principal cycle route, and a key connector to the Metro station at Eight Mile Plains, the Veloway, and the Bulimba Creek Bikeway.

It’s crazy that we need to petition for the most basic facilities. Please help send this message to Council. Sign up, asking Council to:

Around the Suburbs

IpswichMwyFromOverpassThe cycleway along the Ipswich Motorway from Granard Rd to Oxley Creek is looking good; we’ve heard it might be open as early as the end of this month! Still to go: a short section of surface and fencing, activation of the signals at Suscatand St, and resurfacing of the Ipswich Rd service road. Although the shared path is not bad to ride on the weekends, it will be good to be able to ride on the dedicated cycleway, clear of turning trucks.

PoolRoomThis one is going straight to the pool room! Thanks Department of Transport and Main Roads for this souvenir from the Veloway Stage E opening. What we’re loving even more is riding on it! The latest stage from Birdwood Rd to Gaza Rd has made journeys by bike quicker, safer, and much less stressful.

It’s a sign! There are now directional signs showing distance to the Brisbane Airport and Skygate precinct from the Kedron Brook Bikeway. Cycling is a good way to get to the airport – whether you’re travelling, working, or shopping there.

EaST BUG report that this new (replacement) section of path along Wynnum Rd behind the new indented bus stop at Norman Ave is 2.5m wide. Which is at least slightly better than the 2m path either side.

SharedPathWidths2.5m is the minimum width for a shared path under AustRoads standards, and only suitable for a “local access” path where cyclist volumes and operational speeds will remain low. None of those conditions apply to Wynnum Rd which is the principal cycle route to the eastern suburbs.

The Wynnum Rd Corridor “upgrade” project stages 1 and 1B have cost a total of $130million. While it did add a few hundred metres of separated cycling infrastructure, and finally saw the footpath across Canning Bridge resurfaced (after years of lobbying), the lack of any other improvements for active transport are incredibly disappointing.

There’s better news from the west side, with West BUG reporting that the Indooroopilly Riverwalk is coming together nicely! They also tell us of an added bonus: if you wait for traffic control to let all the cars through, and you go after them – you can progress the length of Radnor Street without any car behind you or overtaking you!

LimeScootersFinally, Lime scooters are back, with a new model which has a wider base and larger wheels. We understand the coverage area is now wider, with a focus on “last mile” connections to public transport in suburban areas. We think that makes a lot of sense to help alleviate issues with parking on streets around the ferry terminals, but it might show up some of the deficiencies in our local footpaths. (And yes, unfortunately not everyone is very considerate with how they park these things. Do you think designated parking areas would help?)

What do you think about e-scooters? Please consider completing this survey to help out a PhD Candidate at the University of Adelaide who is researching uses and attitudes towards shared bike and e-scooter schemes in Australia.

Other News

In Melbourne, simple easy-to-install barriers are being used to create protected bike lanes. Frustratingly, we still can’t bring you any updates on “pop-up” protected cycleways in Brisbane 😦

Yarra City Council are in on the action too. The resident who filmed this says:

“We all hear wonderful tales from abroad of “8-to-80″ cities and how accessible they are. Today my family managed to ride along the new pop-up protected bike track along Elizabeth St in North Richmond. Thank you, City of Yarra!”

There are dozens of streets around Brisbane that could be made cycle friendly like this almost overnight. Brisbane people have demonstrated that they are keen to hop on their bikes; but they need safe streets to get where they need to go!

In the UK, Cambridge will be getting the first Dutch-style roundabout. This design encourages active transport and makes the intersection safer for everyone by slowing motor vehicles, and giving priority to people walking and cycling.

We’ve already seen a similar design used successfully in Melbourne, and would love to see Brisbane City Council adopt this. People want to walk and ride, but too much of our suburban infrastructure just doesn’t feel safe and comfortable!