We had a busy week of consultation sessions, with representatives from all the BUGs attending a meeting with TMR on Monday to discuss options for connections from the Bicentennial Bikeway into the CBD. (We’ll provide more information when there is something a little more concrete on the table we can share.)
Another session on Thursday discussed the current ban on cycling along Sandgate Rd through the tunnel at Nundah – even though the “alternative route” though Nundah Village is almost universally recognised as a more dangerous option. We thank Bicycle Queensland for raising that issue, and hope we can achieve both a lift on the prohibition on cycling through the tunnel, plus major improvements for riding to local destinations in Nundah Village.
Airport BUG also attended a meeting with planners from Brisbane Airport and were pleased to be informed that BAC will (finally) remove signs prohibiting cycling along Hibiscus Street. That means people on bicycles will now be able to safely access the Domestic Terminal, whereas previously they had to negotiate the unfriendly 2-lane roundabout.
Chris from West BUG met with new Councillor for Walter Taylor Ward, Cr James Mackay who replaces Julian Simmonds after he stood aside to stand (successfully) for federal parliament in the seat of Ryan.
We also caught up with Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Councillor Fiona Hammond at the Green Heart Fair at Chermside on Sunday. There was a lot of interest in the North Brisbane Bikeway, and people are very keen for it to extend all the way to Eagle Junction. Others were interested to hear the best ways to ride to work – with the usual caveat: few people want to ride on busy roads with cars!
Meanwhile East BUG were on the phone to Council trying to resolve a problem with the temporary works at the corner of Wynnum and Bennetts Rd in Morningside which has made it almost impossible to cross Bennetts Rd from the Cemetery gates, in direct contrast to what was stated at the public consultation 6 weeks ago.
Adelaide Street Vision
On Tuesday, Brisbane City Council announced their Vision for Adelaide St. We’re a little cynical about this, as it follows the recent renovation of Edward St, which unfortunately didn’t include any improvements for cycling. A bus tunnel under the southern end of Adelaide St has previously been proposed as part of the Metro (bus rapid transit) project, with a portal taking buses underground between North Quay and George St to join up with the existing busway under King George Square. That will reduce the number of buses travelling along Adelaide St – at least at the southern end. The latest plan seems to go further by proposing more streetscaping works along Adelaide St all the way from George St to Queen St (and maybe as far as Boundary St).
We certainly welcome wider and less cluttered footpaths along Adelaide St, as well as street trees in the section north of Edward St which is currently quite bleak. We would also support reducing the number of car park entrances off Adelaide St, and the traffic these encourage.
We are concerned that the current sketches show people on bikes squeezed awkwardly onto cobbled gutters looking set to be squashed into the kerb by a bus. That just seems like a bumpier version of the current state of Adelaide St – which is already statistically the most dangerous CBD street for cycling. Needless to say, we’re not terribly excited by that version of cycling purgatory.
Fortunately we know there are planning professionals in Brisbane who understand the basics of placemaking, and we hope that with their help, the Adelaide St Vision can produce a street that is both attractive and functional. We also hope that Council’s plans to transform the CBD will include a parallel cycling corridor through the CBD and Fortitude Valley along Ann St (as in our CBD Grid proposal), or along Turbot/Wickham St.
Moreton Bay Cycleway
Council’s committee meeting this week illustrated the issue with addition of Economic Development to the Public and Active Transport portfolio; there is now much less time to discuss active transport. This week’s committee presentation was on a trial conducted by the National Retailers Association (with federal government funding) on Retail Crime Prevention in the CBD and Fortitude Valley. There were no petitions on the agenda.
We did learn some interesting things from questions, however. But unfortunately it wasn’t good news for people hoping to finally be able to safely ride from the Gateway Bridge to any bikeways on the north side and to the employment hub at Brisbane Airport (home to 425 businesses supporting 24,000 jobs now, and expected to double over the next 15 years).
Councillor Jared Cassidy asked his now regular question about progress on the Schneider Rd to Viola Place connection. Chair, Councillor Krista Adams, advised that Trade Coast Central (who own the relevant land, and who we understand are a fully-owned entity of Brisbane City Council) have commenced legal action against TMR (Queensland Government) for flooding issues associated with the construction of the Gateway Motorway. Council has therefore delayed issuing the Notice of Intention to Resume the land necessary for the bikeway connection pending an outcome from that legal action. As it seems increasingly unlikely that we will see any action this Council term (or indeed for the foreseeable future), we suggest it’s time for alternatives to implemented and the $2.2 million set aside in successive Council budgets put to use to deliver infrastructure on the ground.
If Trade Coast Central land is untouchable, we want to understand any impediments to constructing the missing bikeway link along the rail corridor (on land zoned for transport infrastructure), with a level-crossing from Want St. Although we know Queensland Rail are reluctant to install level crossings for active transport similar to those common in other cities, this section of track is very minimally used, and is not electrified. Other solutions involving dedicated overpasses would surely be possible, but likely far more expensive.
It’s time for the various government entities to work together to create a safe solution which fixes this vital missing link in the Moreton Bay Cycleway.
On the topic of the Moreton Bay Cycleway, the new signs spotted recently at Wynnum are interesting because they seem to indicate a future cycleway (in orange) along Southern Cross Way. That would be nice but when might it actually happen?? They also show existing bikeway (green) along Lytton Rd between the Gateway Bridge and Lytton – which is a very long way from the truth. The maps already seem to be out of date with respect to the Gateway North Bikeway (despite being installed around the time that opened), and for anyone who likes the convention of placing north at the top of the map, these signs are just confusing.
Elsewhere around Brisbane
Our most popular Facebook picture this week was of the bollards on Gladstone Rd at Dutton Park. They look like they’ve taken a few hits over the last 4 weeks, but they’re still standing, and we’re cheering for them. Better the bollards take those hits than one to a person on a bicycle!
North-siders who ride home via the land bridge over the ICB (towards the North Brisbane Bikeway or Herston) were happy to see that the slippery cobblestones and the low stone wall are hazards of the past! It has taken a long time, but we’re very happy that these improvements to the surface and sight lines are finally happening, and thank Cr Vicki Howard, with whom we have previously raised the issue.
In the CBD, work on the Botanic Gardens Riverwalk commenced this week, with a section of the Bunya Walk being closed off at the Edward St entry. A few people has also asked about what was going on on the Alice St path. According to Council’s website, the “Edward St entry upgrade” in the City Botanic Gardens will include “rerouting the Alice Street pathway to the edge of Queen’s Park Field that will connect straight to Bunya Walk”. We’re concerned that the realigned path joins Bunya Walk at 90 degrees, which seems like a recipe for conflict and confusion. This has been built without consultation (that we’re aware of), and the new path connects to the section of Bunya Walk which has just been closed. It’s also not clear how a reworked Edward St entry would match a new green bridge landing from Kangaroo Point. For the moment, we are watching this space.
In the west, there was good news for people who use the Centenary Bikeway: TMR advised that they are about to install lighting along two of the very dark sections at Indooroopilly. These are locations we highlighted last year in discussions about priority repairs/upgrades to state-controlled bikeways, so we’re very happy to see action being taken.
In the eastern suburbs, EaST BUG reported that the path through Balmoral Cemetary (which is used by some inbound cyclists to avoid a very intimidating section of Wynnum Rd) has been resurfaced, and is now much smoother and safer. (But beware, the gates are closed between 6pm and 6am).
Not far away, it was horrifying to see evidence that a driver recently missed the roundabout at the intersection of Thynne Rd and Pashen/Burrai St in Morningside, and went through the fence at the Morningside Police Station. The demolished fence next to the faded active school travel stickers on the footpaths tells of the potential for this to have been a horror story. This roundabout should surely be a candidate for the type of traffic calming we saw recently in South Melbourne (see our recent video) if our Council is actually serious about encouraging more people to walk and cycle – particularly to school.
In other news
In a horror week on local roads, results of a new study were published showing that cities which have invested in protected bike lanes are safer. Not just for people on bikes and walking, but also for people who drive!
Research also backs our message that painted bike lanes really provide no improvement for road safety. Indeed, just painting bike symbols on the road can actually be worse than doing nothing at all. We are happy we finally persuaded Brisbane City Council to stop counting bicycle awareness zones (BAZ) in their bikeway count a few years ago, but there is much more work to be done to create a network of protected bike lanes – and with them a safer, healthier city for everyone.