20 Sep 2020

State Election Campaign

We had a busy week on the state election trail. First up was Bart Mellish MP, Member for Aspley, who joined Terry from Brisbane North BUG for a ride around the Aspley electorate. Bart rode BMX bikes in his younger days and also commuted from Albion to the CBD on his BMX bike!

Bart and Terry rode to inspect the area that the State Government is funding together with Brisbane City Council—a connection from Webster to Robinson Rd. This will help fill in a missing link between the Chermside area (including the Downfall Creek Bikeway and North Brisbane Bikeway connections) and the Aspley commercial centre, Aspley Hypermarket and the Cabbage Tree Creek Bikeway at its northern end. To illustrate the importance of connections, Terry took them north along the path adjacent to Gympie Rd from where this project will end. That involved many blind driveways, narrow paths and bus stops obstructing views and the path. A wider path and safer driveway crossings could result in a direct connection to the popular Cabbage Tree Creek bikeway at Zillmere Rd.

Bart and Terry also rode to the old QUT site where the Carseldine Urban Village project is under construction. This project should result in upgraded active transport connections to the Cabbage Tree Creek Bikeway. The Beams Rd rail overpass was also discussed, with Bart assuring us that access for active transport users will continue during construction. In line with State Government road projects, provision will be made for active transport options as part of the project.

Bart said he appreciated being able to ride about and see how many small changes—like ramps, building on desire lines, turning fillets and wider paths—can make things better for pedestrians and bike riders of all ages; no BMX skills required!

Philip Anthony, Labor‘s candidate for Clayfield is one of the many people who started cycling again earlier this year during the COVID lockdown. He bought a new bike and has been enjoying exploring the Kedron Brook Bikeway and North Brisbane Bikeway with his son. So he was pleased to join Aaron, Chris and Stephen from Brisbane North BUG to check out some other cycling routes around the Clayfield electorate this week.

Their route took them past where construction will start later this month on the next stage of the North Brisbane Bikeway along busy Dickson Street. They also saw where cyclists are hoping the “All the Way to EJ” link to Eagle Junction will complete a route from the CBD to Brisbane’s north and northeast. Philip noted how important connections are – he said that on his recent rides, he had found it a challenge to get safely from Eagle Junction to the current start of the bikeway at Rigby Street.

The riders experienced the fantastic Kingsford Smith Drive Bikeway, but also how it lacks links to the North Brisbane Bikeway at Albion, and to the Gateway Bridge Bikeway and Brisbane Airport at the Hamilton end. Also at Hamilton, they checked out the state government’s Northshore Hamilton priority development area, which has been designed with an extensive network of separated and on-road bikeways that will make it an attractive area to live, work and shop.

Trent Wiseman, the LNP candidate for Cooper also didn’t need much convincing to join Chris from West BUG for a ride. Trent and his wife love cycling, and they’re looking at options for a child seat to take their young son on their rides together.

Cooper is an interesting electorate with minimal state-controlled roads. It has the Ithaca Creek and Enoggera Creek Bikeways that run west-east towards Herston, and the Bicentennial Bikeway on its southern boundary, with lots of schools, local shops, restaurants and cafes in between. Chris and Trent rode from Suncorp Stadium, up through Paddington and Red Hill into Ashgrove, then back via Rosalie and Milton.

Trent remarked how hostile many of the streets are with street parking and fast moving traffic, and he’s right behind developing safe, separated space for cycling so people can get to the places they want to go. His priority if elected is looking at improvements to State Route 5, which runs north-south through the electorate and includes Jubilee Terrace and Stewart Road, which are very busy roads without cycling facilities – and on the Principal Cycle Network we might add. We certainly support that plan.

On Sunday morning, Labor’s Stirling Hinchliffe MP joined Andrew from Brisbane North BUG for a ride around the Sandgate electorate. Their route took in the full range of cycling conditions, ranging from gravel paths, separated bikeways, bike lanes with parked cars and no cycling infrastructure at all. This experience highlights the benefits of good cycling infrastructure and how planning for the future needs to include active transport as well as linking into existing cycling networks. Stirling himself has been out riding his bike more lately and understands the restrictions that poor infrastructure puts on people wanting to be more active.

Also, for some North BUG members: there is now proof that Stirling and Andrew are not twins (despite both being tall and having ‘distinguished’ hair). Although it did help that Stirling wore his green Boston Celtics shirt (basketball) in support of the team’s game later that day.

Maybe all these pictures of us cycling with politcal candidates has fired up Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner to have some lessons?… Anyway, it was good to seem him in the news during the week promoting cycling as a great low-cost family activity these school holidays. See you on the bike paths!

Green bridge feedback

Feedback close this week on the draft plans for the green bridges at Breakfast Creek and Kangaroo Point. We’ve been along to multiple information sessions, but also provided written feedback, which you can read about in our latest blog post.

Reason to envy Melbourne

Residents of Victoria struggling through some tough COVID restrictions have reasons to be envious of Brisbane right now, but there’s one area where the tables are reversed: Check out this before and after view of cycling along Queensbridge St in Melbourne:

City of Melbourne are installing more than 500 meters of new protected bike lanes each week!! It’s part of their plan to fast-track 40km of new bike lanes over two years. When Melbourne emerges from their tough lock-down, the city will be in great shape to get people back to work and to get local businesses back on their feet.

By comparison, the much larger Brisbane City Council delivered just 10km of new bikeways under the four year 2016-2020 Better Bikeways for Brisbane program. In response to COVID they have so far installed 50 “Share the path” stickers. We might have pinched the AFL Grand Final (sorry Melbs), but it’s time to take a few practical lessons from Melbourne too!

Around the suburbs

In the eastern suburbs this week, we noticed that the cover has finally come off the counter on Lytton Rd in East Brisbane, but the display is not operating yet.

Further east, EaST BUG warn that if you’re cycling on Wynnum Rd (including on the footpath) through Cannon Hill and Murarrie: there are two quite aggressive and persistent magpies – one on patrol near Red Rooster (ironically?) in Cannon Hill, and another just west of the Gateway Motorway. These are hectic traffic areas, so be careful to maintain your balance when under aerial bombardment. There have been numerous reports about these birds on Magpie Alert – from people cycling in both directions. You can sign up to receive notifications of reports in your area. Don’t forget your sunnies!

In Chelmer, Mark Bailey MP, Member for Miller has been calling on Brisbane City Council to build another bridge across the Brisbane River to Indooroopilly to alleviate congestion on the Walter Taylor Bridge. But the funny thing about this video he used to illustrate the point is that it shows less than a dozen people held up by other people doing the same thing as them. You regularly see more people than this delayed for longer waiting to cross the road at almost any intersection or pedestrian crossing at the same time of day. We think it’s time to move away from the assumption that people’s time is only valuable when they are in a car!

Peak hour traffic is inevitably slow, as hundreds of people all try to reach popular destinations by car at the same time. Behavioural studies show that it’s self limiting: people take the most convenient option for them (factoring in issues like cost and feelings of safety). So when roads choke up with cars, people adjust the times they travel, or take other modes (like cycling and walking where that’s feasible), or decide the minor inconveniences of public transport are outweighed by the benefits.

Duplicating and widening roads simply encourages more people to drive because it continues to be the most convenient option, and peak hour congestion remains – but with more cars creating pollution, and with larger hotter roads which are still only operating at capacity for a very short period of the day. A far more sensible route is for governments to invest in alternative options to make them more attractive than driving: public and active transport – ideally combined.

Cycle for the Climate

“Our towns and cities have become so dominated by private cars that we’re struggling to implement sustainable alternatives as the health and social costs mount. The active promotion of polluting vehicles through advertising campaigns isn’t helping the situation. We need a cultural shift away from cars.”

UK group Brandalism

Environmental activists in the UK have taken aim at the misleading adverts from the car industry, with a series of parody billboards. Not long ago, the tobacco industry promoted their product as sexy and sophisticated, but now most people are aware of the harm it causes. Do you think it’s possible to create a similar shift in attitudes to transport??

Wondering what a Cycle for the Climate slow ride looks like in Brisbane? One of the entries in our Brisbane Bike Bites short film competition earlier this year captured some of the (slow) action from last spring:

A note from us: Climate change is real. Science warns us that the consequences of maintaining “business as usual” will be devastating. People may disagree on what response is appropriate, but Extinction Rebellion are out to ring the alarm bells that doing nothing is not an option.