22 March 2020

IsolateWhat a difference a week makes. We hope you and your family are keeping well in these uncertain times.

Discussing cycling infrastructure might feel trivial right now, but remember, changing how we move around can help shape a better, friendlier, healthier city. The election for Brisbane City Council will still go ahead on Saturday 28 March, deciding who will make the decisions on the future of our city for the next four years. Pre-poll voting locations are available in every ward, and are taking strict precautions to protect public health. We encourage you to vote early, vote carefully (exercising all your preferences) and of course to get there by bike! For more on voting locations, see the ECQ website.

DoorZoneA cyclist who lives in the northern suburbs reports on a conversation he had with Hamilton Ward councillor and LNP candidate, Cr David McLachlan, at the pre-poll voting booth: When asked if he supported the construction of Stage 4 of the North Brisbane Bikeway, Cr McLachlan replied quite categorically that he did not support the current design for the stage. He questions why TMR does not build the bikeway on State Government land along the rail line at Wooloowin, and claims that State Government prefer to build the bikeway on the road so that they can sell off the land for development. We hope that this opposition from the councillor (LNP candidate) won’t jeopardise or delay the planned separated bikeway, which will finally give riders a reprieve from the dangerous door-zone along busy Dickson St.

CrMackay1We’re happy to report much more positive interaction earlier this week with the LNP candidate for Walter Taylor, Cr James Mackay. After a brief catch up a few weeks ago, and a rousing speech at our recent Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival, Cr Mackay met Chris for a longer ride around Walter Taylor Ward early on Wednesday.

Meeting at Guyatt Park, with a recently upgraded CityCat terminal with excellent bike parking, they made their way along the designated route to Toowong. Some of the hills, road surface and awkward crossing points aren’t ideal for a major route to the university, and the new green bridges proposed at Toowong and St Lucia could make this much more pleasant. They enjoyed the river view on the Bicentennial Bikeway before tackling Sylvan Road which is one of our major priorities to facilitate an all ages and abilities connection between the Bicentennial and Centenary cycleways.

WalterTaylor1After negotiating the hectic Miskin Street crossing, they enjoyed watching the stream of commuters on the Centenary Cycleway, and noted that ebikes have led to more women cycling in work clothes. An array of cargo bikes were also really visible! From there they cut through the streets of Taringa, with some unintended detours (Chris isn’t a great navigator sometimes), and some more rough road surface before going through Perrin Park and back to the start. It was a good look at not just the major bikeways, but the local streets that residents need to use to reach those bikeways and how we can improve those to encourage more people to leave their car behind.

TheGap1The next morning, Chris ventured a bit further north than usual for West BUG, to ride with Rebecca Haley who is The Greens’ candidate for The Gap Ward in the Brisbane City Council election.

While Waterworks Road is a hostile road, The Gap enjoys quite a number of creekside shared paths that connect a number of local destinations, and the Enoggera Creek Bikeway goes in towards Herston.

Starting at the Ashgrove Golf Club, they headed west along Enoggera Creek past Walton Bridge Reserve, The Gap State High School, and to The Gap bus Park n Ride, which has a couple of bike racks conveniently positioned at the bus stops.

From there they turned north, heading towards Hilder Road State School then riding along Fish Creek near The Gap State School and St Peter Chanel Catholic School. The Fish Creek bike route then joins back at Walton Bridge Reserve to their starting point.

They noticed The Gap still has a lot of banana bars, which we know council has a program to remove, but perhaps the local councillor needs some local support and encouragement to prioritise their removal.

Rebecca attends the University of Queensland and works in Wilston, both locations requiring long public transport trips where the first or last leg is just a bit long to walk, so she felt “forced to drive”. Recently Rebecca bought a folding e-bike to take on public transport with her to solve that problem. She’s also keen to ride all the way to the University, but with Mt Coot-tha in the way, and a number of gaps in the bike route, it’s not the easiest journey.

CrCunninghamOn Sunday morning, Belinda and Cr Fiona Cunningham (LNP candidate for Coorparoo Ward) experimented with meeting outdoors and chatting about bikeways a distance which felt a bit… odd. They went for a walk along the Norman Creek Bikeway, and the route of the SE Busway and discussed the importance of State Government and Council working together to create good solutions for the community. For example, the land between Laura and Lilly Streets belongs to State Government but the streets are controlled by Council. This corridor could be come an active transport corridor providing a safe alternative to Old Cleveland Road – but that will require a coordinated approach. Residents petitioned for this back in 2014, but nothing has changed since.

Similarly, East BUG and others are delighted that the underpass beneath Logan Rd will finally go ahead as part of the Hanlon Park upgrade, but for families who have been waiting for it as a safe route for their children to travel to school it will be bittersweet as their kids will have graduated first.

20200322_105653Belinda and Fiona noticed how many families were out on bikes; Norman Creek Bikeway is always well used on the weekends, but Sunday was exceptional. They also spoke about the importance of lighting, making pedestrian crossings like the one in front of the Stones Corner Library more responsive, and including active transport as a priority in all road and intersection projects.

In Other News

In Geelong, the City Council recently made a daft decision to remove protected bike lanes that are part of a project to breath life into the city centre. Now the Victorian Government has stepped in to save the project, by taking control of the corridor.

What do you think of this approach when a local council refuses to act in the best interest of the city and insists on prioritising car parking and faster traffic ahead of public safety and the viability of local businesses? Should the Queensland Government be stepping in to take control where Brisbane City Council has failed to act on critical corridors like Sylvan Rd, Dickson St, Vulture St, and Stanley St East?

Or perhaps on Lytton Rd, Morningside? On Friday evening a truck rolled at the corner of Lytton Rd and Colmslie Rd in Morningside. We are incredibly relieved that it apparently didn’t result in a deaths or serious injuries. However it did result in a huge spill of oil and grease which ran back along Lytton Rd towards Perrin Creek.

Over the weekend, Council crews achieved the herculean task of resurfacing most of Lytton Rd between Colmslie/Junction Rd and Col Gardner Drive (the entrance to Colmslie Recreation Reserve). There is still some work to be completed – including line marking – but we suspect the new surface is a lot better than the previous mess.

20200322_123518EaST BUG have campaigned for improvements to Lytton Rd for over 5 years now – as have the previous and current councillors. It is in appalling condition, and the community should rightly feel very let down by the current council administration. Hopefully this incident can help highlight the critical need to get on with making Lytton Rd safe.

Back in 2016, EaST BUG wrote to then Chair of the Infrastructure Committee asking that the Colmslie Rd, Lytton Rd intersection be improved, not just because of the amount of motor vehicle traffic, but also because it is incredibly unsafe for people walking and cycling. A fix in times saves…. a very lucky escape from serious injury or death, an environmental disaster, and a very expensive overnight road resurfacing project….?

Putting the Brakes on our Tuesday Slow Rolls

Usually we’re determined that nothing will stop our Tuesday Slow Rolls. However we’ve always been keen to adopt the best practices proven in cities around the world, and right now the advice from Europe is: start social distancing early and stringently—even when it feels a bit silly. (Note: if felt a bit silly on Tuesday seemed perfectly reasonable by the weekend!)

Riding a bike is a great way of travelling without risk of contact that could transmit the COVID-19 virus, but the main purpose of our slow rolls is really the social gathering beforehand and afterwards. For that reason, we’re putting the brakes on our slow rolls for the next few weeks (updates to come), but we’ve invited our social media followers to get together virtually instead: go for a slow roll in your own time, and post a picture from your social isolation. If you’re on Instagram, use the hashtag #SlowRollBNE. Here are a few of our favourites:

As highlighted in this article from The Age, riding a bike: “It’s still probably the best way to get around, because you’ve got an exclusion place around people and you can get your fresh air and exercise in a way where you don’t have to go to the gym and touch weights and equipment that other people have touched.”

Did you notice more people commuting by bike this week? Or has the effect of more people working from home seen less people cycling? If you know of someone who is keen to start cycling, but a bit unsure of the best routes to take, let us know – we’re happy to share suggestions.