24 Oct 2021

Cycling’s contribution to the economy

A report launched this week by Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg MP quantifies the extent of cycling’s contribution to the Australian economy. The direct industry output was $6.3 billion in 2020, and the sector directly supports 34,295 jobs across Australia.

Cycling adds $3.4 billion direct value to Australia’s GDP. For perspective, that’s more than three times the Australian motor sport industry ($1.0 billion 2019) and level with the Australian thoroughbred racing industry.

Of course, the full economic value of the cycling sector is even greater when we include the economic benefits of improved health, environmental benefits or the positive impact on traffic congestion from more people riding.

Well done to We Ride Australia, and their project partners for quantifying what many of us are observing every day: cycling is booming, and the potential for further growth is enormous!

Breakfast Creek Green Bridge

Brisbane City Council released the final designs for the Breakfast Creek Green Bridge this week. We think this is really well done; not only does it continue the Lores Bonney Riverwalk, providing separated space for people walking and those on bikes or e-scooters across the bridge, but it continues that separation along Breakfast Creek Rd and Newstead Ave to Newstead Tce. (From there you can choose to take the riverside path or continue on the road.)

A number of us dropped in to Council’s “meet the project team” session on Saturday. We were keen to acknowledge the good work Council officers have done to respond to our initial feedback and come up with a final design for the bridge connections that will be intuitive, efficient, and inviting for people of all ages and abilities.

We love that the separate paths for people walking and cycling will continue from the end of the current Lores Bonney Riverwalk, across the bridge, and then along Breakfast Creek Road and Newstead Ave to Newstead Tce.

We’re very happy that the current path will remain open during construction – including the connection under Breakfast Creek Road that connects west toward Sandgate Rd.

We stressed that we’d like to see a solid barrier and as much distance as possible between the bikeway on Breakfast Creek Road and oncoming motor vehicle traffic. (The low yellow plastic curbs which work well for the temporary solution in the CBD would not be enough here. Something more like the concrete dividers used on the Gabba Bikeway would be better.)

We confirmed that the northern end of the bridge will be 1-2m higher than the road at that point, while the bridge itself will be approximately level. There will be a gentle climb approaching the bridge from the Riverwalk, but it should be easy to stick to safe speeds where paths join and cross.

Unfortunately heritage constraints around Newstead Park mean that a shade structure is not possible; the form of the bridge is designed to preserve the views to the park, river, and other historic elements.

There is one final information session coming up this week: Wednesday 27 October 2021, 4-6pm, Cameron Rocks Reserve (near War Memorial), 79 Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton

Frederick St, Alderley

A much smaller green bridge, but a very important one to Alderley locals and cycle-commuters from the north-western suburbs: Thanks to Tony for alerting us to this construction work on Wakefield St / Mina Pde, Alderley. We have been able to confirm with Queensland Rail that these are indeed new footings for a replacement active transport bridge between Mina Parade and Frederick St. (You might remember that the old bridge was removed due to structural issues 18 months ago.)

We’re very happy the bridge is being replaced, but a little disappointed that we can’t access any detailed plans, and have not had an opportunity to make recommendations with regards to the connections at either end of the bridge. Hopefully Queensland Rail and Brisbane City Council have been collaborating on this. (Or are we just being fanciful?)

Brisbane City Council has a signed cycle route from Alderley to the CBD which includes this bridge. This could be a very useful route for people commuting by bike from the north-western suburbs and wanting to avoid Enoggera Rd. But, in a depressingly familiar story, there are a few black spots and poor connections which prevent that potential being fully realised.

Slip lanes on Bowen Bridge Rd, Herston

If you walk or ride a bike or scooter to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, or between The Valley and the Enoggera Creek Bikeway, you have probably experienced how difficult and potentially dangerous it can be to cross the slip-lanes at the intersection of Butterfield St and Bowen Bridge Road. The current intersection layout is totally unsuitable in such proximity to a major hospital, where hundreds of essential healthcare workers and their clients need to cross every day.

Please add your name to this petition asking Council to modify the intersection of Butterfield St and Bowen Bridge Rd, Herston by either:

  1. removing the slip lanes and creating a fully signalised intersection; or
  2. installing raised priority crossings (wombat crossings) on the slip lanes to make them safer for people walking and cycling; or
  3. signalising the left-turn movements for motor vehicles, with automatic priority given to active transport users.

(It was great to see the petition reach 100 signatures on the first day!)

Dutton Park Station

To the southside now, and last week, Cross River Rail released plans for the upgrade to Dutton Park Station. Our initial reaction: disappointment. This design really doesn’t seem to take into account the surrounding environment and where people using the station are headed. It also completely misses the opportunity to improve active travel movements through this area – in particular between Annerley and the University of Queensland, new State Secondary College, and towards South Brisbane and the CBD.

Some initial thoughts:

The new station entry on Noble St will deposit passengers onto a dangerous uncontrolled left-turn slip-lane (Annerley Rd into Noble St). From the kerb ramp there it’s impossible to even see vehicles racing around the corner, as the view is obscured by the railway protection fencing.

The intersection of Annerley Rd, Noble St, Cornwall St and Railway Pde is a mess of beg-button crossings, and long waits on tiny exposed concrete islands or narrow footpaths. We find it incredible that the plans for the new station entrance seem to have been developed in isolation as if that’s all just fine.

From our observations, most passengers arriving at Dutton Park Station in the morning walk from there along Cornwall St towards the medical precinct. The new plan appears to have these people using the station overpass, but then having to either cross the slip lane and Annerley Rd, or go down to the eastern platform, and walk north along the platform under Annerley Rd, then exit the station and walk back up the hill again to get to Cornwall St.

Removing the current station entrance onto the Annerley Rd bridge will reduce the chance of conflicts with people trying to squeeze along that narrow footpath, and we expect that much of the current bike traffic will eventually divert to the bridge across the rail lines further north (connecting the PA Hospital Bikeway to Peter Doherty St). Nevertheless, there is still a lot of cycling and walking traffic along Annerley Rd, as mentioned above. Performing major construction work in this area but neglecting to improve conditions for active travel on Annerley Rd is shameful.

Where do we even start with the active-travel horror-show that is the intersection of Annerley Rd and Cornwall St (plus Kent St) east of the rail line? Watch interactions there for a few minutes and you find yourself holding your breath.

Yes, we expect all the usual ducking and weaving from Cross River Rail, Queensland Rail, TransLink, Transport and Main Roads Queensland, and Brisbane City Council. But really, they need to be locked in a room together until they come up with something that better serves the community. It is all public money after all…

Parking in bike lanes

Somehow, the approved plans for the South City Square Apartments in Woolloongabba didn’t include parking restrictions along the Deshon Street frontage. That made the on-road bike lane unusable, as it was always blocked by parked cars. Thanks to the persistence of a couple of our followers, Brisbane City Council have now installed no-standing signs and a yellow line along Deshon St between Sword St and Logan Rd, so the lane should now be clear. We think that should be the default for on-road bike lanes; the notion of “sharing” with large stationary objects is pretty silly.

(If you do come across vehicles parked in the bike lane on Deshon St, please call Council’s Contact Centre on 3403 8888).

Driving on bikeways

There’s parking in bike lanes, and then there’s driving in them…

Do you think this new yellow barrier and row of flex posts will help stop drivers getting confused and driving on the Gabba Bikeway along Stanley St??

We hope it might help deter those who drive onto the bikeway after turning right from Main St.

We’re scratching our heads over the “keep right” sign though. Hopefully people cycling and scooting there for the first time will figure out that the bikeway doesn’t continue through the intersection, and they need to cross paths with inbound riders to use the pedestrian crossing, rather than riding straight ahead into oncoming cycle traffic.

More barriers in Morningside

This might seem like a small thing, but it feels like another example of the lack of care applied to transport infrastructure for people walking and cycling versus those travelling by car.

The curved end of the guard rail recently installed on Wynnum Rd Morningside, inbound just past the intersection with Jack Flynn Memorial Drive, protrudes into the path. Compared to the bus stop further along, and the various sign posts in the middle of the path, that’s a minor matter, but it does raise a number of concerns:

  • If this guard rail is necessary to prevent drivers crashing off the road into the gas equipment(storage?) shed, surely there’s a need for a barrier to prevent them crashing into someone cycling along Wynnum Road (which is after all supposed to be a principal cycle route).
  • If it has been assessed as likely that drivers can’t safely navigate this gentle curve, doesn’t that indicate the speed limit is too high. Should the speed along Wynnum Road be lowered so that drivers can safely follow the road?
  • A crash barrier wouldn’t be permitted to protrude into the road so that it narrowed the lane width below Austroads standards, so why are we prepared to allow obstacles on footpaths and shared paths? Surely there is a design for a guard-rail termination that doesn’t take up some of the width of the footpath?

Des hates everything

Remember when NewsCorpse columnist, Des Houghton, ranted about how he hates cyclists? Well apparently he also hates Queensland; so yesterday he wrote about taking his bat and ball and leaving.

We prepared this “tribute” back in 2018. You might spot a couple of things we miss—like CityCycle bikes. And a few things we don’t—like Des.

When more people cycle, everyone wins

We love this promotion from the UK and the message is relevant to Brisbane too. Everyone wants less traffic. When more people cycle, everyone wins.