It was another big week in bike advocacy. On Wednesday, ABC Brisbane presenter Kat Feeney ran her Afternoons radio program from her bicycle, talking with a few Space4cycling folk around town. Listen here for:
- A great summary from Andrew Demack of Bicycle Queensland at the start of the show
- Donald from Brisbane CBD BUG talking about safety on the roads from around 30:00
- Kath Angus talking about cycling with kids (including a very determined and fit 4 year old!) from 45:00.
- Anna Campbell from Queensland Walks from 1:21
- And finally, from 1:45 Chris Cox rounding out the episode talking about combining cycling with public transport from 1:45 (plus a push for The Big Push for Road Safety).
Hey, it’s all great value – have a listen to the full program!!
We’re starting to get very excited about The Big Push for Road Safety ride, coming up on Sunday 1 September.Brisbane has some great places to ride a bike, but it’s still not well connected, and the central city is not at all bicycle friendly. On Sunday 1 September, we’ll be riding the city streets en masse calling on Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government to pick up the pace building protected bike lanes and making local streets safer so that everyone has the option to go by bike instead of taking the car.
Bring your friends, family, colleagues, pets… Let’s get this city moving!
Why not hang out in West End for the day, and rock along to the fabulous Kurilpa Derby later in the afternoon for Brisbane’s very own community led Cyclovia and street festival.
News from Brisbane City Council
All the news from Council’s Public and Active Transport and Economic Development and Tourism Committee Meeting on Tuesday morning:
The presentation was on the new CityCat 22 (also dubbed SuperCat) which is currently being built at Murarrie for a cost of $3.7million. It appears to have some good features for accessibility and improved viewing. Of interest to us, there will be space for 10 bikes (whereas the current boats have room for 6) all on the back deck. We don’t have further details, but note that loading a bike can be a bit awkward on the current CityCats (and worse on the cross-river ferries), especially when loading or unloading is from the front, and you’re only making a short trip across the river because there’s no bridge…
The committee majority voted to reject a petition from Brisbane CBD BUG for protected bike lanes on Melbourne St as part of the Metro plans, rather than the current proposal which would see people on bikes sharing the road with buses as they pull in and out of stops. Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba argued that it was really quite insulting to say that the current proposal is satisfactory, as it would only be the most fearless cyclists who would take on Melbourne St in those conditions. Chair Councillor Krista Adams pointed out that people do cycle there now—to which Cr Sri responded that a lot of people (himself included) ride on the crowded footpath there precisely because Melbourne St feels so intimidating! And the rise of e-scooters and other personal mobility devices will only make the situation more critical.
It does seem that even though the response we will get from Council about this petition will be disappointing, there is still room for improvement before the final construction plans are settled. (The current version was drafted 18 months ago before we had seen floating bus stops in operation in Brisbane, and before the success of the Woolloongabba Bikeway).
The committee also rejected a petition for Council-operated bike parking and end of trip facilities in Fortitude Valley, leaving this to private sector instead. Fortunately large employers and building managers are increasingly seeing the benefits of providing bike parking, lockers and showers, but as Cr Sri pointed out, that’s not very helpful for people who work in some of the small venues, cafes etc in the Valley which can’t provide those sorts of facilities. Councillor Krista Adams stated that currently Council doesn’t have suitable real-estate in the Valley like they do at King George Square (where the cycle2city facility is owned by Council but managed by a 3rd party). It wasn’t ruled out totally, but for the moment, Valley workers and visitors are out of luck: Council has no plans to provide bike parking and end of trip facilities in the Valley.
Later in the main council meeting, they endorsed the report from the Infrastructure Committee meeting on 13 August, including a report on the project currently underway at the intersection of Boundary Rd, Chatsworth Rd, and Samuel St in Camp Hill.
East BUG Inc. wrote to members of the committee, and to the local councillor, Cr Fiona Cunningham pointing out that each of these roads are identified in the state government’s Principal Cycle Network Plan (which was endorsed by Council), and that not only is there a significant local shopping centre on one corner of the intersection, it is also central to the catchment area for Whites Hill State College. It is absurd to say there is “no room” for cycling facilities on these “constrained corridors” when Council has resumed property and removed trees to add additional lanes for turning and through traffic. To suggest that people travelling by bike don’t need facilities here because they prefer the alternative “Camp Hill Cycleway” ignores the indirect nature of that supposed route, and the lack of safe road crossings. It also ignores what Strava heatmaps tells us current cyclists actually do.
It was very concerning to hear Cr Cunningham state in Council that Chatsworth Rd, Boundary Rd, and Samuel St are not identified in the Principal Cycle Network, when they are very clearly on Map 10.
How is it that local councillors are not receiving accurate advice about the importance of these roads as cycling routes? Perhaps there is a misunderstanding about the Principal Cycle Network Plan within Council which could explain what has gone wrong here. We have written to Cr Cunningham, and to Cr Adams and Cr Cooper in their respective roles covering active transport and infrastructure to look into this and confirm that Brisbane City Council does intend to adhere to the Principal Cycle Network Plan, or to otherwise advise the Queensland Government and relevant stakeholders, including the bicycle user groups, if the routes identified in this plan will not be treated as cycling routes during future infrastructure works.
Also in Tuesday’s meeting, during a debate about dropping speed limits and adding pedestrian crossings in West End (something which residents have been pleading for for years), Infrastructure Chair Cr Amanda Cooper accused Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba of not really caring about pedestrian safety because he had been involved in a protest which blocked emergency vehicles from accessing a major hospital.
Let’s set the record straight on the protest on Vulture St in May last year: it was carefully and deliberately planned so that ambulances were not impeded. Indeed by blocking Vulture St briefly to the cars that usually clog the intersection during morning peak, the one ambulance which needed to get though the area during the time we were there was able to do so easily. If it had needed to turn left into Vulture St we would have cleared the road in seconds; something which is impossible when the road is full of cars!
The cause of congestion on our city streets is not people protesting for a better future, it is too many cars.
Elsewhere in the city
Elsewhere in the city, we checked out the latest views of the new Waterline Park (under the Riverside Expressway between Alice and Margaret Streets), and the revamped section of the Bicentennial Bikeway which is set to open later this year. This all looks very positive, but we need to ensure bike and pedestrian traffic is kept separated all the way along the riverfront—which is a key route for active travel, recreation, and tourism—so everyone can get where they’re going safely.
Stephen from Brisbane North BUG was pretty excited to discover this fabulous new bicycle parking at Lutwyche City Shopping Centre, just by the entrance lobby on the lower parking level.
Safe, secure under-cover bike parking in a well-lit area with convenient access can make all the difference. It gives someone going shopping confidence that their bike will still be there and intact when they go to ride it home. On the other hand, some centres we just avoid because it feels like they don’t want our business.
Victoria Park Golf Course has long been a no-go zone, to be detoured around rather than enjoyed for the vast majority of people in Brisbane. It has blocked direct cycling routes toward the Kedron Brook Road corridor, through to Kelvin Grove, and east-west across the top of the CBD. But recently the Lord Mayor has announced plans to open up this space again as a publicly accessible park—which we think is great news for Brisbane.
Now is your chance to make sure that the plans maximise active transport links. Tell Brisbane City Council what you’d like to see via their survey. We suggest that you tick the boxes for:
[✅] Separated bike paths
[✅] Pedestrian and cycle connections
You can also have your say on Council’s draft concept plan for an upgrade of Murarrie Recreation Reserve, which is home of the Balmoral Cycling Club. Check out the concept plan on Council’s website, and provide your feedback via the survey.
We’re happy to see improvements that increase the range of community uses for the reserve, on the proviso that it continues to serve (and improve) its role as one of the premier sports cycling venues in Australia. It’s vital that Council listens to the experts from Balmoral Cycling Club and Cycling Queensland, plus the other groups like Para Cycling QLD, Skate Queensland Association Inc who use this ground for wheeled sports.
Belinda from EaST BUG Inc went along to a community information session on Saturday to put our position: we’d like to see better connections to and through the park for people walking, running, and cycling (commuting and recreational as distinct from sports cycling) which don’t conflict with the use of the main track for racing and training. This is a great opportunity to improve access for locals into the park, and to nearby destinations like Murarrie station and Cannon Hill Plaza. While we accept the need for some additional car parking, we’re not keen on huge increases in the asphalted area. The reserve should primarily be a venue that people arrive at by bike (or on foot), and the emphasis should be on ensuring they can do so safely.
In other news
The Brisbane Times reported this week reports that two-in-five people use their cars for journeys of less than one kilometre. No wonder we have problems with congestion, obesity, and chronic disease related to inactivity! Our built-environment has a lot to answer for; often making it inconvenient, unpleasant, or downright unsafe to walk. What has that got to do with cycling? A lot! Many of the issues—particularly trying to cross roads—are the same. In busy areas, people walking and cycling should have separated space, and not just be squashed together into left-over space not reserved for parked and moving cars. Meanwhile, in the suburbs, shared paths can work well—but to be useful they need to connect to meaningful destinations, provide reasonably direct routes, and offer shade during the day and lighting at night. Well done to Queensland Walks and Heart Foundation for getting this issue on the agenda.
A parliamentary committee in the UK has concluded that technology alone cannot solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from transport. Instead of cleaner cars, they argue, we need fewer cars. The solution is improvements in public transport, walking and cycling, which benefit health as well as the climate.