We’re determined to meet with as many of the aspiring council candidates was we can before the March 28 election. We’d like to enlist them as champions for active transport, and to help them understand some of the challenges for people who’d like to ride a bike to destinations in their local area.
Matt Antoniolli is running as an Independent in Walter Taylor Ward. He recently bought an e-bike to start getting more exercise and drive a little less often. He joined Chris for a ride on the weekend. Starting on the Bicentennial Bikeway in Toowong, they took a ride along the current cycle route to the University of Queensland, checking out the potential landing sites for green bridges from Toowong to West End and West End to St Lucia. Having experienced the winding and sometimes steep route through the back streets to UQ, Matt could see the benefit of a two-bridge jump as an alternative route to the University; Toowong to West End to St Lucia.
After waiting out a heavy downpour, Matt and Chris headed back to look at Sylvan Road. Like around 60% of people who can be characterised as “interested but concerned” when it comes to cycling, Matt isn’t particularly comfortable riding on busy roads. He was a bit shocked by the number of vehicles (including buses) cutting into the bike lane on corners. The hectic crossing at Miskin St, and the awkward offset crossing at Dean Street were also eye-opening. Matt supports our calls to prioritise protected cycling facilities between the Centenary Bikeway and Bicentennial Bikeway, along Sylvan Road
On Monday afternoon, Belinda met with Councillor Steven Huang at Eight Mile Plains park ‘n ride for a hot and slightly damp walk up Miles Platting Road to check out the path—or rather lack of it—towards Rochedale. The growing suburb of Rochedale was previously in Chandler Ward, but will become part of the Macgregor Ward following the March 28 election.
We also had a chat about options to improve walking and cycling access to the bus station from the west (Brisbane Technology Park and Gaskell St) to help relieve parking pressure in the area. Eight Mile Plains will be the first station on Council’s flagship Brisbane Metro service, which is designed to be “turn up and go“. Let’s get more of that turning up happening by bike!
Cr Huang is keen for a bike ride with us, but in a story that’s sadly familiar, he had his bike stolen a few years ago, and doesn’t have good bike storage in the apartment building where he lives. Fortunately, the first part is easily solved with a loaner bike!
Kudos to Karleigh Auguston, Labor’s candidate for Holland Park Ward who joined Belinda on Tuesday morning for a hot and steamy ride from Tarragindi through Holland Park and Holland Park West. The Veloway is a fabulous direct link to the CBD from this area, but many local destinations are along or just off Logan Rd, and it’s something of a barrier; there are not enough places for people walking and cycling to safely cross.
Karleigh’s a teacher and a mum to school-aged children, so it was pretty obvious to her that even where there are nice sections of bikeway, crossing major roads is often the biggest barrier to cycling with kids—let alone allowing them to ride to the park, school, or to catch up with friends on their own. A good cycling network should work for people of all ages and abilities, not just the ‘fit and fearless’.
Heading back to Holland Park the next day, Belinda caught up with another council candidate, Jenny Gamble, who represents The Greens in Holland Park Ward. Jenny rides a bike regularly; hip problems make walking painful for her, but cycling is fine, so now it’s her daily exercise. Jenny told how she experimented with riding to work at Logan, but gave that up for reasons which were far less about the distance than the conditions she faced along the way.
It was good to chat with a fellow active-traveler; we discussed the importance of making cycling easy for people of all ages, and attractive for reaching local destinations, not just for going on morning rides for exercise. We agreed on the importance of street trees, and that the trade-off should never be bikeway versus trees and green space—it’s the “black” (asphalt) spaces we need to reclaim.
Jenny is keen to see planning rules changed so it’s no longer possible to build or pave a whole block, creating urban heat islands like the commercial centre on Logan Rd at Mt Gravatt—which is ironically where the Holland Park Ward Office is located.
In other local news
We’ve been a little slow acknowledging this one, but thanks Brisbane City Council and Cr Vicki Howard for the upgraded path along the riverfront at New Farm Park, and the connection from Oxlade Drive to the ferry terminal. It’s fabulous!
We’re looking forward to more secure bike parking enclosures at train stations, and easier sign-on and access via the mobile app Queensland Rail are currently testing at Ferny Grove. Belinda and Bicycle Queensland’s Advocacy Manager, Andrew Demack had a chance to test out the system this week:
One of the great advantages of riding a bike is never having to hunt for parking. Except around the State Library, the bike racks are overflowing. Brisbane is busting to become a cycling city! (And more under cover bike parking would be good too.)
Thanks to the team from TMR who met with representatives from CBD BUG, South BUG, and East BUG this week to discuss options to improve the V1 Veloway at Worrell St, Macgregor – which is the one remaining on-road stretch of that major arterial bikeway between South Brisbane and Eight Mile Plains. It was good to talk through the technical constraints and feasibility of different solutions. Planning is still in early stages, and there are other stakeholders to be consulted before a proposal is prepared and submitted for funding, but it’s good to know people are on the case. We look forward to being able to share further updates when these become available.
Finally, 26 January is a holiday for many, and the end of the long summer school holiday season. We acknowledge that it is a day of mourning for many of Australia’s First Nations People. We also thank our emergency service workers and volunteers, and many others in service industries who haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy a public holiday or long weekend. But whatever you got up to this 26 January, we hope you had a chance to get there by bike!
In Other News from around the World
Cycling is for everyone – even one of the greatest basketballers of all time. LeBrom James has thrown his weight behind New York’s push for protected bike lanes, and particularly to see them provided in lower income areas of the city where kids need them to get to school, get to the park and, of course, the basketball court.
A bike opened doors, allowed me to get to safe places after school, and gave me access to opportunities I never would have known.
The Belgian city of Ghent demonstrated that it is possible to switch attitudes to traffic overnight when they implemented a new traffic circulation plan in 2017. Streets were blocked to motorists one Sunday evening and – to the disappointment of the waiting media–there was no wailing, no gnashing of teeth, no gridlock. Despite all the dire predictions, business is booming, air pollution and noise levels have fallen dramatically, and necessary car trips are actually faster. It was remarkably cheap to implement too: for the equivalent of $6.5million the city of Ghent was transformed.
It is tedious to keep being told “that wouldn’t work here”. Every city which has made bold moves to reduce motor vehicle traffic has seen great results. We simply need a Council willing to lead!
Residents of Ghent talk about how life has changed since the 2017 “circulation plan” dramatically reduced the number of cars in the city. It’s quieter, more sociable, business is flourishing, and the air tastes better!
The whole thing is awesome. If your city is planning to do the same my only advice is: don’t listen to the haters.
Curious about cargo bikes? Then make sure you get along to see Motherload at the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2020 at Schonell Theatre, UQ on 14 March. Get your tickets now! Motherload is an award-winning crowdsourced documentary about a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of the digital age, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote.
If you come along early, you can get up close and personal with some cargo bikes and their awesome owners at our cargo bike expo. The free expo will be your chance to get insights on different types and find out which cargo bike might just be for you. Cargo bikes will be on display from 5pm and the movie night starts at 6:15. Food and refreshments will be available from the Pizza Caffe.
We are not the only people who think Cargobikes are awesome. Several families in Brisbane’s West End rely on cargo bikes for their grocery shopping, school drop off and daily transport needs. Sadly the popularity of cargo bikes means they are a target for thieves. A Dutch Cargo bike was stolen on Friday afternoon between 3:10 and 3:30pm from outside Mews on Montague Rd, West End by two Caucasian men driving a white Mitsubishi 1 tonne van with roof racks. Keep an eye out and please check if you’re buying a cargo-bike second hand.
Don’t dawdle – there are only two weeks left to get your entries in to the Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition. Don’t be late!