26 July 2020

Kicking of the 2020 election campaign

AnthonyBishopMurarrie

With less than 100 days to go until the state election in Queensland, the candidates are out campaigning – and so are we! On the weekend, Belinda from East BUG and LNP candidate for Bulimba, Anthony Bishop took advantage of a few hours of fine weather for a ride around the Bulimba electorate. We checked out the Moreton Bay Cycleway along Lytton Rd (hint: it doesn’t exist), along with some other options to connect the Gateway Bridge Bikeway and the parks along the Brisbane River – including the State Hockey Centre at Colmslie Recreation Reserve. We discussed possibilities for ‘green’ river crossings, such as a tunnel from Oxford St or Brisbane St, or a bridge from Hardcastle Park or Ulhmann St. That’s topical right now with the cross river ferries out of action.

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Our journey home was a chance to look at how connections across and along the rail corridor could be improved, including to the stations at Norman Park, Morningside, Cannon Hill, and Murarrie. Belinda pointed out where some relatively simple improvements could make it much easier and more attractive to reach local destinations by bike (or walking), and could provide better value than station car parking which is expensive to build, mainly serves people who drive from outside the area, and sits empty and uninviting on weekends.

From The Conversation this week; every kilometre walked or cycled (instead of driving) has an economic benefit by reducing traffic congestion and vehicle operating costs, improving health and the environment, and saving on infrastructure spending. It’s estimated every dollar invested in cycling infrastructure may reap up to five dollars’ worth of benefits. Now is the time to help kick-start our COVID-19 recovery by investing more in walking and cycling, and to reap the many benefits for the Australian community!

We were excited when Council first announced plans for “pop-up” bikelanes in the CBD as part of their recent budget, and we are as eager as anyone to see them rolled out. But they haven’t exactly popped up like we had hoped, and we’re not the only ones feeling pretty let down. Hopefully, Council can move forward soon with treatments that can be quickly and cheaply adjusted if specific issues become apparent after installation.

It’s not a new idea; we wrote to previous Lord Mayor Graham Quirk back in 2015 proposing that street space be converted to enable people to travel safely in the CBD. In response to our petition on the issue in 2016 – which garnered almost 3,000 signatures – Cr Schrinner (now Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner) said it was something Council were considering for the future. Cities around the world have been moving to make their streets safer, quieter and more efficient by installing protected bikelanes. COVID-19 shutdowns have reminded us all how important local places and connections are, and thousands of Brisbane residents have rediscovered the simple pleasure of being able to travel by bike.

Meanwhile, Sydney keeps rolling out their protected cycleways, giving more people the option to ride to work instead of driving or taking public transport (so more space is available for those who need to travel from further away).

Pictures thanks to @FionaBike on Twitter

Of course there will always be people who are upset about change. But this is a great piece by Councillor Jess Miller in response to criticism that Sydney City Council have acted unfairly by quickly rolling out protected cycleways designed to allow more people to ride safely to work.

“Not everyone can work from home, 1.5 million people cannot all drive into the city every day and nowhere near that number can physically distance on public transport.”

As we all struggle with the impact of COVID-19, we think it’s relevant to ask: “When will the safety of many come above the privilege of some?” And what role do city leaders have to play in making those calls?

Overcoming objections requires leadership, but it works! This is how you bust congestion: In Paris, two-thirds of Rue de Rivoli has been turned over to active travel; now look at it flow! 🚲🚲🚲😍

Victoria Park Vision

Reminder: Council’s community consultation on the Victoria Park Vision closes on 31 July. You can have your say via the survey, or by writing to the project team.

VicParkConcept

We welcome the inclusion of “Reconnection” among the guiding principles, and the emphasis on active travel connections and links into the surrounding neighbourhood in the strategies for designing the park. We like that one of the stated goals is that

“Cycling trips from northern suburbs to the CBD will be quicker with new direct north-south links on the park’s edge to the Enoggera Creek Bikeway and new North Brisbane Bikeway.”

We also think this is an important opportunity to better connect the QUT Kelvin Grove campus and Kelvin Grove Urban Village to the CBD and Spring Hill.

VicParkDestinations

To satisfy the intention that “Corridors will be created to accommodate a broad range of park users, from pedestrians and commuter cyclists to leisurely bike rides” our submission has identified the key cycle commuting connections, noting that these should be 4m wide to enable social side-by-side cycling and should be separated from pedestrian facilities, so as to reduce stress and make trips to and through the park enjoyable for everyone, no matter how they are accessing it.

VicParkKeyCyclingLinks

For all cycle routes, the emphasis should be on:

  • Creating smooth and direct connections, without sharp corners.
  • Minimising changes of elevation as much as possible, and minimising gradients by following contour lines.
  • Separating commuter cycle traffic from pedestrians and people who are enjoying the park for leisure.
  • Smooth, secure surfaces, and lighting sufficient to enable cycling to feel safe and comfortable in all conditions.

Around the Suburbs

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We were incredibly sad to learn of another death on our roads this week. On Tuesday morning, a man was cycling at Yeronga, when we understand he was involved in a minor collision with another rider but then fell into the path of a ute. He died of his injuries on Friday. We extend our condolences to this man’s family and friends. We also recognise this would have been traumatic to others involved and those who witnessed the crash, and our thoughts are also with them. Every life lost on the roads is one too many. RIP.

In happier news, thanks to our spotter on the Gateway North Bikeway at Nudgee, we can show you the first signs of construction work on the link to Weyers Rd. According to Council’s web page, work is expected to take approximately three months to complete, weather and site conditions permitting.

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Nearby, if you’ve ridden along Nudgee Rd through Banyo, you’ve probably noticed there are a few sections which are less than ideal for cycling. You might like to support this petition to address what is probably the worst section – where there is no bike lane, no shoulder, and no footpath!

(As always with petitions to Brisbane City Council, make sure you watch out for the email to validate your signature.)

Over in West End, we were a bit sad to see the “West End rides bikes” mural disappear from the building at the corner of Montague Rd and Rogers St which used to house CAMS Cycling Collective. Bikes are still the best way to beat congestion – especially in an area like this with such rapid growth. Don’t stop riding bikes West End!!

Speaking of murals, a new public art project got underway in Morningside this week as part of the Brisbane Canvas project. The phrases “Take me away” and “Bring me home” reference war hero Jack Flynn who the road is named after.

You know what else EaST BUG think would be great? A footpath on Jack Flynn Memorial Drive; crossing points to make it easier to access the station; and safe bike lanes on these principal cycle routes!!

Most of the roads in the eastern suburbs of Brisbane are the responsibility of Brisbane City Council. But Lytton Rd, Murarrie east from the Gateway Motorway is one of the few exceptions—it’s a Queensland Government asset. People want to walk and ride this way—in fact they rely on it to get to work. But currently their choice is between the dirt (mud?) shoulder, or mixing with trucks on the road.

Further east, warehouses have sprung up along Export St, Lytton which will be the site of the recently announced Amazon fulfilment centre. It’s good to see that these facilities have bike racks at the entrances for staff who ride to work.

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However it’s a pity that safe infrastructure wasn’t incorporated when the roads around the area were developed. That would enable people to cycle from home or one of the nearby train stations at (Lindum, Wynnum and Wynnum North) without having to contend with the heavy vehicle traffic. As you would expect for a warehousing and freight distribution centre, there are a huge number of truck movements in the area.

But maybe there’s hope? Spotted on the Moreton Bay Cycleway at Wynnum – a traffic counter on the corner of Pritchard St and Wynnum North Road. Could there be plans afoot to complete the cycleway around to the Gateway Bridge?? The original plans for the Port of Brisbane Motorway that were circulated back in 2007 showed a bikeway, but it was never built. The confusing side-ways map shows a cycleway along Lytton Road, which could hardly be further from the truth.

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We can’t leave the Lytton area without a special shout-out to the Moreton Bay Cycleway along Pritchard St, which deserves some sort of prize for the most poorly coordinated bikeway project. Not only did it involve ripping up and replacing the newly installed kerbing, footpath and lights along Pritchard St, but the final result doesn’t include a crossing at the rail line, forcing people cycling west to cross the busy road twice. Needless to say, almost no-one does.

We’re torn between wanting to see a rail crossing here, and the sinking knowledge that Queensland Rail will insist on a squeeze point with signs instructing cyclists to dismount. (How do other states seem to manage rail crossings for pedestrians and cyclists which aren’t so hostile, but we can’t here?).

The Pritchard St bikeway (shared path) also doesn’t connect to the Peter Frawley Cycleway along the latest stage of the Port of Brisbane Motorway – which in turn really doesn’t connect to anything much at all. So close, and yet, so far…

There’s brighter news from Airport BUG, where Rachel noticed that four new directional signs to the airport have appeared on the Kedron Brook Bikeway. These are the first directional signs to the Brisbane Airport for bikes that we know of and they are great. The distance is updated as you get closer to the airport which is cool.

Now we need to get some way-finding for cyclists and pedestrians on airport land too! It would be great to have signs or pavement markings to guide people from the airport to Kedron Brook Bikeway, Kingsford Smith Drive Bikeway or to the Gateway Bridge Bikeway.

This week the Brisbane Times reports on what sounds like a good initiative to gather information on “near miss” hotspots rather than just serious crash locations. As Chris says in this article, most regular riders have made adjustments to their journeys after experiencing a few close encounters at particular locations. Or perhaps you’ve found yourself explaining to a friend or colleague where *not* to ride when they ask you the best way to get somewhere by bike. It would be great to have this data captured and used to inform priorities for infrastructure upgrades.

Cycling to Better Health

We know we’re preaching to the converted, but here’s a good reminder of the health reasons for prioritising active travel – helping everyone to live longer, happier, and healthier lives!

“I treat people with leukaemia and other blood cell cancers and also manage the consequences of thrombosis as well as other problems affecting the blood. It has become increasing clear to me that many of these problems are caused by either air pollution or inactivity, so walking or cycling reduce the risk, while driving a car gives a double whammy of risk.”

Here’s a lovely reminder of the value of safe and inclusive infrastructure to enable people of all ages and abilities (physical and cognitive) to travel by bike.

“When I cycle, I leave my dementia at home. I become who I was, not who I am.”

Also in the UK, support for cycling as a means of tackling the country’s obesity crisis is coming from the top, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushing for measures to help people hop on bikes for their everyday transport as a way to get healthier.

Government officials say that a key challenge will be to make people feel safer on bikes in busy urban areas. This, they accept, will mean spending huge sums on segregated cycle lanes and secure cycle parking as well as developing low-traffic neighbourhoods.

It doesn’t matter where you sit on the political spectrum; investing in active transport simply makes sense!