Brenda Bones made the news this week, with Quest Community Newspapers reporting on the skeletal cyclist who was seen waiting patiently at the end of Viola Place for progress on the bikeway link that would allow her to connect safely through to Kingsford Smith Drive and the Gateway Bridge Bikeway. Despite a total of $3 million being allocated to this project over the last four consecutive budgets, the path remains an apparition. On Saturday evening we received reports that Brenda was no longer waiting on her bike. Clearly Brisbane City Council couldn’t be responsible, as it would take them years to get through the “design phase” of any project to remove Ms Bones. So we can only conclude that some good Samaritan let Brenda through the gates, and she is now happily pedaling south along the Moreton Bay Cycleway.
Mitch from Airport BUG spoke with Kat Feeney on ABC Brisbane Radio on Thursday from the locked gate at the end of Viola Place. It’s incredible that we’re still waiting for the short bikeway to provide the missing link in a connection from the Kedron Brook/Jim Soorley/Gateway North Bikeways to the Gateway Bridge) across land owned by TradeCoast Land P/L which is a controlled entity of Brisbane City Council. In case you missed it, you can catch Mitch speaking from 1:42:15 at this link.
Has there been a springtime thaw in the attitude of Brisbane City Council to the dangerous plan to mix cyclists and frequent bus services along Melbourne St suggested in the draft plans for Brisbane Metro? Well done to Brisbane CBD BUG’s Donald Campbell for refusing to let this issue go, and for giving an excellent address to Council on Tuesday afternoon. (You can read the transcript of Donald’s address on our website). We are encouraged that Deputy Mayor and active transport committee chair Councillor Krista Adams is now talking about ‘floating bus stops’ as a way to make the road safe for people riding bicycles between West End and the CBD. We look forward to seeing the new designs when they are ready.
Read more in this report published in the Brisbane Times. Thanks also to Queensland Walks for their support, helping us to highlight the issues for pedestrians when unsafe road conditions push people on bikes and scooters onto the footpath. Separated space for public transport, pedestrians, and people on bikes and scooters will make this area better for everyone.
Our highlight of the week was seeing the automatic counter on the Woolloongabba Bikeway (Stanley St, opposite the Queensland Children’s Hospital) up and counting for the first time on Tuesday. The one closer to the Goodwill Bridge is still under wraps however.
There was another snippet of good news on Wednesday morning, with a report from Brisbane North BUG of the continual slow leak of water across the North Brisbane Bikeway under the rail bridge at Windsor being fixed (we hope) with a new pipe.
Thanks to TMR for taking the time to update representatives from Brisbane South BUG, East BUG, and Bicycle Queensland on the latest M1 widening plans, which will extend the busway south from Eight Mile Plains, and extend the Veloway south to IKEA, near Paradise Rd. (An upgrade of the Paradise Rd roundabout is likely in a future phase). The bikeway plans look great. Many of the details are still in design stage, but we were happy to see plans for multiple local connections. One thing not included, but which we’d dearly like to see at Eight Mile Plains is a better active transport connection to the bus station from west of the motorway, which we think should be possible when the bus onramp is removed there.
We also received an update from Queensland Rail on one of the issues we’ve been consistently pushing; better bike parking at public transport, to enable more people to use their bike for short trips who would otherwise not be comfortable or capable of riding all the way to work or school. We’re starting to see some progress! Queensland Rail have rolled out 6 new bike enclosures and 33 new bike racks across the network so far this year. They’ve also just launched their new bike parking online booking system. You can now book online and pay your $50 refundable deposit by credit card, and simply pick up your swipe card at your chosen station. You can then manage your booking through the online system, including cancelling your booking so you can get your deposit refund. Unfortunately if you want to book parking at multiple stations you will still have to pay multiple deposits, but we know there are further improvements in the works. The new system is much simpler to use than the old one, so if you’ve been thinking about whether bike parking is available at your local station, register today and give it a go.
On the Campaign Trail
With a Council election coming up in March 2020, we’ve already been hitting the campaign trail, catching up with as many candidates as possible, and challenging them to put active transport at the forefront of their policies and thinking.
On the weekend, Belinda caught up with Patrick Condren, Labor’s Lord Mayoral candidate. It was great to hear Patrick commit to riding a bike around the city in his official capacity if elected next year. (And once he has healed completely from his recent bike stack). We need more politicians who understand the value of active travel.
At that same event, Belinda, Andrew, Margaret and David caught up with Matt Campbell who is Labor’s candidate for the Coorparoo Ward. We all like to travel by bike when we can, but the lack of paths and connecting infrastructure is an insurmountable barrier for too many people. Many areas of the Coorparoo Ward have greatly increased in density over recent years, but the infrastructure to allow people to get around safely and easily by walking, biking, and public transport has just not kept pace. It’s good to hear that Matt supports extending the Woollongabba Bikeway east to Norman Creek, providing lighting on the very dark paths in our area, and improving facilities for pedestrians, cyclists, and bus passengers around Coorparoo Square.
Meanwhile, in Teneriffe, Labor’s Central Ward candidate Judi Jabour and Linda joined Donald and Nick from Brisbane CBD BUG for a ride from Teneriffe to Howard Smith Wharves. It was a chance to check out some of the best side of cycling in Brisbane, and some of the aspects which don’t work so well. Donald’s hoping to take Judi into the CBD next time, where many city workers report that the last 500m of their trip is the most challenging part of their commute.
There are some great options for recreational cycling in Brisbane, but if you ride a bike for transport, it can soon become obvious how disconnected our bikeways are. The experience of getting from A to B on a bike depends a lot on the infrastructure – particularly at intersections – and traffic conditions en route. Other issues like lighting, personal safety, and being able to securely lock your bike at your destination all help determine if cycling for transport is worth it for the convenience and practicality, or just too frightening or difficult. It’s impossible to convey all of that in a short meeting, or even on a short ride. But we really appreciate political candidates who are prepared to listen, engage, and take active travel seriously.
In Other News
The city of Nottingham in the UK charges employers an annual levy of £415 per car parking space they provide. They use the income this generates to improve public transport and make it easier and safer to cycle (which has also included reducing the width of some roads to make room for bikeways). Despite initial opposition to the levy from the chamber of commerce who were convinced it would damage business and investor confidence, the opposite has happened. The city improvements have resulted in thousands of new jobs, and the number of businesses in the city centre has increased by almost 25%. Public transport use and cycling is up, car use is down, and carbon dioxide emissions have dropped dramatically.
All it takes is a little political will to overcome the initial resistance, and Brisbane could be reaping all the benefits of a city where people are given priority ahead of cars!