28 March 2021

After the rain…

This week got off to a wet start. Rainy weather in Brisbane only accentuates how our streets are designed to prioritise people travelling by car.

It’s not just about a few puddles and flooded paths; almost everywhere you look around the city and suburbs you can see examples of design and maintenance priorities that marginalise people trying to walk or cycle and to access public transport. If Brisbane is serious about setting ourselves up to be an Olympic city, we need more focus on the small things that add up to a big difference in whether active transport is a safe and pleasant experience!

Victoria Bridge

Despite the wet weather, work seemed to have been progressing well on the cycleway on Victoria Bridge and William St – to the point where we predicted it might open as early as Tuesday morning. Sadly we were too optimistic with that. (Forgive us, we’ve been campaigning for 4 years on this. Now we’re so close, we’re very impatient!)

Bike with Brisbane

Fortunately the rain had cleared and the weather was beautiful in time for Bicycle Queensland’s Bike With Brisbane event in King George Square to launch the Commuter Harmony Alliance. It was great see a large contingent of VIP’s roll in after riding from Parliament House to City Hall via the new CityLink Cycleway. We heard from both Council’s Public and Active Transport Chair, Cr Ryan Murphy and Minister for Cycling*, Mark Bailey MP who acknowledged the role of community advocacy groups like Space4cyclingBNE and the BUGs, and highlighted how much can be achieved by working across levels of government and with the support of all major political parties – particularly when difficult decisions are required to prioritise healthy transport.

It was good to also catch up with Councillor Jared Cassidy and Amy MacMahon MP and representatives from Queensland Walks, Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland, Queensland Police Service, Department of Transport and Main Roads and Boral.

*Mark Bailey is of course the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, but let’s all agree that cycling is the best part of that portfolio.

Style Over Speed

Thanks Brisbane Style Over Speed for a fun ride on Friday evening celebrating the opening of the CityLink Cycleway. Elizabeth St and Edward St haven’t looked so stylish for 100 years! It was only a pity recent rain delays meant we didn’t get to use the protected cycleway across Victoria Bridge… Perhaps we’ll have to do it again soon??

The philosophy behind Style Over Speed is that the clothes you own are ‘cycling clothes’ and that a ‘bike ride’ is any trip to a destination by bike – and that can be as short as a few hundred metres and as slow as you like.

We all love Brisbane City Council’s CityLink Cycleway and want it to stay and to expand. We need you to give Council some positive feedback about the CityLink trial to help make it permanent.

Having said that we also want to connect with people coming from the northern suburbs. As a part of the feedback process, you might like to ‘suggest’ a link along George St from the end of the current bicycle lane to Elizabeth St.

Roma Street Proposed Development Scheme

The State Government’s Roma Street Cross River Rail Proposed Development Scheme is open for public comment until 1 April 2021. Our primary concern is for the future of the Normanby Bikeway which connects the North Brisbane Bikeway to the CBD… Except of course it doesn’t quite connect, and now is the perfect opportunity to remedy that!

Under the Roma Street Priority Development Area (PDA), the development scheme must include a plan for what buildings and infrastructure can be constructed within the relevant areas. There have been concerns raised that this will mean building on land which is currently publicly accessible parkland. That’s not quite true; the development area does not include the Roma Street Parklands per se, however it does include Brisbane City Council’s parkland operations centre – which we assume is important for keeping this small but lovely park in top condition.

The plan does anticipate future development on land along the rail line which is currently used for carparking, and which is included in the Brisbane City Plan 2014 as “Principal Centre (City Centre)”. At the moment this space is used for car-parking, and we think residential development makes much more sense in this location right on the edge of the CBD and on top of a major public transport hub.

But what might that mean for the Normanby Bikeway? There are some promising statements in the development scheme document, including:

“Development within the city centre transition precinct … protects and enhances the Normanby Bikeway link to Parkland Boulevard, establishing an adjacent pedestrian pathway to facilitate greater separation of pedestrian and cyclists within the PDA.”

Roma Street Cross River Rail Proposed Development Scheme

But unfortunately, recent experience warns us to be sceptical. The masterplan for Howard Smith Wharves included nice words about access along the river connecting the New Farm Riverwalk to the CBD. But the reality on the ground is that the developer has deliberately obstructed this critical active transport corridor. Similarly, the vision for the Queens Wharf precinct required upgrades to the Bicentennial Bikeway, yet somehow a public plaza is to be plonked on top of one our city’s oldest and most vital bike routes.

We’ll be preparing a submission covering the Normanby Bikeway, as well as calling for high-quality connections to Albert St, Roma St, George St, Kurilpa Bridge, the Bicentennial Bikeway, and west across to Petrie Tce and the Caxton St precinct.

You can find more about the Roma Street Cross River Rail PDA Proposed Development Scheme at the website.

Ipswich Motorway Cycleway

Spotted on the weekend: the nameless road connecting Ipswich Rd to Bannerman St, Oxley has been resurfaced as part of the Ipswich Motorway upgrade project, and it appears it will now be 2-way as far as the (expanded) driveway of the For Rent premises on the corner (previously Super Amart). A nice bonus for that property owner.

But despite raising it multiple times, we still we can’t convince TMR or Brisbane City Council to step up and construct a path to allow people to connect from Bannerman St to the new cycleway towards Rocklea. Unless of course they walk or ride into traffic or through the grass on the verge…

Speaking of the Ipswich Motorway project, it’s now very late 2020, and the underpass beneath Ipswich Motorway at Oxley Creek is still closed…

We understand that work on the service road is due to be finished by the end of March, and the project handed back to Council. So we’re wondering: will the underpass be open on Thursday??

Around the Suburbs

In Hawthorne, EaST BUG had asked the contractor responsible for the Queensland Urban Utilities sewer works in Hawthorne Park if they could create a temporary path so the detour route wasn’t a choice of walking/wheeling across the grass (this week through the mud) or making two 90 degree turns and conflicting with people entering or stepping out of a toilet cubicle! They were pretty disappointed to see that one small concession wasn’t provided. These works are expected to be going on until the end of the year.

Across in Coorparoo, we never did manage to get a flood level indicator installed at the Morley St underpass. Time to remind Council again…

30kph streets are good for health

Who wants 30km/h local streets? The World Health Organisation recognises the benefits of 30 km/h streets to protect all who use them, but especially the most vulnerable, like pedestrians, cyclists, children and older people and people with disabilities.

30 km/h streets where people and traffic mix help prevent road traffic deaths and promote physical activity, because when streets are safe, people walk and cycle more. #Love30

Well done to pedestrian advocacy group Walk Sydney for stating publicly and clearly that 30kph is the maximum speed we should be aiming for on neighbourhood streets in cities and towns around Australia. (See the Walk Sydney response to the National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030). It’s not just about the immediate road safety benefits either; slower traffic will encourage more people to take healthier alternatives, which will then reduce motor vehicle traffic volumes, and create better streets for everyone.

Banning cars from school streets

From the UK: Parents will be banned from driving to pick up or drop off their kids outside the gates of 11 Newcastle schools this summer. Vehicles will be blocked from travelling along the roads in the school zones between 8am and 9.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm – though residents and disabled blue badge holders will be allowed access. The aim is to cut air pollution, reduce parking and traffic congestion issues, and encourage more families to walk or cycle to school.

This follows an event last year where children at one primary school staged a protest against pollution and pavement parking outside their school gates – placing teddy bears along the pavement, singing songs, and waving placards.
Kids prefer fun and healthy transport. It’s time for the adults to step up!

Is driving the new smoking?

Is driving addictive? In this article the author identifies similarities between tobacco and private cars in their influences on health, and proposes that unnecessary driving is a major public health issue. Like tobacco, cars harm the health of users and others. Like smoking, car use is seen as an individual choice and policy responses to limit it are resisted by a powerful industry lobby. If someone really wants to quit driving there are often significant barriers that require will, creativity, and perseverance to overcome. The author looks at the evidence, and concludes #DrivingIsTheNewSmoking

The environmental cost of cars

As the size of the average car on Australian roads gets larger and heavier, here’s another reminder that particles from tyre wear-and-tear make up around 10-30% of microplastics entering the ocean.

In Queensland, the government has moved to ban single use plastic bags, straws, and cutlery, and introduced recycling incentives for plastic bottles. How about moves to restrict the environmental damage from motor vehicles?

Press Button to Party!

Don’t forget to press record on your phone or bike camera and collect up to 5 minutes of footage for an entry in the 2021 Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition.

Finalists will get to see their moves up on the big screen at the Schonell Theatre, UQ on 29 May as part of the Brisbane Bicycle Film Night, and be eligible for great prizes thanks to Epic Cycles.