A couple of our regular contributors were away at the beach this week (hence the cover image for this post), but we were still busy.
We took a look at the results of the 2019 Australian Cycling Participation survey – which are a little depressing, as rates have fallen across the country, although Brisbane has picked up slightly since 2017. We know that where good infrastructure is built, people will ride, so we are determined to keep pushing for good, connected cycling networks.
Also this week, the Federal Government and Brisbane City Council jointly announced a $115 million program of intersection projects across Brisbane, including the Moggill Road-Coonan Street Roundabout replacement we have mentioned previously. As part of that announcement, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said he wanted to “get residents out of traffic and able to spend more time doing what they love”.
I have a clear vision for the future of our city and we are committed to managing growth, building better transport networks while protecting our fantastic quality of life.
To achieve that goal, particularly of getting people out of traffic, these projects must prioritise people walking and cycling to get through safely and efficiently, as well as prioritising public transport so more people can leave their cars at home.
Speaking of good quality cycling infrastructure, the V1 Veloway ticks the boxes. We’re excited for the opening of the latest stage in mid 2020. Check out this time lapse video posted by Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey MP of one of the girders being installed:
At the other end of the spectrum, the shared path through Howard Smith Wharves remains a disaster. And, as this video shows, it’s not just a pedestrian and cyclist shared path, but shared with trucks and cars too, at 10am on a Saturday, when people are out and about enjoying the city by bike, scooter and walking. It is dysfunctional, and will detract from the appeal of the New Farm Riverwalk as a way for people to get around the inner city.
When the Howard Smith Wharves redevelopment was proposed, the importance of maintaining priority pedestrian and cyclist access through the area to the New Farm Riverwalk was mentioned as a key outcome. Council pushed to ensure a dedicated cycle facility through the precinct, but in the end the private consortium delivered a shared path.
Now our attention turns to Queen’s Wharf, where the Bicentennial Bikeway will be split in two with a shared zone in the middle. We can’t let it turn into the disaster that Howard Smith Wharves is proving for active transport.
On Friday, a number of Space4cycling folk joined Extinction Rebellion for a Cycle for the Climate ride around South Bank and the CBD. The ride and die-in in King George Square was reported as far away as the UK, with the Daily Mail reporting protesters “shut down Brisbane’s streets”. Anyone familiar with our city knows that each weekday morning Brisbane’s streets are jammed with cars, and incidents such as crashes and breakdowns cause far more disruption than a group of people riding bicycles could manage.
The Daily Mail headlined their article with a claim that one of the 70+ people yelled profanities at police. They appear not to have verified that claim, but if it did happen it’s not an approach we condone.
Where we do 100% agree with Extinction Rebellion is that it’s time to shift the way we think about transport. Private cars are an incredibly inefficient means of moving people in a cities, and it’s time to discourage them in favour of safe, healthy, human-scale transport.
The Greens’ Lord Mayoral Candidate, Kath Angus put it well:
I’ve come along to be an advocate for cycling and support some real action because I think that 20 years of being polite hasn’t done anything and personal action isn’t enough.
Speaking of Lord Mayoral candidates; on Saturday, Labor swapped theirs, dumping former candidate Rod Harding in favour of ex-journalist Patrick Conden. He has so far made a point of highlighting the poor state of Brisbane’s footpaths, and we are keen to hear his position on active transport.
Asking nicely and patiently waiting for bikeways to appear hasn’t worked well for bike advocates in the past. Three years ago, Brisbane City Council advised that they had “identified an opportunity to provide a connection from Weyers Road directly to the new Gateway Upgrade North Bikeway” and identified a preferred alignment. The link was intended to be constructed in time for the opening of the GUN bikeway.
That project was listed for funding ($218,000) in Council’s 2018-19 budget, and again (for $169,000) in 2019-20. The state government also announced last year that they had awarded $40,000 towards the Weyers Road bikeway design. The Gateway North Bikeway has now been open for 6 months.
Brisbane North BUG have been advised that Council will be starting environmental and topographical surveys this week to gather data to inform a concept design. While the land is Council owned, it is apparently leased by Macquarie Media, and there are copper wires in the earth forming a ground plane for the radio tower. Council needs to design and construct the bikeway link so that it does not damage this infrastructure and also meets the requirements for shared pathways including the capacity to carry emergency vehicles.
None of that satisfactorily explains why the surveys are only beginning just now. Surely a concept design would simply follow the existing gravel road?!
We’re left wondering if the link will be completed and open before the end of the current council term and within a year after the opening of the Gateway North Bikeway.
In Other News
Public health specialist and transport planner Lucy Saunders addressed a planning forum in Sydney this week with a call to put public health at centre of Sydney’s transport conundrum:
For many years we thought we could get people active by building sports facilities, but if we want people to be active every day of their lives we need it built into their daily routine, which means walking and cycling incidentally.
Now there’s a radical thought: “People and their health must take a higher priority than vehicle movement.”
It also seems that people in cities around the world are waking up to the reality that electric cars won’t save us from fundamental problems with our transport system.
Yes, many communities are spread out, but nearly half of all car trips are still less than 3 miles. With safer walking and biking options and more transit, reducing our driving could be easy.
It’s time to build a transportation system that gives people more options for getting around without guaranteeing more traffic, frustration and emissions — whether we have electric cars or not.
Energex have advised of upcoming weekend and overnight closures of the Veloway at South Brisbane for emergency work to upgrade underground electrical cables. The Veloway will be closed between Lower River Terrace and Allen St at the following times:
- Friday 4 October 20:00hrs to Monday 7 October 05:00hrs (3 Night and 2 Day closures)
- Monday 7 October – Monday 28 October 20:00hrs to 05:00hrs (Night time closure only)
- Friday 1 November 20:00hrs to Monday 4 November 05:00hrs (3 Night and 2 Day closures)
A detour will be in place, or you may prefer to take the Woolloongabba Bikeway along Stanley St and the ramp at Trinity Lane. (Allow extra time for the appalling light sequence, particularly on the outbound journey.)