30 May 2021

Tragedy in Woolloongabba

The week we were deeply saddened to learn that a young man was killed while riding his bike at Woolloongabba on Thursday afternoon. Our thoughts are with this man’s family and friends.

We understand that the incident involved a collision with a bus at or near the southern busway entrance from O’Keefe St, Woolloongabba (opposite Gillingham St).

We believe it is important—in time—to understand how such a terrible outcome occurred, so that any similar future tragedy can be avoided in this location or elsewhere. Zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads is the only acceptable goal.

Please be mindful when reading or commenting on any social media posts that this man’s family and friends will be devastated. (Something the Brisbane Times didn’t seem too concerned about). Obviously such an incident will also have been traumatic for the driver, witnesses, and first responders involved. Please take care of your own wellbeing, and look out for your friends, family, and colleagues who are affected by this news.

Brisbane Bicycle Film Night

On a happier note after such sad news, we had a great night on Saturday at the Brisbane Cargo Bike Expo and Brisbane Bicycle Film Night. Thanks to everyone who joined the fun. More pictures and links to come, but first, check out this very stylish group who arrived together from King George Square – including our film competition sponsor Epic Cycles, the crew from Cycling Without Age, Blind Freddy Electric Bikes, Dutch Cargo Bike – Brisbane Test Centre, Krankie Cargo Bikes and Renee Dikeni who is fundraising for World Bicycle Relief.

Bikes on Trains

Minister Mark Bailey MP wasn’t able to open the Brisbane Bicycle Film Night in person this year, but his short film drew a cheer from the crowd when he announced that from July, the Queensland Government will commence a 6 month trial permitting bikes on trains at all times – not just restricted to off-peak travel.

A few sensible conditions: during peak, bikes should only travel in the first and last carriage, with a maximum of 2 per carriage. Also, as always, make sure you leave plenty of room for disabled travellers and have consideration for all other passengers.

Thanks to Bicycle Queensland for leading the advocacy on this issue. Being able to trip-chain is a huge boost for people who have a long or awkward commute; for regional bike tourism; for people starting out cycling and not yet up to making the full journey by bike; and for those times when a mechanical issue or some other event means your day doesn’t go as planned.

For more, see the media release.

Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition

Thanks to all the fabulous film makers who entered the 2021 Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition. Every year we’re surprised and delighted by the quality of submissions. This year we had drama, suspense, documentary, history, culture, activism, animals, gastronomy, and a chase sequence… No romance though; what does that say about the year we’ve just lived??

We’ll aim to make the entries available online in coming weeks, but for now, congratulations to Young Achiever, Olive Skyring for ‘A Bike Day Out’, Runner Up Christine Schindler for ‘Tour De Carmichael’, and Sam Wheat and Izzy Bartlett for ‘Turnstyle Bike Shed’ which our judges awarded Best Short Film. Sam was back with Noah Bruce-Allen for a very popular People’s Choice winner ‘Tasmanian Degustation’.

Thanks again to Epic Cycles for sponsoring the competition!

Yes, we aim to be back in 2022 for the sixth edition of the Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition. Don’t leave it until the last minute to start thinking about your entry!

Kangaroo Point Green Bridge connections

Earlier this week, EaST BUG were happy to see that the plans released for the connections to the new Kangaroo Point green bridge include a raised priority crossing for Main St, and a new underpass that will provide separated walking and cycling connections from the new bridge landing at Scott St to the eastern side of the Kangaroo Point peninsula at Deakin St (opposite Ferry St).

The plans include a new dedicated walking and cycling connection between Main Street and Deakin Street that will provide direct, dedicated access for pedestrians and cyclists between the bridge landing at Scott Street and the eastern side of the Kangaroo Point Peninsula, as well as ongoing travel to and from the eastern suburbs. The design includes:

  • a new underpass via the existing Council depot beneath the Story Bridge
  • a raised priority crossing from the Scott Street bridge landing across Main Street
  • realignment of Deakin Street to provide an upgraded pedestrian path and two-way off-road cycle path
  • integration of new pathways with the existing road and path network
  • a relocated access driveway to the existing Council depot car park on Main Street.
  • reduced 40 km/h speed zone at both approaches to the raised priority crossing on Main Street (subject to a formal speed limit review).

We missed the community information session on Saturday while preparing for the film night, but there is another coming up in Maloney Park, 234 Main Street, Kangaroo Point on Saturday 5 June from 12 noon to 3pm.

Green Bridge at Bulimba

It was a little frustrating listening to Cr Ryan Murphy in Council’s meeting this week sharing the outcomes of the State Government’s 2015 investigation into an active transport bridge connecting Bulimba to Teneriffe. From what Cr Murphy said, this appears to have been a very cursory study:

  • It found the clearance under any bridge would have to be 30m – without apparently questioning the need for that restriction. How often do ships approaching 30m need to come up the Brisbane River? (As far as we’re aware, the last visit of the Tall Ships was in 1988) How much benefit would such a visit bring to Brisbane compared to the benefit a bridge would bring to Brisbane residents every day?
  • Did they consider an opening bridge? It is not difficult to build a bridge which opens to allow taller vessels to pass – there are examples of in other Australian cities and all around the world. It’s not a new idea!!
  • Did they consider a tunnel for active transport, rather than a bridge? We know the river is quite wide between Bulimba and Teneriffe, but it’s also shallow, so possibly ideal for a submerged-tube tunnel. Again, there are examples from around the world – including under the Thames in London, and under Rotterdam Harbour.
  • Did they consider bridge landing locations that are already significantly elevated? For example Uhlmann St (10m), Virginia Ave (30m), or MacPherson Outlook Park (30m), or elevated sites in Bulimba and Hamilton.

We thought perhaps Council should go back to their own archives and pull out the apparently more comprehensive review of river crossing options completed on their behalf in 1925. Roger Hawken recommended a Transporter Bridge between Bulimba and Teneriffe and later a tube, with an estimated cost of £2,000,000. Alternatively, “since the river has a long straight reach allowing of navigation, an opening bridge having 60ft clearance above high water might be considered.”

But later in the week, it emerged that the State Government’s 2015 investigation into a green bridge across the Bulimba Reach of the Brisbane River did investigate an opening bridge, and a range of possible landing locations. They found that a bridge was not only feasible, but would also be well used. (Indeed, we think the usage estimates of 3,600 per day are possibly low given the demand we know exists, and the incredibly poor state of cycling facilities between the eastern suburbs and the CBD on the south side of the river.)

Yes, such a bridge would be a significant capital investment. But compare that to the $130 million Council recently spent widening a short section of Lytton Road through East Brisbane which did absolutely nothing to “bust congestion” or give people from the eastern suburbs better public transport options.

We agree with the people Brisbane Times interviewed on Oxford St: a green bridge (or tunnel) connecting Bulimba to Teneriffe or Newstead is “a fabulous idea”.

Yes, it would be a significant investment, which probably couldn’t be done by Brisbane City Council without State Government assistance. Although we note that Council spent around $60 million on the Indooroopilly Riverwalk, not to mention $650 million widening Kingsford Smith Drive (including the Lores Bonney Riverwalk), plus a new bridge over Breakfast Creek…

Around the Suburbs

Mount Gravatt East

On Tuesday, Council’s Infrastructure Committee discussed the “upgrade” of the intersection of Wecker Rd and Newnham Rd, Mount Gravatt East. The plans don’t appear to have changed significantly since we wrote about them in October last year. As we noted then, it’s a shame this $13.7million intersection widening project doesn’t provide better cycling connections – particularly between Wecker Rd and Creek Rd which are on the agreed Principal Cycle Network Plan.

We can’t see a reason that the pedestrian crossing over Wecker Rd couldn’t be a single movement. Why should people walking be forced to press a button and wait for left-turning traffic to stop, and then wait again (on a small concrete island in the middle of the road) to cross the rest of the way?

We had previously expressed concern that the intersection-widening was coming at the expense of green space, but it seems that the project will require resumption of 3 full properties (currently under negotiation), so the residual land may be used to increase Graham Lord Park.

The 13 street trees being removed for this project were dismissed as not particularly significant, which is an interesting contrast to the reaction any time a tree removal is proposed for a bikeway. The “loss” of a dozen car parks didn’t even rate a mention.

The project does include a widened footpath (shared path) along the front of Graham Lord Park, but it’s disappointing to see that will finish just before the culvert where the narrow path is squeezed hard up against the road.

Morningside

Late last Friday we received notification from Brisbane City Council that they will be “undertaking a safety upgrade on Wynnum Road, Morningside, between Rossiter St and Riding Rd”. The first stage will be installing “retrofit separation devices” (RSD) “along the lane dividing lines between vehicle traffic and cycling lanes, to prevent vehicles from encroaching into the cycling lanes at intersections.”

First up will be the intersection of Wynnum Road and Jack Flynn Memorial Drive – near Morningside Station. It appears from the very fuzzy diagram provided, that the flex-posts will be installed along the right hand side of the green strip approaching the intersection inbound on Wynnum Road, and along the short strip of bike lane after the intersection for both inbound and outbound riders on Wynnum Road.

EaST BUG are baffled that anyone could look at this intersection—with its high speed slip lanes, long green strip sandwiched between lanes of fast traffic, abruptly disappearing bike lanes, and gravel pit on the escape ramp to the footpath—and think that a few flex posts in the middle of the road will help address the problems.

We’re concerned the RSDs could actually make things worse, as they will restrict cyclists’ ability to adjust their position to avoid left-turning vehicles which swing wide over the bike lane on the approach to Jack Flynn Memorial Drive, and they will prevent confident riders from moving out to claim the left lane before the bike lane vanishes after the intersection. There’s also a danger the flex posts will be knocked into riders, or left sagging over the bike lane after being struck multiple times.

Also as part of their “safety upgrade on Wynnum Road, Morningside, between Rossiter St and Riding Rd”, Council have advised they will be installing “retrofit separation devices” (RSD) “along the lane dividing lines between vehicle traffic and cycling lanes, to prevent vehicles from encroaching into the cycling lanes” at the intersection of Wynnum Road and Junction Road.

Again, we’re concerned that this treatment misses the point. The danger zones in this vicinity are:

  • the pinch-point under the railway bridge where the bike lanes squeeze down to 1m wide (not compliant with Australian standards), and the bent and beaten fence demonstrates how often vehicles run over the lanes.
  • the pinch-point where the shoulder disappears just after Gary St, and the cars parked in the shoulder as you climb the hill
  • the two parking spaces on the bend just after the Burrai St lights.

Installing some separators in places where encroachment into the bike lane is not a big issue and calling that a “safety upgrade” to this section of road is putting lipstick on a pig.

Less than a week later, the lipstick application had commenced. #FreshKermit now delineates the bike lanes on Wynnum Rd, Morningside on either side of the intersection with Junction Road. We’re still waiting for the “retrofit separation devices” (RSD) to be installed in coming days; a combination of rubber kerbs and flex posts.

We remain concerned that some sections of the lane that will be edged by the separators is not a safe width. The minimum widths for bike lanes specified in Austroads measure from the face of the gutter presuming that surface conditions are “of the highest standard”.

“Where there are poor surface conditions over a section of road adjacent to the gutter, then the exclusive bicycle lane should be measured from the outside edge of that section.”

AustRoads standards

Heading west, when coming out from under the rail overpass, the left hand general lane bulges out on the approach to the intersection, whereas the cycle lane hugs the gutter, even where there are a number of drainage grates and cracks/holes in the surface.

Will this green paint and plastic make you feel safer / more comfortable cycling on Wynnum Rd through Morningside? We’re not convinced.

Stones Corner

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Councillor Fiona Cunningham opened stage 1 of the Hanlon Park rejuvenation at Stones Corner on the weekend. The local kids didn’t need any invitation to go and play in the creek – although they were momentarily distracted by cake.

We think Brisbane City Council should be congratulated on taking this step to open up what had for decades been an unattractive concrete drain. We love seeing people enjoying their local park which they can walk or cycle to without hopping in the car.

A number of people did express frustration at the decision not to open a connection from the Norman Creek Bikeway through to Lincoln St with this stage though. While we can understand concerns about people cycling past/through the playground, we’re also cognisant that the detour routes via Cornwall St and Junction St or Cleveland St present possibly greater hazards.

Kangaroo Point

At Kangaroo Point it was a bit sad to see the the CityCycle station on Shaftston Ave being removed this week. It was the most easterly CityCycle station south of the Brisbane River. Hopefully we’ll hear about the new hire e-bikes soon, and the coverage area will extend into the eastern suburbs.

On a bright (yellow) note, it’s good to see the plastic curb barriers protecting the counter-flow lane have been replaced. After more than 10 years, the remnants of the old barriers were very dilapidated.

Carseldine

Across town, North BUG report that the works on Cabbage Tree Creek Bikeway, improving the end of the bikeway at Dorville Rd, are complete, as is the bikeway through the new Carseldine Urban Village. The Village has separated bike and pedestrian paths on its main access road off Beams Rd. This makes for a very safe and pleasant access through the Village to the Cabbage Tree bikeway on the western side of Dorville Rd.

The access to the bikeway at Dorville Rd and its associated crossing have also been upgraded. It includes a wider refuge mid road for easier crossings, a wider pathway and better access to the bikeway with turning fillets and more sensible bollard treatments.

While not quite 10/10, it is a huge improvement on what was there previously!

Brisbane Airport

Brisbane Airport has a major development plan for an industrial estate along Lomandra Drive. The plan proposes the route for construction trucks to be along Lomandra Drive and Sugarmill Rd. These roads currently have no connected footpaths or bicycle paths and people walking and cycling must use the road.

The Brisbane Airport Corporation claim in their major development plan that the additional construction traffic will have no impact on the safety of these roads. Airport BUG disagree. BAC plan for 16 earth moving vehicles per hour; that is one every 4 minutes. Anyone cycling or walking will have regular interactions with these vehicles. Considering the heightened risks heavy vehicles pose to cyclists, borne out by the tragic deaths of Brisbane cyclists in recent years, we argue that the plan has obviously not considered the safety of active transport users.

Public comment closed this week, and Airport BUG told BAC that the plan does not appear to have considered the effects of construction or operational traffic on existing cyclists and active transport users. (The plan does mention active transport in the finished development but there are no details which doesn’t inspire confidence).

We need to BAC complete the pathway along Lomandra Drive prior to construction commencing. We also need Sugarmill Rd to be made safe for cycling. Currently Sugarmill has no footpath and no rideable shoulder in places so cyclist are squeezed between cars parked on the shoulder and moving vehicles. Sugarmill Rd is mostly owned by Brisbane City Council and we have emailed the council with our concerns.

St Lucia

West BUG were happy to spot this great new maintenance station which has been installed at the end of Brisbane Street at Sir Fred Schonell Drive, just opposite from Guyatt Park, St Lucia. This will be really handy for the river-loopers, but also local residents, particularly students, who rely on their bikes to get around. The integrated foot pump is particularly cool.

Indooroopilly

We’ll be at the official opening of the Indooroopilly Riverwalk this Sunday 6 June, with an event in Witton Barracks Park, Indooroopilly from 10am – 12 noon. You’re invited to join West BUG earlier for a family-friendly social ride from Rocks Riverside Road (end of Counihan Road, Seventeen Mile Rocks) to the Riverwalk and Witton Barracks park for the fun!

Around the World

This advertising campaign from the UK has a simple message: Nearly 60% of car journeys are under 5 miles. There’s a better tool for the job. For short journeys, #BikeIsBest.