- #SpaceForHealth progress – or lack of it
- eScooters and Micro Mobility
- On the ferries
- Another counter goes live
- Upgrading an intersection… for cars
- Around the suburbs
- Help with a research project
Across the world, the coronavirus pandemic is offering city planners a rare opportunity to rethink urban transportation to both accommodate social distancing and be more eco-friendly. In cities like Denver, which have experimented with “open streets”, most people surveyed want them to continue in post-pandemic life and the number one request has been a more connected network of bicycle and pedestrian thoroughfares.
Brisbane is still so-far stuck in a pre-coronavirus timescale, which has seen us build a couple of kilometers of bikeway each year. That’s far too slow to address the scale of challenges we face. At this rate it will be hundreds of years before Brisbane achieves a cycling network with comparable coverage to what we had in 1896!
For our recommendation on where to act first, and act now to create #SpaceForHealth and #HealthyStreets, check out our Recovery Routes map. Let’s start NOW, and keep rolling!
The Brisbane Times did report good news from recent discussions, with the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council committing to establishing a local Active Transport Advisory Committee to work together and “draw on the experience of cycling groups” to fill the gaps between state government and council cycling networks.
We’re happy to hear very positive messages from Transport Minister Mark Bailey and Public and Active Transport Chair Cr Ryan Murphy. As we’ve repeatedly said: Brisbane has some fantastic bikeways, but too often the reality of getting from A to B by bike requires navigating a few sections that are not at all friendly for active transport.
The Guardian also quoted Transport Minister Mark Bailey saying that the Queensland Government will “consider further investments in cycleways across Queensland in the near future” in response to the recent growth in demand.
We agree with the approach advocated by Bicycle Network; now is the time to set ambitious targets, and act quickly roll-out connected networks.
“It would be a tragedy if we came out of this and all those bikes that have been bought just stayed in sheds.”
If you are one of the thousands of people who have bought a new bike, get onto your local politician to tell them you want safe space on the streets so you can keep riding it to work, school, shops and to visit friend!
Also this week, the Brisbane Times reported on a proposal that Bicycle Queensland have put to both Council and the State Government for protected cycleways on George St and Mary St in the CBD.
George St is something of a no-brainer; the first sections were constructed in 2009 with the law courts buildings and Kurilpa Bridge, but the bikeway has never been completed to connect through to Queens St Mall, Brisbane Square, Queens Gardens, Parliament House and QUT. That means either trying to ride on a narrow and crowded footpath, or riding out of the CBD, along the river, and back in from another connection. It is high time to connect this vital link in the heart of our city!
In our proposal for a full CBD Grid, which we’ve been promoting since 2015, we nominated Margaret St rather than Mary St. But having the cross-link is more important than which street is ultimately chosen; the priority should be getting this done as soon as possible!
Brisbane residents have shown that they’re keen to jump on a bike. Protected cycleways in the CBD will ensure thousands of people have the opportunity to cycle to work in safety. It could also be the jump-start that so many CBD businesses badly need right now!
eScooters and Micro Mobility
On Tuesday, Council’s Public and Active transport Committee had a presentation and discussion on e-scooters. The key points:
- the current trial (which followed a competitive tender process, and allows for 400 Lime scooters, and 600 from Neuron) will be extended for a further 12 months from mid-July.
- to date there have been 2.5million trips by 540,000 riders
- the median trip is 8-10 minutes, and 1.3-1.5km
- each scooter is used for 5 – 6 trips per day
- complaints to Council have decreased over time, but footpath safety remains a key issue
- Council are looking at marking out specific escooter parking zones (starting in a few key locations)
- Neuron has innovated with a GPS lockable helmet attachment mechanism, which has helped reduce the loss and littering. (Could such technology have a future for public bike hire schemes?)
- Council are also considering ways escooters could address the first mile / last mile challenge of getting people to access public transport
That last point is of particular interest to us, as we see any innovation that reduces car-dependency and traffic around public transport hubs as a good thing. We also know that building more carparking at stations costs upwards of $50,000 per space; you could deploy a lot of scooters and fix a lot of footpaths instead with that! In Council, Cr Ryan Murphy specifically mentioned the (soon-to-be) Metro stations, including Buranda, Greenslopes and Eight Mile Plains.
We think that a good strategy for micro-mobility can complement active transport. The arrival of small electric personal mobility devices presents big opportunities to improve our city and neighbourhoods; something we shouldn’t lose sight of as we deal with a few problems they also present.
On the ferries
Speaking of public transport, we’re happy to report that the bike racks on the new double decker CityCat are much more secure and easy to access than on the older vessels. Downstream from Kangaroo Point, where there are no fixed river crossings for 12km to the Gateway Bridge, ferries and CityCats are the only options for active transport journeys across the river.
Another counter goes live
After standing covered in a plastic sheet for a year, we can forgive this traffic counter for enthusiastically displaying everything twice on its first day on the job on Friday. On Stanley St, near the southern end of the Goodwill Bridge, this counter would be picking up most of the bike traffic from the Gabba Bikeway, the Veloway, and from the eastern suburbs via Kangaroo Point. Even so, we suspect 10,000+ riders a day is a bit of an exaggeration. We’re happy to also be able to report that the nearby pot-hole has finally been fixed!
Upgrading an intersection… for cars
Every intersection upgrade should be taken as an opportunity to improve walking and cycling links—especially if the roads involved are on the Principal Cycle Network Plan. Yet Council’s plans for the intersection of Main St and River Tce at Kangaroo Point seems to be an attempt to stuff more cars down River Terrace, and misses the opportunity to improve the connection to the new Kangaroo Point Green Bridge, and what they are promoting as a “Knowledge Corridor Renewal Precinct” immediately south at Woolloongabba. We’re suggesting people join us in writing to the project team and Lord Mayor asking for a review of this project, and a more people-centred design. Read more on our latest blog post.
Around the suburbs
Reminder: the Jim Soorley Bikeway will be closed for 4 days from Monday 1 June, then will have a temporary structure (requiring cyclists to dismount) for 3 weeks. Council have nominated Nudgee Rd as the detour, but we don’t particularly recommend that. Brisbane North BUG have suggested analternative route on quieter streets. Thanks to Bicycle Queensland for marking the route on Friday.
Also on the north side, it’s good to see security cameras being installed in the Barfoot St underpass beneath the Gateway Motorway and Bracken Ridge Rd, at Bracken Ridge. Thanks to Rebekah from North BUG for highlighting this issue in the lead up to the Council election. Plus, finally, a map! Who hasn’t experienced getting lost in Bracken Ridge?
Now to get something done about the very tricky tunnel entrance from Barfoot St. It’s extra challenging with a tandem, tag-along or trailer!
On the southside, we’re excited about progress on Birdwood Rd, because we know that brings us closer to riding on the new section of Veloway!
Earlier this week, Minister Mark Bailey provided an update on the Birdwood Rd link:
We’re really heartened by the commitments from Council and State Government to work together with cycling groups to identify and fix other missing links around Brisbane’s bikeway network. As Minister Bailey points out: more trips by bike mean fewer cars on the road, and that makes for a better city for everyone!
Veloway traffic has picked up noticably in recent weeks – and that’s with many people still not commuting to offices in the CBD. On Friday evening, there were a dozen people on bikes waiting at the O’Keefe St crossing—and the usual driver failing to give way when turning into Carl St. Let’s hope an announcement about an overpass there is not too far off…
Help with a research project
Finally, can you help a UQ student with her honours thesis in Environmental Management? Hayley’s looking for interview participants who live car-free by choice, and meet simple selection criteria:
- Interviewee does not currently own a car.
- There are no reasons (health, finances, law, etc.) that restrict the participant from getting a driver’s license and/or owning or driving a car, if they chose to do so.
Each interview should take no more than an hour. If you are interested in contributing to research that will support sustainable transport in Brisbane and you meet the criteria (or if you have questions), please email Hayley at firstname.lastname@example.org