31 Oct 2021

Climate Crisis

Your regular reminder that cycling is zero emissions technology!

As world leaders meet in Glasgow to discuss how each nation must do their part to help protect ourselves and each other against the worst effects of the climate crisis, CBD BUG did a quick review of the Australian Government’s “Net Zero by 2050 Plan“. A simple word search reveals mentions of

  • Bike = 0
  • Bicycle = 0
  • Cycle = 12 (but non in reference to a two wheeled vehicle)

According to the document transportation makes up 19% of all emissions with a good percentage of those by private passenger vehicles travelling less then 5kms. Considering the federal government constantly talks about technology not taxes it begs the question: why not provide a framework and funding towards infrastructure supporting well established technology that is quiet, cheap and zero emissions. AKA the bicycle!

North Brisbane Bikeway

At a local level, there’s great news this week: finally we have detailed plans for connecting the North Brisbane Bikeway all the way to Eagle Junction and the Kedron Brook Bikeway! This has been a mission, with two previously planned routes abandoned when a few residents and businesses objected.

This third version is one we strongly support: it continues the protected cycleway along Dickson St (including a new priority crossing at Price St), crosses to avoid the roundabout, and turns toward the shops at Eagle Junction (but avoiding major driveway crossovers) to a new signalised crossing over busy Junction Road. From there the bike route will use low-traffic streets (Keith, Sydney, and Jackson Streets) with a variety of traffic calming treatments proposed.

Don’t forget to mark your diary and get along to one of the feedback sessions this week:

  • Thursday 4 November 2021, 5pm-7pm at Eagle Junction Train Station
  • Saturday 6 November 2021, 9am-11am at Kalinga Park (near Jackson Street).

This long-awaited missing link will continue the protected cycleway along Dickson St; provide a signalised crossing over Junction Road; and then connect via low-traffic neighbourhood streets to Kalinga Park and the Kedron Brook Bikeway. We can’t wait to have a low-stress cycling route from Brisbane’s inner north all the way to Toombul, Nudgee, Deagon, and the Redcliffe Peninsula.

Now is not the time for complacency though; we’ve seen similar projects delayed for years or badly compromised in the past, so we need to speak up in support of good active transport connections. Connected networks enable people to ride who would never be prepared to mix in hostile traffic on busy roads like Dickson St.

It’s almost a year since North BUG talked to Rachel, and almost a decade that she’s been waiting for this bikeway to be built. Rachel has been patiently waiting for the bikeway link since 2012, when she started a three-year degree at Queensland College of Art at Southbank. When she began working and volunteering in the CBD (and later West End/South Bank) a few years later, she wanted to save money on public transport because she was no longer eligible for concession fares and didn’t have a high income.

Returning to university to complete a teaching degree, Rachel enrolled at Australian Catholic University at Banyo rather than study in the city or south side. ‘I chose ACU because of the proximity and ability to save money on transport fares, especially as I am not a full time student who is eligible for a concession card,’ Rachel says. Lack of safe active travel routes limits education options for people like Rachel.

It’s time to tell council how important the bikeway through Eagle Junction is to you.

Exhibition Station

Representatives from Space4cyclingbne and Brisbane North BUG met with the Cross River Rail delivery team on site in Bowen Hills where the new entry to Exhibition Station will cross the North Brisbane Bikeway at the Bowen Bridge Road underpass. This entrance will be the main connection between the station and the RBWH when there are events at the Exhibition Grounds (such as this week), and we had flagged concerns about how the design would impact the busy arterial cycleway. A steady stream of passing cycle and scooter traffic helped underscore the importance of getting this right.

We had a good discussion about possible improvements to sight- lines, space, and path legibility, as well as the site constraints and the importance of this cycling corridor as the primary connection from Brisbane’s northern and north eastern suburbs to the CBD and Fortitude Valley. We also discussed ways the pedestrian path could be made more inviting. Even early in the morning, this area feels like a cauldron, making for an unattractive walk to and from public transport.

Slip lanes

Nearby: Don’t forget to sign and share our petition asking Brisbane City Council to improve conditions for people walking, cycling and scooting who use the intersection of Butterfield St and Bowen Bridge Rd, Herston—right in front of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Uncontrolled high-speed slip-lanes don’t belong in in the city! Let’s make it safer and more comfortable to walk or ride instead.

… Speaking of which, here’s another petition. This time to do something about the omnishambles at the intersection of Brunswick St / Bowen Bridge Rd and Gregory Tce. This intersection has two dangerous slip lanes; terrain and surfaces that threaten to upend a person using a mobility scooter or wheelchair; and a tiny concrete island which is too small to fit even a handful of people or a single bike.

Brisbane City Council spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year attempting to “bust congestion” by remodelling intersections. We think it’s well past time to properly invest in alternatives to driving.

Fig Tree Pocket

To the western suburbs now, where Brisbane City Council is upgrading the intersection of Kenmore Road and Fig Tree Pocket Road to install traffic lights.

This intersection has a bad crash history, an absence of safe pedestrian crossings, and is a Principal Route on the Principal Cycle Network Plan, so this upgrade was something we were looking forward to and a much needed safety improvement for all road users. Unfortunately, the proposed design does not include provision for cycling at all.

Kenmore Road is quite steep beyond the intersection, at around 15% gradient, but at the moment has a fairly well cleared hard shoulder forming an informal bike lane. The new design, however, will convert Kenmore Road from a two-lane road into four lanes, with two lanes providing south-bound traffic, a right turn lane into Fig Tree Pocket Road, and a single lane heading north. As a result, this shoulder will be gone, and there are no plans for on road cycle lanes or a shared path. The existing footpath is too narrow with too many driveways to be suitable for cycling.

Basically, this “upgrade” is a downgrade for cycling, and once all the space is used for motor traffic, the chances of getting a retrofit done in the future are remote. It’s now or never.

This also highlights that the Principal Cycle Network Plan route in this location is a bit strange – it puts the principal route up 15% gradient Kenmore Road, and down 15% gradient Pylara Street, rather than along flat and direct Fig Tree Pocket Road. Perhaps an easy way to resolve this issue is to widen the proposed footpath on Fig Tree Pocket Road to be a shared path? The Principal Cycle Network Plan is there for a reason, and an upgrade should be an upgrade for ALL road users, and that positive provision for cycling is essential.

Brisbane Airport

Meanwhile, over at Brisbane Airport, resident spooky skeleton Brenda Bones was keen to be part of the Halloween celebrations. Sadly she can’t take a trick when the unfinished Lomandra Drive bike path is anything but a treat.

Old Cleveland Road

It has now been over a year since East BUG wrote to the Director General of Transport and Main Roads Queensland about the lack of provision for cycling on Old Cleveland Road (a principal cycle route) in the Gateway Motorway on-ramp “upgrade” project. The road-work speed limit now seems to have been lifted, but the cycle crossing is still not finished…

Further along, the new shared path along Old Cleveland Rd past Westfield Carindale is creeping along… It will be great to finally have a connection from old Cleveland Rd to the Bulimba Creek Bikeway too (although you will need to turn and double back to reach it).

(Yes, there should have been priority crossings for the path users at Carindale St, but unfortunately TMR did not apply that standard here).

More local updates

Elsewhere in Carindale, it’s good to see some recent repairs to the start of the Warick Creek Bikeway, off Greendale Way. (It’s a pity Council didn’t remove the banana bars at the same time as the concrete works though.)

In Morningside, it looks like there has been another episode of uncontrolled driving at the intersection of Thynne Rd and Pashen/Burrai Streets. Brisbane City Council insists this roundabout is perfectly safe, but we’re terrified the next such incident might happen when there are kids heading to the nearby childcare, primary school, or high school. Or perhaps when some of our senior residents are out for a walk, or someone is riding their bike.

A Queensland Parliament Enquiry into Cycling Issues back in 2013 recommended 30kph for single-lane urban roundabouts. But Thynne Rd is 60kph while Pashen and Burrai Steets are 50kph, and the design is such that drivers barely need to slow down. Regular evidence like this suggests some don’t bother slowing at all!

Grattan Institute: Reduce car-dependency

A new report from the Grattan Institute recommends that state and local governments act to discourage driving and make public transport and cycling safer and more attractive. That includes doing more to separate cars and trucks from cyclists and pedestrians, and lowering urban speed limits to 30km/h, as Paris and other global cities are doing, to reduce pollution and accidents.

Grattan Institute modelling for this report shows that an emissions ceiling for new light vehicles could achieve at least 40 per cent of Australia’s emissions reduction task between now and 2030, at virtually no cost to taxpayers.

We have the technology!!