4 July 2021

A sad anniversary

Wednesday marked a sad anniversary: on this day in 2020, our friend Carolyn Lister was on her new bike riding to work, when she was tragically killed at the corner of O’Connell Terrace and Bowen Bridge Road within sight of the RBWH where she worked. Our thoughts are with Carolyn’s family, friends and colleagues.

We don’t yet have word from the Queensland Coroner about whether an inquest will be held. We’ve asked that the Coroner examine all the circumstances surrounding this event – including the suitability of this intersection for the traffic it handles. Hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists cross here to reach the hospital, as well as general motor vehicle traffic, and a busy heavy haulage route for multiple major construction projects.

We note that Brisbane City Council’s 2021-22 budget includes $392,000 under “Preliminary Road Design” for the intersection of O’Connell Terrace and Bowen Bridge Road, Bowen Hills. That typically means they will plan for an intersection upgrade this year, and budget for construction to begin the following year. But that will be two years after Carolyn died at an intersection that is glaringly unsafe.

Last October, Member for McConnell, Grace Grace MP announced that the State Government were looking at ways to improve connections between the bus station at the RWBH and the Bowen Hills train station, with a key focus being better safety for pedestrians and cyclists at this intersection. But we have heard nothing further.

In 2015 the Queensland Coroner recommended improved safety standards for heavy vehicles operating in busy inner city environments, but we have still seen no meaningful action towards the type of standards implemented in other leading global cities.

These are issues we raised at the first meeting of the Active Transport Advisory Committee last year, and they are still very much on our agenda.

Kangaroo Point Green Bridge

We were excited to learn that the contract has been awarded to design and construct the CBD to Kangaroo Point green bridge, and that construction is due to start later this year, with completion scheduled by the end of 2023.

However we have concerns about the proposal for a restaurant and bar, and other commercial premises along the bridge:

  • How will the restaurant and bar be stocked – will vehicles be driven onto the bridge??? (We know this could sensibly be achieved with trolleys, but for some reason businesses in Brisbane seem to struggle with that practice).
  • Will the ends of the bridge be continually blocked by delivery vehicles, Ubers, and taxis as happens at the end of Sidon St, South Bank and at Howard Smith Wharves?
  • Can we expect to find groups of drunk people wobbling out of the bar onto the cycleway, and hanging out having a smoke – like near Riverlife at Kangaroo Point, Howard Smith Wharves, and Eagle Street Pier?
  • How will this impact the neighbours who were previously concerned about noise from people walking and cycling across the bridge, but find it now also incorporates a night life venue on their doorstep? (Noise travels over water).
  • How will people at West End, Toowong and St Lucia who are already concerned about a green bridge near them react if they now think Council will add restaurants and bars to the other planned green bridges?
  • How much will these commercial premises add to the cost of the green bridge that the Lord mayor and Council are claiming as a record investment in active transport?

Lytton Road, Morningside

Recently, Council completed a “Congestion Busting Project” on Lytton Road, Morningside at Riverside Place. This involved removing the on-street parking on the southern side of Lytton Road for approximately 100 metres opposite Riverside Place, to accommodate a dedicated right-turn lane into Riverside Place.

(Isn’t it interesting that removing on-street parking to “bust congestion” is uncontroversial, but removing on-street parking to make conditions safer for people travelling by bicycle is deemed outrageous?)

East BUG questioned why this project did nothing to improve safety for pedestrians or for people travelling by bike. Lytton Road is after all on the Principal Cycle Network, and there’s no nearby alternative.

The response from Council’s City Projects Office:

“This section of Lytton Road does not have dedicated on-road bicycle facilities, and due to the constrained corridor, road geometry and site conditions, Council was unable to incorporate them as part of these works. The safety of all road users has however been considered and Council will maintain wide traffic lanes in order to minimise potential conflicts between cyclists and general traffic.”

Brisbane City Council

We note that the kerbside lanes are approximately 4m, which is indeed wider than is generally recommended for safety on urban roads. However, with a concrete centre median, or when a vehicle is in the adjacent turning lane, 4m is NOT enough width to allow a large vehicle to overtake a person on a bicycle while providing a legal 1m clearance.

With regards to pedestrian facilities, Council have said:

“The project also could not provide pedestrian facilities within the project extent (Lytton Road at Riverside Place). A pedestrian crossing facility would be more appropriate in other locations on Lytton Road, where there are less competing driveways and adjacent intersections.”

Brisbane City Council

In reality, the closest pedestrian crossing facilities on Lytton Road are little mid-road cages 400m to the east or 650m to the west. There is no continuous footpath along Lytton Road between Riverside Place and either of those crossing points.

The current works have made conditions more dangerous and intimidating for people cycling on Lytton Road. They also make no provision for people wanting to cross the road in an increasingly busy location.

Do you think “safety of all road users has been considered” in this project? Or do you think there’s better value available from South Side Pony Club for $3 a bag?

Wynnum Road, Morningside

East BUG also reported this week that another of the plastic bollards guarding the bike lane on Wynnum Rd, Morningside at the intersection with Jack Flynn Memorial Drive has been knocked into the gutter. Only one of the original 3 bollards guarding this skinny little lane is still standing.

On the other side of the intersection, the bollard we predicted would be the first casualty is still clinging on – although it has been battered so many times it has lost all its reflective stripes. Perhaps the regular drivers are now alert to the bollards and no longer lining the left hand side of the lane as they round the corner.

Also in Morningside, if you haven’t already, please add your signature to this petition from East BUG asking that Council remove two kerb-side parking spaces on Wynnum Road which create a particularly dangerous squeeze point for anyone travelling that way by bike.

The businesses here have their own off-street parking for staff and customers who arrive by car. Removing these two on-street parking spaces is a small, quick, and easy intervention Council can take to make cycling safer. It doesn’t require the cash, Baby.

Junction Road, Morningside

Last year, East BUG petitioned for protected kerb-side bike lanes to be installed during the resurfacing of Junction Road, Morningside. Currently, there is a 4m wide shoulder lane which is used for kerbside parking, with room for cycling between the parked cars and moving traffic; we’ve asked for that to be switched.

In response “Council has undertaken initial investigations into your request for a redesign of line markings to create protected bicycle lanes. Initial investigations have shown there is potential for your proposed improvements to be implemented on Junction Road.”

The resurfacing of the northern end of Junction Road has not yet started, and we see that there is $1,199,000 marked as “continuing” in 2021-22 budget under Roads Network Resurfacing for Junction Road, Morningside.

We’re hoping to receive positive news on bike lanes for Junction Road soon. Unlike many other streets around Brisbane, there’s room for kerbside bike lanes to be created here with almost no impact on the amount of space available for on-street car-parking. This should be an easy win.

Morningside roundabout

Can you tell that one of our key advocates was locked down in Morningside??

It looks like the mulch has been raked back recently, but last week the roundabout in Morningside at the intersection of Thynne Rd with Pashen St/ Burrai St was developing quite a trench from vehicles driving over the top of it. Council insists this roundabout is perfectly safe, but the geometry is such that drivers barely slow down. There’s regular evidence of people driving over the centre island, or into the fences on the corners. Fortunately, as far as we know, none of these incidents have impacted people walking or cycling here (including to reach the childcare centre on the corner, or the nearby primary school), but it feels quite uncomfortable.

There are designs to make single-lane suburban roundabouts like this safer by slowing traffic speeds and giving priority to people walking and cycling. The alternative design could fit into the same overall footprint, and would actually allow higher throughput of motor vehicle traffic at busy times.

A footpath in Coorparoo

Out walking this week, we noticed these markings which seem to indicate a footpath is about to be installed along Clarence St and Morley St near Coorparoo Station.

That’s great news. But also: why has it taken so long to get a footpath to an inner city railway station, and connecting from there to the Coorparoo Common Park (including a popular skate park) and Norman Creek Bikeway?

Old Cleveland Road, Carina

At least we now know why the temporary plastic barriers were place in the shoulder on Old Cleveland Road at Carina where Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland) are doing construction work for the Eastern Transitway. The shared path over the crest of the hill is nice and smooth, although if you want to cycle on the road either side, the ramps on and off are quite narrow.

Kedron Brook Bikeway

Brisbane North BUG brought us the good news this week: the Kedron Brook Bikeway behind the hockey fields at Shaw Park is open again. This is great news for people walking and cycling via this shared link on one of Brisbane’s busiest suburban bike routes.

The $163,100 project connecting Shaw Road and Kalinga Park in Wavell Heights was funded by the Northgate Ward Suburban Enhancement Fund, so thanks to local Councillor Adam Allan and everyone involved at Brisbane City Council for getting this done.

There is now more room for people riding on the path to pass each other, and to pass pedestrians. The tight bends at each end are safer too.

Granard Road Shared Path

In case you missed it, last week the Granard Road Shared Path officially opened. It connects the end of the Ipswich Motorway Bikeway to Balham Road near Bunnings, Rocklea. From there you can go up towards Marshall Road and the back streets towards Salisbury and further east, and TMR is doing planning and designs now to extend the shared path along Granard Road. It’s the next step in creating an east-west link between the V1 Veloway and Centenary Cycleway.

It was great to join Mark Bailey MP, Leeanne Enoch MP, West BUG and Bicycle Queensland at the ribbon cutting, and take a little spin.

Bikes on Trains

As mentioned last month, Minister Mark Bailey MP has worked with Queensland Rail so that bikes can be taken on suburban & interurban (i.e. Citytrain) trains during peak periods from 1 July. Apart from being aware of others, the main condition is that bikes are carried in the first or last carriage of the train and that you stay with your bike. We have had verbal confirmation from Queensland Rail that there is no restriction on which stations you can board or alight from. We thank the minister for working with QR to implement this 6 month trial!