7 Feb 2021

Council returned to session for 2021 this week, so we went along to listen to Tuesday’s meeting of the Public and Active Transport Committee. First up in General Business, Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba congratulated the administration on the CityLink Cycleway along Elizabeth St, noting the good reports he’s heard already. Committee Chair Cr Ryan Murphy acknowledged the collective effort from Brisbane’s cycling community, who have lobbied hard over many years to see safe, separated bikeways in the heart of our city.

We’re really happy to see things coming together. Working across levels of government, between departments, and across political boundaries takes effort and persistence, but can deliver great results. We suspect Cr Murphy deserves a lot of credit for getting this project across the line.

Yes, it was a little quiet on the bikeway on Tuesday morning, but our rather soggy correspondent rode up Elizabeth St, and can confirm that even in a heavy downpour, there’s plenty of room for a comfortable ride, and it certainly beats jostling in the traffic on Ann St or Adelaide St! Especially in the rain.

In fact, we think the new protected cycleway on Elizabeth St is so good, it’s worth taking the long way to work/home just to enjoy rolling through the middle of the city. That’s what Belinda was up to on Wednesday when she found herself on TV… “It’s so good!” 😍

It started when Andrew from Bicycle Queensland was spotted on his way to meet with 9 News Queensland to talk about the Elizabeth St Cycleway, and Belinda made a cameo appearance as a stunt-rider ringing a bicycle bell. Ding!

Meanwhile, check out Edward Street!! Getting started on the CityLink Cycleway along Edward St (between Elizabeth St and the Botanical Gardens) seemed to take for ever. But look at it now – it really is popping up!!
It’s going to be incredible to be able to ride out of the Gardens, up Edward St, and connect in to Elizabeth St. This month! Woohoo.

Bike lanes disappear from Sir Fred Schonell Drive

Grace got in touch with us recently. She cycles from Toowong to the University of Queensland at St Lucia, and was upset to notice that the bike lane on Sir Fred Schonell Drive has been removed. It was there last year when Grace last rode home from uni, but it has since been scrubbed out and replaced with white chevron road markings.

Sure, it was only a short on-road bike lane but, like all bike lanes, it helped legitimise the presence of bikes on the road to people driving cars. To bike riders it was recognition and encouragement; it said ‘here is a space for you’.

People like Grace are still riding bicycles along Sir Fred Schonell Drive, but it is disappointing that either the university or Brisbane City Council (or both) chose to remove bike lanes and the benefits they offer people who cycle.

Ramping it up in St Lucia

On a happier note, Council are installing a wider two way ramp at the corner of Sandford and Brisbane Streets in St Lucia this week. This will greatly improve access to the shared path along Brisbane Street towards the Bicentennial Bikeway, and make it easier to negotiate with Uni bound bike traffic. Thanks Councillor James Mackay for taking note of this during the ride with Chris from West BUG last year!

North Brisbane Bikeway

Regular users of the North Brisbane Bikeway will be happy to see that yellow lines have now been marked on Dickson St near the crossing just north of Price St. This gives more space for north-bound riders to merge back into the general traffic lane when the bikeway runs out, and helps prevent southbound riders getting squeezed before they can reach the start of the protected bikeway.

Hopefully the wide trailer filled with gardening material was only parked there yesterday afternoon because the owner had not realised that leaving it in that location endangers others in the community.

Of course the ultimate solution is to continue the bikeway all the way through Eagle Junction to quiet streets which link up with the Kedron Brook Bikeway. We hope to hear plans for that from Council very soon.

A sorry contrast to the east side…

With the latest stage of the North Brisbane Bikeway, you can now ride 6km north from the CBD on a safe, separated, comfortable cycling facility. In contrast, the eastern suburbs, are very poorly served. Battle your way towards any of Wynnum Rd, Vulture/Stanley St, or Old Cleveland Rd – by the time you’re just 2km east from the CBD you will find yourself on cracked and overgrown footpaths, or battling with heavy traffic on a busy road.

The joint State Government and City Council Active Transport Advisory Committee is on this week, and at the top of the agenda from East BUG: what are the plans to provide for residents of the eastern suburbs who would like the opportunity to take healthy, sustainable transport?

Also, east-side riders: if you do make it safely down Wynnum Rd as far as Mowbray Park, look out for the holes which have opened up in the Lytton Rd bikeway as the ground has fallen away around the TPG service cover near the bus stop. The issue has been reported to Council, but not yet addressed.

Brisbane River at Morningside

Access along the southern bank of the Brisbane River is generally very limited, in contrast to the northern side. However there are a few big developments in play which offer opportunities to change the landscape. Earlier this week, Belinda caught up with Mike from BMI Group to talk about their plans for the “Rivermakers” development at Morningside, on land which includes most of the riverfront access between Colmslie Recreation Reserve and Colmslie Beach Reserve.

It’s exciting to see possibilities for opening up this beautiful area of Brisbane, and doing that in a way which is safe, given the industrial zoning and surrounding land use.

As well as the primary cycle connections specified in the Brisbane City Plan along Lytton Rd, and (in future) along the river bank, there is also a secondary connection across the site which would connect from near the Colmslie Pool and State Hockey Centre to Colmslie Rd. Challenges with elevation and protected vegetation mean that’s probably not quite as simple as the bikeway shown as MOR-SP-008 in the Local Government Infrastructure Plan, but we’re really keen to see active transport connectivity across the site. The more the better!

Belinda also pointed out that the original bunting along Lytton Rd advertising Rivermakers showed people arriving by bicycle. Unfortunately, right now, crossing Lytton Rd is diabolical. Also, the existing area needs bike parking! (It’s a pity LEDA recently moved from just down the road.)

The nightmare of Lytton Road

Speaking of Lytton Rd at Morningside. Our petition to Council to address the horror show that is this road through Morningside, Balmoral and Bulimba closed with over 600 signatures. It’s going to take more than adding a little turning lane at Riverside Drive to fix the mess!

Bulimba Barracks development

Just a little further upstream from Rivermakers: last weekend, Belinda and Rolf from East BUG attended the Bulimba Barracks Open Day put on by the developer Shayher Group and Urbis. It was good to see that a few other people had arrived on foot or two wheels rather than four, but the conversations still seemed to revolve around “where will all the cars go?” – as if cars are primary, and people an afterthought.

Providing hundreds of off-street car parking spaces but still insisting on free on-street parking everywhere simply guarantees a suburb full of cars. Any planner who was not dozing through University knows this, but very few seem willing to challenge convention. (And to be fair, it’s hard to argue with Ken and Karen from Bulimba; they know it all 🙄)

The narrative seems to be: Bulimba people drive everywhere, so therefore this new development must encourage that. Trying to argue for a hyper-local neighbourhood with good connections elicited: “people will still want to drive”. Of course they will if that’s the most supported option!

Disturbingly, we also learned that the whole site will be filled to raise it a minimum of 2.5m – which seems likely to require thousands of spoil truck movements, adding to the woes on Lytton Rd, the fatal Apollo Rd intersection, Thynne Rd, plus Riding Rd, and Hawthorne Rd which are not built to support heavy vehicle traffic.

Why not leave the low-lying space as parkland that floods every few decades, and then drains like dozens of others around Brisbane? That would leave room for an east-west cycle/scooting route separate from the riverfront promenade and away from motor vehicle traffic.

Sadly it seems the only vision Brisbane has for inner-suburban land is more car-centric residential development, where everyone drives to the nearby shops, schools, and community facilities.

A milestone at Sumners Rd

In the south west, an exciting milestone has been achieved on the Sumners Road Interchange Project, with the Centenary Bikeway tunnel having broken through on the northern side, and the Sumners Road shared path across to Darra being open.

Once the tunnel is complete and the northern portal integrated with the main bikeway, it will cut up to 700m from each trip, and eliminate waiting for traffic lights completely. The project is on track for completion later this year.