7 Nov 2021

Pedalling for the planet

Your regular reminder: Bicycle use produces zero emissions, delivers far-reaching positive societal impacts and – most importantly – is a technology that is already widely available today. The world cannot afford to wait decades for fossil-fuel cars to be fully phased out and replaced by electric vehicles. We must urgently leverage the solutions that cycling offers by radically scaling up its use.

A global coalition of cycling organisations has written an open letter to all governments and leaders attending COP26, calling on them to boost cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and reach climate goals quickly and effectively.

North Brisbane Bikeway Stage 5

Last week we posted about our excitement to finally 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.

Too often, only the loudest voices of the residents living directly on a proposed cycle route are heard, so we thought it was important that to show up and speak up in support of completing this last missing link in what will become one of Brisbane’s longest cycleways. The proposed Stage 5 will create protected space on the main road (Dickson St), and complete the link through to the Kedron Brook Bikeway on local low-stress roads.

Brisbane North BUG and Airport BUG led a slow roll from City Hall to the consultation session at Eagle Junction Station on Thursday evening. Thanks to everyone who rolled up. For bicycle user groups, this last missing piece finally looks almost within reach after more than a decade of advocating for a link between the CBD and the Kedron Brook Bikeway. But for some of the residents along Sydney St in particular, the plan has come as an unwelcome surprise.

It was informative to hear Cr David McLachlan state clearly that he completely opposes this bikeway connection and will do his utmost to ensure it is not funded and not completed. That will be disappointing to Hamilton Ward residents who are in favour of better active transport connections, especially those people who would like to have the option to cycle to the RBWH or CBD without having to ride on busy roads like Dickson St.

Usually politicians are more equivocal, so we do appreciate Cr McLachlan making his position clear. Especially as it seems to be counter to his Council’s e-mobility and active transport strategy as espoused by Council’s Transport Chair, Cr Ryan Murphy, and (we believe) supported by Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Civic Cabinet.

It was interesting to listen to the concerns of some of the local residents about the proposal, as a number of these are a little counter to sentiment in other areas of Brisbane. Their chief concerns seem to be:

  • anger about the removal of the right turn from Keith St into Junction Rd (necessitating using Park Ave instead which is perceived as more dangerous and less convenient)
  • opposition to an additional signalised crossing on Junction Rd (with claims that the current signals are not synchronised and that the pedestrian crossing is on-demand).
  • opposition to traffic calming infrastructure, including speed platforms, raised intersection treatments, and a small roundabout at the intersection of Sydney St and Park Ave which aims to slow traffic speed on Park Ave and change the priority
  • concern that improved street lighting (consistent with the city-wide move to energy efficient LED lighting) would reduce neighbourhood amenity
  • anger about any reduction in the kerb-side space available for parking in local streets by commuters using Eagle Junction Station

It’s important that we speak up for those who will benefit most from better active transport connections. We all know someone who would love to be able to ride to work/school/social activities but won’t if it requires cycling on busy roads.

A second consultation was held in Kalinga Park on Saturday morning. We spoke to many people out riding on the Kedron Brook Bikeway who weren’t aware of the session, and were very keen to see a safe route connected between there and the current end of the North Brisbane Bikeway just fifteen hundred metres away on Dickson St.

It was good to see the Member for Clayfield, Tim Nicholls MP at Saturday’s session, so he could also hear from constituents who support safe connections that will give them and their families the option of healthy, cheap, environmentally-friendly transport.


Saturday’s session felt more positive than Thursday evening when the anti-bikeway folk went around confronting people, demanding to know “do you live here?” and interrupting conversations people were trying to have with Council staff; trying to silence those whose opinions they didn’t like.

If you didn’t have a chance to get along to one of the consultation sessions, you can still have your say by completing the online survey. You can find the link in the summary box on Council’s project page.

In response to the concern by some residents of Clayfield about a bike route down their quiet street, a number of people have asked us why we aren’t advocating for the North Brisbane Bikeway to go elsewhere, and what other options analysis and community consultation have been done previously.

In our latest blog post, we’ve attempted to document the tedious and tortured timeline of attempts to get a safe cycleway connection between Wooloowin and the Kedron Brook Bikeway.

If it is this difficult and this slow to connect 1.5km of bikeway, how well do you think Brisbane is prepared to deliver the Olympic Games in 2032??

Traffic stress

To underscore how important it is to have safe routes, check out this correspondence from a CBD BUG member:

“I have ridden to and from work from the vast majority of my professional working career. For the most of that it was mostly on bikeways. Because of that I found it a relaxing and enjoyable way to get to work and never understood why more people did not jump on a bike. This all changed just before COVID hit. I changed employer’s and found myself on the Bus. It was suppose to be safer then riding (along busy suburban streets) as there was no bikeway to work but had to fight with cars when walking across side streets after getting off the bus. After one too many close calls with people in control of motor vehicles failing to abide by the law, I jumped back on the bike.

For the twelve months I have been back on the bike I have had three close calls, one when a car cut across my path and two on the same roundabout where the persons in control of the cars failed to give way. This is not including the close passes at the traffic lights where the bike lane disappear on the other side of the lights. Even thought the ride is only two kilometres long I find myself on the floor at home after work for 10-15 minutes trying to relax and recharge. I had put this desire to recharge down to the more demanding job, that was until a few weeks ago. After work I had to detour and found myself riding home on a bikeway. Even thought it was busy with peak hour pedestrians and cyclists I found myself relaxing and recharging. By the time I got home I was completely fine. It dawned on me the ride to and from work was stressing me

I was stressed about getting hit at the roundabout; I was stressed about cars flying out of side streets; I was stressed about truck and buses being on my tail; I was stressed about impatient individuals doing close passes. In short, I am stressed about saying safe.

Now I know this is not everyone’s experience of riding in traffic but it is mine and explains to me why so many people try riding then give up. Not everyone wants to the “road warrior” myself included. It re-enforces why we need safe, protected and direct infrastructure if we want cycling to be an activity that is appealing to everyone.”

CBD BUG member

Pedal Powered Coffee

If all that stress makes you crave coffee, we have good news. If you cycle in or out of town on the North Brisbane Bikeway, look out for Brisbane’s latest pedal powered business. You will find Precious Coffee in Victoria Park, at the end of Gilchrist Ave (near the Land Bridge).

Yes, Ruth pedals her cart to work each morning and home at night – with some e-assistance thanks to a conversion by Blind Freddy Electric Bikes. Check out the Precious Coffee Facebook page for the latest news, and some photos of the local Brisbane businesses who helped to put together this remarkable cargo bike. Stop by in the morning for your caffeine fix, or for a pick-me-up on the way home.

*We’re not affiliated with Precious Coffee, but we are sometimes caffeinated by Ruth. Blind Freddy Electric Bikes supported our raffle at the Brisbane Bicycle Film Night.

Dutton Park Station

On the subject of consultation, Belinda dropped in to the Cross River Rail information session on Wednesday morning to talk about the upgrades to Dutton Park Station. We’re keen to see these station works be the trigger for upgrading the immediately surrounding area to make it safer and more inviting for people to walk and cycle to and from the station but also through the precinct, including along Annerley Rd. We’re concerned that for some trips, the station “upgrade” will actually make for a longer, slower, more inconvenient journey. We’re also concerned that the new station entrance on Noble St will deliver people onto an unsafe slip-lane, and we don’t think it’s good enough to say that responsibility lies with Brisbane City Council and is not related to the station upgrade.

We’ve asked that the Dutton Park Station project be included as an item for consideration by the joint Council and State Government Active Transport Advisory Committee. The station upgrade should not be treated in isolation from the surrounding environment. You can read our initial feedback on the project on our blog.

Nudgee Road

A new petition is asking for improvements to the existing bike lanes on Nudgee Rd and to join them up where possible. Please add your support.

Nudgee Road connects to three of Brisbane’s major bike infrastructure investments: the Lores Bonney Riverwalk (along Kingsford Smith Drive), the Gateway North Bikeway and the Kedron Brook Bikeway. Nudgee Rd is identified on the state’s Principle Cycle Network Plan, yet it has not had any improvements for cycling for years. New residential developments and shopping precincts along Nudgee Rd are seeing a change in use of this road which was once a freight route to Hamilton Wharf. It is now busy with people accessing their neighbourhood – many on bikes or scooters. Commuter cyclists are using Nudgee Rd too, riding from Kingsford Smith Drive or the Gateway bikeways and braving the last few kilometres on Nudgee Rd to get to their workplaces.

Roadworks

During the week, night work by Council on Stanley St, South Brisbane required closing a section of the Gabba Bikeway. It was great to see that the traffic management plan included creating a bypass for people cycling to get past by re-claiming one the general traffic lanes (which were mostly empty at that time).

This is what happens when cycling is taken seriously; it should be the default for all road works that need to close a bikeway or footpath. Well done to the Council crew.

It was a disturbingly different story on Wynnum Rd, Hawthorn. Hopefully no-one was on the footpath/bikeway when a vehicle crashed into the fence one evening this week, leaving it a mangled mess. This was reported to Council, and East BUG were relieved they acted quickly to make it safe; the twisted metal across the path was not particularly visible riding down the hill – especially with the glare of headlights coming towards you – and there was also a lot of broken glass on the ground.

Bike facility for Karana Downs

If you live in Karana Downs or Mt Crosby, you may be interested in this Brisbane City Council project to build a bike facility. They’re seeking ideas for what kind of facility would be desirable:

  • BMX pump track
  • Bike/scooter track
  • Learn to ride course
  • Or something else if you have an idea.

Click through to the post by Cr Greg Adermann, and let them know what you think would be best for the area.

(Note that a safe cycling route between Mt Crosby and Bellbowrie is out of scope, but we’d love that one day).