8 Nov 2020

North Brisbane Bikeway

In Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee Meeting this week, opposition leader Cr Jared Cassidy asked about recent media reports that Council were distancing themselves from the North Brisbane Bikeway. It was great to hear Committee Chair, Cr Ryan Murphy, respond that he doesn’t know where this notion has come from; he and Council are right behind the North Brisbane Bikeway stage 4 (which is currently under construction by TMR) and Stage 5—which will extend north to Eagle Junction.

Like us, Cr Murphy is looking forward to the ongoing collaboration with the State Government—with input from the BUGs and Bicycle Queensland via the Active Transport Advisory Committee—to improve and expand Brisbane’s bikeway network.

John on site with Tim Nicholls MP in 2015

The Northern Bikeway Action Group started informally meeting at Little Corner Café in Wooloowin six years ago to discuss how best to push for progress on the bikeway – which at that stage seemed stuck at Herston.

After a seemingly interminable wait for each new section, it’s exciting that the North Brisbane Bikeway has now almost reached the café doorstep. This week, some members of that original group caught up for an early coffee to celebrate progress on stage 4 (to Price St), and the recent statement from Cr Ryan Murphy that stage 5 is being planned to take the bikeway safely all the way to Eagle Junction!

Little Corner Café is a great vantage point to see the cars and trucks speeding along Dickson Street. Over the past six years, the volume of traffic has increased — but so has the number of bikes, as the North Brisbane Bikeway has inched northwards.

Newstead connections

During consultation for the Breakfast Creek Green Bridge, we were pleased to learn that Council are also investigating options for a good cycling connection towards the CBD from there. We agree with Cr David McLachlan that the riverside shared path really isn’t suitable as a major commuting route; it’s lovely for a slow ride with kids or for sightseeing, but shouldn’t be the path commuter cyclists are forced onto to avoid aggressive motor vehicle traffic.

Our first preference would be the most direct option: protected cycletracks on Breakfast Creek Road and along Wickham or Ann St through The Valley. However we understand Council favour Newstead Terrace towards New Farm instead. That’s a little less direct, and doesn’t have the advantage of increasing cycle connection to The Valley (which could be the boost those businesses need). However it does have other things going for it – being further from the noise and air pollution of the main road, and with more shade trees.

We hope Council will explore all options to make Newstead Tce safe and comfortable for cycling, as well as improving the amenity for local residents.

One option would be fully protected cycletracks – on each side, or bi-directional on the east where there are very few driveways. This would likely require a reduction in on-street car parking, or making Newstead Tce one-way (similar to the treatment at Mawarra St, Albion).

Alternatively, Council might look at reducing the speed limit on Newstead Tce to 30kph, and installing filtering so it’s not a through-route for motor-vehicle traffic.

Virginia Station bike parking cage

North BUG this week shared this picture of the new bike cage at the Virginia Station. This is right next to the Downfall Creek Bikeway and is a great spot if you want to ride and catch a train. Contact Queensland Rail to arrange access to the cage.

Bikeability Score

We like the idea of a bikeability scoring system that can quantify how a city is improving, and provide some sort of objective comparisons between cities. Unfortunately this analysis from We Ride Australia seems to use a slightly flawed model – which sees, for example, the Northern Busway, Queen St Mall, and various private roads where cycling is banned included in the bikeway network. Also, the apparent failure to calibrate against local knowledge undermines the credibility of the ranking algorithm. For example, no-one from Brisbane’s northern suburbs would agree that Dickson/Dawson St is a low stress cycling route compared to Gilchrist Ave which is rated high stress. Similarly, in the inner south, compare the door-zone bikelanes along busy Grey St through South Bank versus Riverside Drive at West End; or Stephens Rd and Merton Rd which this map suggests as low stress alternatives to the Woolloongabba Bikeway.

Melbourne Votes for Bikes

We might all be a little exhausted from election-watching at the moment, but results of another relevant vote have just been called: Sally Capp has been returned as Lord Mayor of Melbourne. Bicycle Network report that a core part of her campaign was a commitment to building 40kms of new protected bike lanes in the council area (which is not much larger than Brisbane’s Central Ward). Work has already begun on some of the protected lanes that will help people take to bikes in the wake of coronavirus restrictions – including the northern end of Swanston Street, Exhibition Street and Abbotsford Street in North Melbourne.

This should encourage Brisbane’s leaders Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, Cr Ryan Murphy, and Central Ward’s Cr Vicki Howard; making the city bike-friendly is a winning strategy!