This week started with good news, with the pedestrian and cycle bridge from Kangaroo Point to the bottom of the CBD one step closer to reality. This will be fantastic for pedestrian access to the city and gardens from one of the highest-density residential areas in Australia. It will also dramatically shorten the cycling route between the CBD and inner eastern suburbs, inviting thousands more people to take healthy, active transport for their daily business. Unlike projected usage numbers for Brisbane’s car tunnels, we expect—like the Goodwill Bridge—that usage for this green link will far exceed predictions and provide a great alternative to congested roads.
There was also important news for the western suburbs, with Council putting out two alternative options for replacing the Moggill Road/Coonan Street roundabout at Indooroopilly. We’re underwhelmed by the initial designs. While both options include on road bike lanes on Moggill Road, there is no indication that these are physically separated. On a major 60kph, high traffic road like Moggill Road, separation is absolutely essential.
The designs also show no specific cycling facilities down Coonan Street towards the Jack Pesch Bridge and future Indooroopilly Riverwalk, despite the accompanying newsletter saying “(Moggill Road bike lanes) will improve active transport options for residents in Brisbane’s south-west suburbs, linking into the future Indooroopilly Riverwalk, and create opportunities for potential future active transport infrastructure -in the broader cycling network.” Coonan Street and Moggill Road are both prioritised on the Principal Cycle Network Plan, so high quality provision for the active transport network is essential.
There are public consultation sessions being held at Indoooroopilly Shopping Centre on September 14, from 9-11am, and September 19, from 6-8pm, at the food court on level three. We urge everybody to attend and ensure the need for all ages and abilities cycling infrastructure is part of this major intersection upgrade. (Chris from West BUG was quoted in an article in the Courier Mail about the project).
In Council this week, the committee responsible for Public and Active Transport (among other things) heard a presentation on the Wellington Diversion, which will link the North Brisbane Bikeway at Wooloowin (currently under construction by the state government) to the Kedron Brook Bikeway at Lutwyche. The plans appear consistent with the version we discussed at the consultation sessions in back in July. There was some interesting discussion arising from questions:
Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba asked about the intersection of Chalk St and Kedron Park Rd, highlighting the importance of getting the signal timings right so that people riding on the major cycleway are not required to wait long periods while priority is given to turning motor vehicles. This issue has been managed very poorly on the Woolloongabba Bikeway. The presenter assured Cr Sri that the lights for people cycling would default to green with the left turn arrow only triggered when a vehicle is detected waiting to turn. This is similar to the arrangement at Kulpurum St on the new bikeway along Lytton Rd, East Brisbane.
Councillor Jared Cassidy asked about the reasoning for the 30kph speed limit on the “green street” along Bradshaw and Wellington Streets. This is according to the AustRoads guidelines – based on evidence of survivable speeds when people on bikes must interact with motor vehicles. Committee Chair Councillor Krista Adams was careful to highlight that Council would only apply these safety measures to designated “green streets” and they don’t have any intention of applying safe speed limits more generally on neighbourhood streets. (Unfortunately)
Also on Tuesday morning, a number of our supporters like Andrew were out counting people on bikes for Bicycle Network’s #SuperTuesday. This annual event involves volunteers from the cycling community carrying out counts at sites across the city for 2 hours on a Tuesday morning, to provide data that helps track the state of cycling around the country. In Brisbane, this data will be added to that collected by 20 permanent automatic cycle counters around the city, and a detailed count which Brisbane City Council performs in October, systematically counting cyclists at around 60 sites for 13 hours a day on four days of the week.
In the CBD, there’s yet another reason for Brisbane City Council to hurry up and build a grid of safe, separated bike lanes. Albert Street, the safest northbound link for people riding their bicycles through the CBD, will be blocked during construction of Cross River Rail. Bi-directional bike lanes on George and Edward streets will be crucial for cycling access while that construction is under way. We need safe, protected, 2-way lanes so people can move around the CBD by bike or scooter. Your move, Brisbane City Council!
Airport BUG updated us on progress on the North Brisbane Bikeway, reporting: The crossing of McDonald Rd at the intersection with Albion Road is starting to form, there are some traffic islands outside Arlette’s Kitchen. New smooth bitumen has been laid on Bridge St and more metres of bike way have been made including near the Old Fire station, but access is still messy. Some people can’t wait and are riding on the bits of bikeway already completed. Access is open only for pedestrians at this stage.
Meanwhile, our photos of the Woolloongabba Bikeway along Stanley St were popular on social media. The ‘secret’ to beating congestion is in plain view…
Talking with Councillors
On the advocacy front, we took to the suburbs this week to visit a number of councillors, starting with Andrew from North BUG who caught up with Councillor Tracy Davis at her McDowall Ward office. Cr Davis is the Deputy Chair of Council’s Public and Active Transport and Economic and Tourism Development Committee. Although she doesn’t consider herself a cyclist, Cr Davis has accepted an offer to go for a ride with Andrew to check out some of the shared pathways in the McDowall Ward and to look at the opportunities to fill in missing links on the Downfall Creek and Cabbage Tree Creek Bikeways.
On the other side of town, Belinda from EaST BUG visited Coorparoo Ward councillor, Councillor Fiona Cunningham, for a chat about cycling on the south side, and the importance of completing missing links and ensuring that council and state government projects are co-ordinated.
It’s hard to pick a single top priority issue when there’s so much to be done, but Belinda’s nominations for Coorparoo Ward are the Logan Rd underpass at Stones Corner (which we’re really happy will finally go ahead as part of the Hanlon Park upgrade), and extending the Woolloongabba Bikeway east along Stanley St East. We also spoke about other missing east-west connections – particularly the importance of Old Cleveland Rd (and how that needs to be improved for active transport as part of any state government busway works), connections to the V1 Veloway, and the barrier presented by Logan Rd. Like us, Cr Cunningham is excited about the proposed new bridge to Kangaroo Point, and was keen to hear what additional connections are needed to ensure it best connects into East Brisbane, which is set to become part of Coorparoo Ward with the upcoming boundary changes. (#1 an accessible underpass, and #2 complete the Riverwalk around to Mowbray Park).
Any mum to a toddler will sympathise with Cr Cunningham’s worries about her fitness to get back on a bike, but Belinda has promised to pick an easy route if we can coordinate a ride. After all, our goal is to make riding feel safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities! (We will point out that a good start would be to swap that “50 in my street” sign to 30.)
Finally, this week, Chris from Brisbane West BUG met with Councillor Kate Richards to discuss space for cycling in Pullenvale Ward. Many of the key issues in the area relate to the Moggill Road corridor, which is a State road, and we’re still waiting to hear the outcome of the Planning Study the State Government initiated in 2017!
One issue Council is in control of though is the development of a master plan for the Cubberla Reserve sporting complex. We’re pleased to learn that improvements to the busy but narrow bikeway are in scope for review in this process.
The Council-proposed green bridge at Moggill was a hot topic. While Chris expressed a view that having it closer to Bellbowrie and adjoining Riverhills would be better from a destination sense, Councillor Richards provided an excellent case for the benefits of the proposed alignment at Wacol, including geological stability, access to emergency services and the potential for improving other major utility services into the Moggill area. With options discussed to make the cycling link from the bridge to the Centenary Bikeway as simple as possible, the case for this bridge in this location is compelling, and something we certainly support.
Councillor Richards has been very proactive with the banana bar removal program, with a dozen or so sets of bars removed from the ward over the past 12 months. Chris suggested some priorities for the coming year, and we’re looking forward to seeing more of the yellow hazards vanish!
In Other News
A Canadian study published in the Journal of Transport and Health shows that offering bike-skills courses is not enough to get people cycling. We know what works: protected bikeways so people can get where they need to go without having to mix with fast motor-vehicle traffic!
- A short adult bicycle course (2–4.5 h) was associated with a short-term increase in leisure cycling.
- One year after the course, there were no changes in bicycling for work, errands, or leisure.
- Without changes to physical and social environments, courses may be insufficient to overcome barriers to bicycling uptake.
- For lasting impact, augment courses with strategies to maintain routines or complemented with social bicycling opportunities.
Protesters in London held a mock funeral procession and “die-in” to highlight the damage caused by car-centric city planning. Not just the direct danger to people on bikes from careless drivers, but also the damage that vehicle emissions cause to public health, and their contribution to climate break-down. Advocacy group Stop Killing Cyclists teamed with Extinction Rebellion (whose key message is that “business as usual” threatens the future of life on our planet) to call for a dramatic increase in funding to make cycling safer and more convenient than driving.