As 2016 draws to a close – where is cycling at in Queensland?
It’s probably been a less than spectacular year, but we’ve had some major wins nevertheless.
At a state level, the decision to widen the state government – local council cycle grants process to include all Queensland councils was excellent. Now all Queensland councils can get 50% state funding for cycling projects when endorsed though a review process. This will build bikeways across the state in coming years in places where they otherwise would not have existed.
The state has been involved in some major bikeway decisions including BCC’s excellent new stage of the Northern Bikeway, now continuous from the Victoria Park Golf Course through the RNA and Bowen Park, across some streets (work to be done there) before joining the longest off-road bikeway opening of 2016 – under the freeway spaghetti, Mann Park through to McDonald St Albion. It’s brilliant, and further stages are being drawn up now.
Brisbane is also seeing some fantastic bikeways built as part of other major motor-vehicle infrastructure by both council (Kingsford Smith Drive) and the state government (Gateway Upgrade – North) which is super pleasing to see.
BQ lobbied all state councils at the March elections, with mixed results. Most major councils made commitments – but the major clear project announcement was Brisbane City’s adoption of our Gabba to Goodwill project, with construction to start in 2017 and an extension of the project to the University of Queensland at the same time, via the added and improved Annerley Road project.
Significantly, these projects have been appropriately and commendably bold enough to address the reality of on-street parking being a danger to cycling, and have managed to remove some on-street parking in exchange for better and safer cycling.
North of Brisbane, the Kippa-Ring to Petrie bikeway opened without a hitch, and the Ferny Grove to Samford Stage 1 was completed to wide acclaim and popularity.
Well may we say “More people cycling more often” because that is the outcome we want, and these new projects are massive steps in the right direction.
The push for rail-trails is resonating with a new sealed trail in Kingaroy being a great drawcard, and the progress on ‘the Big One’ – the Ipswich to Yarraman Brisbane Valley Rail Trail – which saw BQ run a 300 person event on its southern section to unanimous approval.
Our ‘ brother’ group, Pedal Power (ACT) brought 16 Canberrans up just to use it over several days, holidaying in Queensland – a typical but understated tourism advantage of rail trails!
Overall, we do see many councils underperforming, and are always lobbying for a greater financial commitment from the state whose proportional spend on cycling is still below what BQ considers adequate.