Victoria Bridge Metro Plan a recipe for conflict

July 28th, 2017

Pictured: With an operating space of barely 2.6 metres, the upstream footpath is well below Australian Standards for a mixed use path’s desirable minimum width of 3.5metres, not accounting for the enormously varied nature of users (commuters, international visitors, CityCyclers, couriers, food delivery, joggers, tourist and school groups etc) Conflict is inevitable.

BQ strongly opposes council’s Brisbane Metro proposal for only one shared footpath for cycling on the Victoria Bridge. It is a recipe for conflict and collisions.

Bicycle Queensland has successfully campaigned for better river crossings for decades and has seen new cycle bridges built since 1997 (namely Jack Pesch, Goodwill, Gateway, Eleanor Schonell, Kurilpa and Go-Between Bridges). These were sorely needed and have greatly assisted people to cycle safely right across Brisbane from the river mouth to the west. But CBD access, critical for work commuting, and the CBD in general remains a poor place to cycle – even by comparison to other Australian capital cities.

There has not been a new river crossing for nearly 10 years and, bizarrely, the next to be built on council land will be for pedestrians only. So BQ is hugely disappointed with the proposal to dramatically restrict one of the oldest and most important strategic cycling gateways to the CBD. This is not a smart move for cycling in Brisbane.

For years we had been virtually promised a better cycling connection over the Victoria Bridge by previous and the current administrations as the inevitable stopping of motor vehicles had to happen. The bridge carries a small volume of cars and is an inefficient conduit as Queen St has been closed to motorised traffic for decades.

The Victoria Bridge is the most direct connection to the city from the heart of South Brisbane and West End. Melbourne St leads directly onto the Victoria Bridge, which in turn leads directly to Queen St, the Mall and also connects to George St. This is a strategically recognized part of the Brisbane Bicycle Plan.

With massive population growth along the Melbourne St corridor (the Absoe site and Fish Lane’s 30-storey residential towers alone will house 10,000 people), the need for a direct link via the Victoria Bridge is essential to provide an easy and safe cycle to the CBD.

As council have agreed to a pedestrian (only!) bridge to be part of the Queens Wharf development just downstream from Victoria Bridge, virtually tripling the pedestrian carrying capacity in this corridor, their current suggestion of all bicycles sharing the upstream footpath with pedestrians borders on bizarre – especially when council intend to widen the downstream footpath AND allow the building of a new pedestrian-only bridge directly downstream.

Bicycle Queensland rejects the current proposal to ban bikes from the bridge apart from on the inadequate upstream shared footpath. It’s barely 2.6m wide – nowhere near Australian standards. BQ will work towards a better, fairer outcome with council, to prevent years of complaints, danger and discontent from residents and visitors to Brisbane who need to cross the river by bicycle in the heart of the CBD.

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