Brisbane's CityLink Cycleway
For PedBikeTrans' April seminar Luke Robertson (Public & Active Transport Manager, Brisbane City Council) present on the City's CityLink Cycleway trial. The seminar was followed by a cycle along the Elizabeth Street and Edward Street cycleways to test how well they worked.
Planners and cyclists have been asking for separated cycleways through the City for years. They are needed provide cycle connections through the city that are suitable for all ages and abilities as they are separated from traffic.
Internationally the Covid crisis created the need for cities to improve provision for cycling because people shifted off public transport due to concerns about crowds. The lock-down reduced traffic in the cities, creating the opportunity to reallocate road space. Temporary pop-up bike lanes in Sydney and Melbourne were rapidly installed as the COVID lockdown ended and the cities needed to get people back to work without having everyone driving.
Brisbane took a bit longer that these other cities. Their intent to deliver the CityLink Cycleways was launched in August 2020, well after other cities had built their pop-up cycleways. The Elizabeth Street Cycleway opening at the end of January 2021, Edward Street Cycleway in Mid February and the link over the Victoria Bridge was opened at the end of March.
The City got some criticism for the delay in delivering the bikeways at the time. But in many ways Brisbane's approach has been good as it has avoided some of the safety issues and public backlash some other cities experienced due to inadequate planning and consultation on their pop-up cycleways. The quality of the CityLink Cycleway benefited by taking a bit longer to plan and consult, and providing more robust infrastructure for the Cycleways.
Luke's presentation gave a great overview of the Cycleways and the principles that underpinned the design, and the planning for potential future links. An interesting point made was about the importance of including scooters as legal users of the CityLink Cycleways. Scooters cannot legally use bicycle lanes, so there was a need for legislative changes to clasify the on-road separated cycleways as 'off road' to allow scooters to use them.
Brisbane's three CityLink Cycleways are being implemented on a 12-month trial to evaluate their use, the safety outcomes, implications for public transport, and network and design improvements to encourage more use. The city are monitoring use of the Cycleways and obtaining public feedback via an on-line survey. I would strongly encourage you to make a submission supporting the expansion of the Cycleways to cover all central Brisbane. The more support there is of the trial (both through the survey and people using it), the better.
After Luke's presentation and questions we gathered at the Victoria Bridge for the tour along the Cycleways to make our way to the Ship Inn at South Bank for drinks. There was quite a crowd of us and I was worried we would cause some bikeway congestion. It was interesting to see though how quickly we spread out due to different cycling speeds and delays at traffic lights.
The evening was a great success and Luke's presentation and discussion afterwards was very enlightening. I came away feeling very hopeful for active travel in Brisbane thanks to brave political leadership and passionate professionals taking this trial forward. I look forward to a future where I will be able to safely and conveniently cycle from my offices in the Valley to the Council offices or Department of Transport and Main Roads without having to dodge pedestrians on the footpath, or take my life into my hands on the road.