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New separated bike lanes will run through the heart of Brisbane's CBD by the end of the year, with some on-street parking, loading zones and taxi zones removed or relocated to make way.
Brisbane City Council began planning separated bike lanes through the city earlier this year, when the coronavirus lockdown prompted thousands more people to cycle rather than use public or private transport.
Public and active transport committee chairman Ryan Murphy told Brisbane Times the council "believes the time is right to make some of the tough decisions that need to be made to encourage a mode shift to active transport in Brisbane".
"There’s now a lot of great ways to get to the outer edge of the CBD on a bike, but no safe way to get into the heart of the city itself," he said.
At a cost of $2.2 million, the separated bike lanes will run the full length of Elizabeth Street and down Edward Street to Alice Street, where one lane will meet the future Kangaroo Point green bridge.
Another separated lane will run up Albert Street from Alice Street, to the Cross River Rail station under construction.
The lanes will be in place for a 12-month trial.
Each will have raised yellow barriers between it and vehicle lanes, with green paint to denote the cycling lanes.
Bike lanes on Edward and Elizabeth streets are expected to be ready by Christmas and Albert Street should be in use in January.
A third lane from William Street to Grey Street in South Bank will be installed next year.
The new CityLink Cycleway will require removal of 58 metered parking spaces, 10 motorcycle parking spaces, 40 night-time motorcycle parking spaces, 17 loading zones and three taxi zones.
A further 18 car parks and two motorcycle spaces will go, and some all-day bus stops will be converted to daytime or peak-hour only bus stops. Other bus stops will be relocated.
Cr Murphy said about 60 per cent of loading zones, 80 per cent of disability parking bays and all the day-time taxi zones removed under the plan would be moved to nearby streets.
"Fundamentally, we have had to ask ourselves the question, what is the best use of scarce road space in the CBD?" Cr Murphy said.
"Is it to allow a handful of private vehicles to sit there for hours, or for thousands of cyclists and e-scooters to commute safely?"
The council selected the Elizabeth, Albert and Edward street plan over several options as the three streets provided the best immediate connections into the central business district.
Cr Murphy said there had been a "noisy minority" complaining the council took too long to install pop-up cycleways, missing the window of quiet streets during the March lockdown.
"Council made the decision to move toward a design that could become permanent, as opposed to a ‘pop up’ concept that other cities have implemented, and this has meant more detailed planning," he said.
The council also plans to install separated lanes along the full length of Alice Street and along North Quay near Queen's Wharf.
The council will retain on-street parking meters and other infrastructure so if the 12-month trial is unsuccessful, original parking and loading zones can be restored immediately.SOURCE: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/separated-bike-lanes-to-run-through-brisbane-s-cbd-in-12-month-trial-20200928-p5601h.html