18 Aug 2020

Some Brisbane CBD parking to go for permanent bicycle paths

Brisbane will lose CBD parking spaces as the council installs dedicated bicycle lanes through the inner city in consultation with cycling lobbyists.

During the coronavirus lockdown in March and April, cyclists and active transport lobby groups called on Brisbane City Council to set up temporary bike lanes through the CBD to allow more people to commute and exercise.

But the delays in engineering and planning, and the relatively swift return of vehicles to Brisbane roads, meant the window of opportunity was too narrow.

Instead, public and active transport committee chairman Ryan Murphy said the council was designing and engineering permanent separated bikeways through some CBD streets.

"We've committed to delivering what's called a 'citylink cycleway', which is a system of protected, dedicated bikeways within the CBD," Cr Murphy said on Tuesday.

"We thought that this might be a great pop-up initiative, something that we could do really quickly and easily when traffic was down during COVID-19."

Cr Murphy said the engineering aspects were a "bit more complex than we'd thought" and said the council did not want to install infrastructure quickly, only to have to remove it later.

The council is working with bicycle user groups, Bicycle Queensland and other lobby groups on the design.

The lanes will be fully protected with barriers, rather than just painted green lines on the walls.

"We're taking a little bit of extra time right now to make sure that the design is finalised and it's safe for cyclists," he said.

Cr Murphy admitted the plan would require some "trade-offs" between paid parking and loading zones and the planned bike lanes, including the loss of some parking spaces in the CBD.

"It will involve trade-offs but, ultimately, this is worth it, because we know more and more Brisbane residents are getting on their bike," he said.

Opposition leader Jared Cassidy said the delays meant the council had "well and truly missed the boat with this project".

"The perfect time to install the pop-up lanes would have been during the COVID-19 lockdown, when streets were quiet," he said.

"Traffic is already back to pre-COVID levels, installing these bike lanes now will cause a massive disruption to motorists.

"Labor has been calling for a safe, inner-city bikeway grid for years now and still works are being delayed.

"This administration promised pop-up bike lanes in May, Sydney did too, and so far three of six promised have been installed down there, while Brisbane residents have to do without."

SOURCE: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/some-brisbane-cbd-parking-to-go-for-permanent-bicycle-paths-20200818-p55msm.html

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