There’s a lot happening around the Gabba Ward at the moment. I’d like to start by giving a shout-out to the hard-working volunteers who organised such a successful Ride to School Day at Dutton Park State School yesterday. It was great to see so many kids (and parents) walking, riding and catching public transport to get to school.
It’s a powerful reminder that we don’t have to settle for a city where parents and carers have to work a second job as unpaid taxi drivers for their kids. We can and should strive to create a world where all of us - especially children - can move safely through their neighbourhoods, without fear of being hit by a car.
Many of you will have heard about the controversial road safety protest we held on Vulture Street on Wednesday morning near South Bank. Contrary to some of the rumours and media reports, we had the full support and necessary permissions from the police for this rally. We made a conscious choice not to block the major intersection near Somerville House, and instead only blocked the westbound lanes of Vulture Street. The local officers from Dutton Park police station safely controlled the roads, and ensured that emergency vehicles were still able to access the nearby hospitals. We were on the road for less than ten minutes in total.
As many of you are aware, this is a particularly dangerous area for both pedestrians and cyclists, but also for motorists. Unfortunately, the council’s current plans for the Woolloongabba Bikeway will not improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists travelling along Vulture Street, and I have been calling for the speed limit in this area to be lowered to 40 km/h, as well as further changes to be made to the road network. I realise protests that block the road can be controversial, but on balance I believe they help increase the political pressure for change. You can read more about my strategic thinking at this link.
Victoria St Intersection
Another major danger-spot in our ward is the notorious intersection of Victoria St and Montague Rd near the Aldi in West End. I believe that nothing short of traffic lights will make this intersection safe for pedestrians, but so far, Brisbane City Council is refusing to install them, despite multiple large petitions and hundreds of letters and calls to the Lord Mayor. The council’s reluctance to install traffic lights is partly about penny-pinching, but it’s also related to an unwillingness to make any changes that would slow down traffic flow. The council has been happy to comply with my request to install traffic lights at the intersection of Vulture St and Montague Rd, because while this will improve pedestrian safety, it will also improve traffic flow. In contrast, the failure to install traffic lights at Victoria St is a clear example of BCC’s cultural bias towards cars and against pedestrians.
I believe that another burst of community activism in the lead-up to the council’s annual budget in June will help tip the balance and get lights installed at Victoria St. We had a community meeting about the intersection last week, and resolved to hold a series of short creative actions on the road, which will be taking place on the morning of Tuesday, 15 May from 8 to 8:30am. We certainly don’t intend to block the road that whole time, and will be working closely with West End Police Station to ensure the action is as safe as possible. The protest will include clowning and performance art, and will be safe and inclusive for people of all ages. If you have any ideas for specific creative actions that you’d like to help organise for the morning, please get in touch.
If you care about making our streets safer for pedestrians, I would greatly appreciate it if you can come along and show your support. You can get actively involved or just stand and watch from the sidelines.
Where: Intersection of Montague Rd and Victoria St
When: 8am, Tuesday, 15 May
Wear bright colours. Please invite your friends via Facebook.
The council’s obsession with maximising traffic flow is also causing grief over in East Brisbane at the moment, where we will soon be losing the garden beds, hedges and many of the large trees along the edge of Mowbray Park.
As part of its approval of the widening of Lytton Road, the State Government has included a condition requiring that the bush regeneration area in the middle of Mowbray Park (near the playground) be cleared of undergrowth and converted to turf with only a few large trees retained. There are more details at this link.
I've written to the both the State Government and the council to express my strong opposition to the loss of native habitat and I'm optimistic that they will reconsider the current plans. My office is holding a community meeting about this issue in Mowbray Park at 4pm on Sunday, 13 May. We’ll meet between the playground and the bush revegetation area. Facebook event at this link.
Resident Parking Areas
Many residents of Highgate Hill and West End will be pleased to hear that after a lot of back-and-forth, the council has finally agreed to support expanding the resident parking permit scheme throughout the rest of the 4101 peninsula. There are still a lot of details to be worked out, so it’ll be several months before any changes actually come into effect, but I definitely feel like I’m making progress on this issue. This page outlines the details of what is being proposed.
Importantly, the scheme will be flexible and adapted to the needs of each street and neighbourhood. Unlike the old system over in Woolloongabba, each individual section of street will be clearly signed with the relevant parking rules. On some streets, we will mostly retain unlimited parking with only a bit of resident parking, and on others, most of the signs will say '2P, resident permits excepted' with only a little bit of unlimited parking. Most streets will have a mix of different rules, depending on how residents responded to the survey and the needs of that local neighbourhood.
My understanding is that the new rules will only apply 7am to 7pm on weekdays, but I haven't yet had clear confirmation from the Lord Mayor's office about that.
We haven't gone through the final results of the survey in detail yet, but on average there was over 60% support for the changes across the surveyed area.
In areas to the north of the surveyed area, such as Whynot and Spring Streets, or around Julia and Morris Streets, there was very strong support for the new scheme, so more of those streets will be signed to prioritise vehicles with resident permits.
Further to the south, such as down around Paradise Park in Highgate Hill, there was very little demand for a resident permit system, so I'll be asking the council traffic planners to leave those streets as they are, without any changes.
We’ll be co-organising a public meeting with West End Community Association about these parking changes in the near future. Further details coming soon.
Below, you can find info about a range of other community events, including Roving Conspiracy, which is coming up this Monday night in Highgate Hill. Hopefully I’ll see you around sometime soon.
- Roving Conspiracy: Music, Art, Politics & Home-Made Chai
Monday 7 May, 6pm – 9:45pm
Turnstyle Community Hub, 10 Laura Street, Highgate Hill
This free music and art night features a range of local bands, a pop-up visual art gallery and plenty of opportunities to get to know your neighbours and find out what else is going on in the community. There’s also an open mic session starting at 6pm. This is a family-friendly event run completely by volunteers, so please respect the space and one another. Facebook event.
- Brisbane Renters Alliance Monthly Strategy Meeting
Wednesday 9 May, 6pm – 7:30pm
Gabba Ward Office, 2/63 Annerley Rd, Woolloongabba
Join us for our first monthly discussion about our campaign strategies and goals. Snacks provided! Facebook event.
- Australian Festival of African Film Brisbane Launch
Saturday 12 May, 4pm onwards
Princess Theatre, 8 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba
The event will tell stories of the challenges and opportunities facing different African communities and of the Australian African diaspora experience. The continent has a lot of stories to tell, and they may not be the stories you might expect. This event has a focus on beautiful, engaging, thought-provoking and empowering messages from around Africa. It will provide a taster of future festivals that will celebrate the diversity of the African film scene and of the continent itself. Tickets available here.
- Public meeting: Threat to bushland reserve in Mowbray Park
Sunday 13 May, 4pm – 5pm
Mowbray Park, East Brisbane (between the playground and the native vegetation)
Brisbane City Council is planning to clear the bushland reserve in the middle of Mowbray Park, retaining a few of the established trees but replacing the undergrowth with bare lawn. Details here. Please come along to the park to get an update on the latest news regarding this small but important stand of native vegetation, and about the widening of Lytton Road more generally. Facebook event.
- Creative Action calling for traffic lights at Victoria-Montague
Tuesday 15 May, 8am – 8:30am
335 Montague Rd, West End
Residents are organising a couple of creative actions outside the West End Aldi calling for traffic lights to be installed at the intersection of Victoria St and Montague Rd. We've had at least four large petitions submitted to the Lord Mayor regarding this intersection, and hundreds of residents have contacted council about it, but BCC is still prioritising traffic flow ahead of pedestrian safety. With the council budget on the horizon, this is a good time to draw a bit more media attention to this hazardous intersection and increase the pressure for traffic lights. Please join us on the Tuesday morning to send a clear message to council. You can get involved in the various actions or just stand on the footpath and support. Facebook event.
- Stop Adani, No New Coal - Rally for sustainable alternatives
Saturday 19 May, 1pm – 2pm
Queens Park, Cnr George and Elizabeth St, Brisbane CBD
Join us for a short, loud public rally to keep up the pressure on all politicians to say no to both the Adani coal mine and all new coal mine proposals, and to say yes to a sustainable, equitable future where the long-term interests of ordinary people are placed ahead of short-term corporate profits. Facebook event.
- Community Iftar Dinner
Saturday 26 May, 4pm – 8pm
Ashgrove Bowls Club, Enoggera Creek Bikeway, Ashgrove
In a collaborative attempt to build stronger bridges across faiths and non-faith communities, we are excited to invite you to a community Iftar dinner. A night to meet people from around the world, over a simple shared meal. This event is open to people of all walks of life. People of all faiths and no faith are encouraged to participate. Any funds raised on the night will go to Refugees Welcome Australia (RWA) who help refugees and people seeking asylum by providing long-term and stable accommodation with local residents who have a spare room in their house or apartment. $5 unwaged, $10 waged, $20 family ticket. Facebook event.
- Disaster Capitalism - Brisbane Screening
Thursday 31 May, 6:30pm – 8pm
Elizabeth Picture Theatre, 175 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane
DISASTER CAPITALISM reveals the underbelly of the global aid and investment industry. It’s a complex web of interests that spans the earth from powerful nations and multinational corporations to tribal and village leaders. This feature-length documentary offers unique insights into a multi-billion dollar world by investigating how aid dollars are spent. The screening will only go ahead if 50 tickets are sold. You can buy tickets here. Facebook event.
- 2018 West End Film Festival
Friday 22 – Sunday 24 June, various times
Boundary St Markets, corner Russell and Boundary Street, West End
Screening a selection of 32 short films, documentaries, music videos and animations, as well as their first ever feature film screening; an action packed program that you don't want to miss out on! More info and tickets here.
Councillor for the Gabba
P: 3403 2165 | A: 2/63 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba
W: jonathansri.com | E: [email protected]
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