West End/Highgate Hill Resident Parking Permit Scheme Update
5 February, 2019
After sustained pressure from my office, council has finally agreed to release the draft map of the proposed new parking rules, which will be introduced into the southern half of West End and Highgate Hill on 18 March.
- Areas marked in blue will remain unlimited parking for everyone.
- In areas marked red, it will only be possible to park for two hours during the day on weekdays, unless you have a resident permit (in which case you can park as long as you want). No rules will change for weekends or nights.
Depending on your browser settings, you should be able to zoom in on this map, or download a PDF of the map, but if you're having any trouble interpreting it, feel free to call my office or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll try to talk you through the implications for your street.
The council has asked me to emphasise that this map is a draft, and that a few more minor changes might be made prior to the signs being installed in March. The officers have tried to balance the competing needs of neighbouring residents. Some people wanted more of their street signed as resident permit parking, while others didn't want any changes to their street.
Some parts of the peninsula, such as the southern side of Highgate Hill and the high-density area to the west of Montague Rd, will not have any significant changes to existing rules, so residents in those neighbourhoods will not need to apply for permits.
Please note: When you apply for a permit online, you are not told that it's possible to get a physical, hard-copy visitor permit. But I strongly encourage all residents who are applying for visitor permits to call up 3403 8888 and specifically request a physical visitor permit. Having a physical permit that can easily be passed from one visitor to another is much simpler than having to go online to register each visiting vehicle. You can apply for a visitor permit even if your household doesn't have a car of its own.
29 January, 2019
Hey everyone, council is sending out letters to the southern part of West End and Highgate Hill this week, advising that the resident parking permit scheme will be introduced in mid-March 2019.
I think this is a really botched job of public communication, because they're telling residents that the scheme will be introduced, but not providing any detailed info about how the rules and signs will change on individual streets.
I've previously (and repeatedly) requested that council publish a map showing the proposed changed rules so residents can view them and make comment before the new signs are actually installed. It's common sense that council would tell people how the rules are changing on their street before actually making the changes. Either way, once the new signage is rolled out, we can also still make further changes easily enough.
The most confusing bit is that in some parts of West End and Highgate Hill, council has decided based on resident feedback that they won't be making any changes to existing parking rules (which is good) but they are still sending out a general letter to all residents saying that the permit scheme is coming. So people might mistakenly believe that the rules on their street are changing, when in fact it's just a generalised notification letter that the whole suburb is receiving.
The following images show the other information which council is circulating internally.
In response to concerns about insufficient street parking in West End and Highgate Hill, I’ve asked Brisbane City Council to consult with residents about introducing a ‘Resident Parking Permit Scheme’ throughout the southern end of the 4101 peninsula (the northern and eastern parts of West End and Highgate Hill are already covered by permit schemes).
A Resident Parking Permit Scheme usually means that unless a particular section of street is designated otherwise, you can only park there for two hours (2P) unless your car has a resident permit or a visitor’s permit (in which case you can park there as long as you want). In other schemes around Brisbane, a common arrangement is for one side of the street to be free unlimited parking for everyone, while the other side is 2P (free two-hour parking) for everyone and unlimited parking only if you have a resident permit.
Importantly though, the scheme allows a lot of flexibility so that different streets can have sections signed as free 4P, 8P etc., and areas near small businesses can have more ½P and 1P parking bays to make it easier for customers who are visiting briefly to find somewhere to park.
Because 4101 has a high proportion of short-term renters, it might be the case that in some streets, only small sections will be resident permit areas and the majority of the street will remain free unlimited parking. It will be up to residents to talk to your neighbours and agree on what parking rules you want in your street, then provide that feedback to council.
Returning the council form and saying you support the introduction of a resident parking permit scheme doesn’t necessarily mean you support specific parking rule changes on your street. It means you support the council engaging in further research and consultation with residents to determine what parking rules would most effectively strike the right balance between the parking needs of residents and those of visitors to the suburb.
HOW THE PERMITS WORK
There are two types of permits:
- Resident permits, which are permanently attached to the front windscreen of a particular vehicle that’s registered to an address within the permit zone
- Visitor permits, which are made of cardboard and can be placed on the dashboard of any visiting vehicle
Currently, council charges an annual fee of $10 per resident permit per year. It’s possible that this fee might increase or decrease in the future. It’s also possible that resident permit fees might be abolished altogether, but this seems unlikely.
The BCC has told me that each household will be eligible for a single visitor permit even if you don’t have any of your own vehicles registered at your address.
HOW MANY PERMITS PER HOUSEHOLD?
The most difficult question in introducing this Resident Parking Permit Scheme is deciding how many permits each household should be allowed. If every household is allowed to park as many cars on the street as they want, the whole point of the scheme will be defeated. The BCC is suggesting that each household should be limited to two permits.
After months of unanswered questions, Brisbane City Council finally got back to me with more detail about how they’re proposing to address safety issues at the intersection of Montague Rd and Victoria St near the ALDI crossing. Frankly, their plans are a little bit underwhelming.Read more
To apply political pressure for safe, separated bike lanes, West End residents will defy Brisbane City Council by creating their own temporary pop-up bike lane along part of Hardgrave Rd on Friday morning to coincide with West End State School's 'Bling Your Bike Day'.
Witches hats, traffic markers and a chain of ‘human bollards’ will be used create a barrier-separated bike lane leading down Hardgrave Road towards West End State School.
While pop-up bike lanes have been used in other cities around the world, this will be the first of its kind in Queensland.
Residents are frustrated that the council has failed to invest sufficiently in separated bike lanes throughout West End and South Brisbane, so are taking matters into their own hands.
Co-organiser Mitch Bright of Space for Cycling said “As well as the health and environmental benefits, protected bike lanes have been shown to improve turnover and increase economic activity for local businesses.”
“Streets are safer and less stressful for everyone when there’s clear separation between pedestrians, bikes and cars,” Councillor Sri said. “Getting more people cycling for transport is a great way to reduce traffic congestion, but we need to give them their own space on the road.”
“The slow roll-out of bike lanes in Brisbane is partly because council is reluctant to trial and experiment with temporary solutions, and instead spends millions on gold-plated infrastructure,” Councillor Sri said.
“But rather than spending the big money up front, you can put out temporary barriers for a few months, see what kind of community support there is for the idea, and learn from the trial before making it permanent.”
“A row of witches hats is still a lot safer than nothing at all.”
The pop-up bike lane protest will run from 8am to 9am on Friday, 8 September on Hardgrave Road, West End between Skinner Street and Vulture Street.
Best visuals will be between 8:20 and 8:45am, when we form a human chain to mark out an additional barrier between bikes and cars.
Councillor Jonathan Sri by mobile or on 3403 2165.
Mitch Bright from Space4Cycling on be contacted on 0418 767 709
John Parkinson (local resident who rides to school with his children) on 0426 447 294
Brisbane City Council has released more detailed designs for the Woolloongabba Bikeway Project, which will install separated bike lanes along Stanley Street and Annerley Road.
While bike lanes like this are common in many cities around the world, this is the first big barrier-separated bike lane project of its kind in Brisbane, and a big step forward for a council that has historically been reluctant to fund complex and challenging bike lane projects in inner-city Brisbane. It will be important for the council to receive lots of positive feedback on this project so that it has the confidence to fund other separated bike lanes in different parts of the city.
Too many lives are lost in preventable road accidents. Too many people choose to drive because they don’t feel safe riding or walking. As the population of Brisbane’s inner-south side grows, we need to make our roads safer for all modes of transport, but particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.
Lowering speed limits will reduce the severity and frequency of car crashes, and make it easier and safer for vehicles to pull out of side-streets and driveways. Lower speed limits will encourage more residents to travel via active transport and public transport, thus reducing traffic congestion.
Reducing average vehicle speeds will also reduce noise and air pollution, improving pedestrian comfort and helping to shift suburbs like Woolloongabba and Kangaroo Point into walkable neighbourhoods with a vibrant street culture.
In built-up inner-city suburbs with narrow roads and high volumes of pedestrians, 50 and 60km/h speed limits are not safe or sustainable.
By trialling consistently lower speeds in such a large part of the inner-southside, Brisbane City Council can help reduce motorist confusion that arises when speed limits keep changing from one street to the next.
We call on the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council to initiate a two-year trial of 40km/hr speed limits in all seven suburbs of the Gabba Ward, on Brisbane’s inner-south side.
We call for a default speed limit of 40km/h unless otherwise signed in the suburbs of West End, Highgate Hill, South Brisbane, Woolloongabba, Dutton Park, Kangaroo Point and East Brisbane, and for speed limits to be lowered on all streets with the exception of key arterial roads.
We urge you to consult with all relevant stakeholders and act decisively in initiating a two-year trial.
Media release: Cyclists Stage Mass Die-in to Protest Reduction in Access over Victoria Bridge and Lack of Bike Lanes Throughout Brisbane
Hundreds of cyclists will stage a temporary die-in on Victoria Bridge tomorrow in response to a Brisbane City Council proposal to reduce cycling access over the Victoria Bridge.
As part of a mass bike ride through the city, residents will temporarily occupy the Victoria Bridge, closing it to general traffic but leaving it open to buses. Residents will hold a 1-minute silence for cyclists killed in car accidents, followed by the mass die-in. A die-in is where cyclists lie down with their bikes and mimic the carnage of a major accident, to symbolise how dangerous riding on roads without separated bike lanes can be.
Residents are concerned that council has failed to invest sufficiently in separated bike lanes throughout Brisbane, and are particularly frustrated that as part of the Brisbane Metro project, BCC is proposing to reduce bike access over the Victoria Bridge rather than increasing it.
“Council proposes to remove the existing on-road bike lanes, but is also removing the pedestrian crossing at the northern end of the shared footpath,” Jonathan Sri, Councillor for the Gabba Ward said. “These changes will force more cyclists onto narrow footpaths, increasing conflict between bikes and pedestrians.”
“Redirecting cyclists via the Kurilpa and Goodwill Bridges will result in more commuter cyclists mixing it with pedestrians along the South Bank riverfront and the footpaths of George Street in the CBD.”
“If we don’t get this bridge redesign right, we’ll end up spending a lot more money to redo it down the track as more Brisbane residents take up cycling,” Councillor Sri said.
“We’ve recommended a number of alternative design solutions to council and we’re keen to work constructively to achieve a better outcome.”
“Considering that council also supports another pedestrian-only bridge being built nearby to connect to the mega-casino, surely we can find more room for bikes on a redesigned Victoria Bridge.”
“Protesting like this is a last resort, but council has consistently ignored detailed submissions and large petitions from residents calling for safer cycling infrastructure in Brissie.”
Residents are also calling for lower speed limits and separated bike lanes on major roads throughout Brisbane.
Space4Cycling spokesperson Belinda Ward said that investing in pedestrian crossings and cycling infrastructure takes cars off the road and reduces traffic congestion.
“Other cities around Australia are striking a better balance between different modes of transport, but Brisbane lags behind and continues to deprioritise walking and cycling,” Ms Ward said.
“We’re not just frustrated about this one bridge. We’re concerned about poor outcomes and lost opportunities across Brisbane.”
Local resident Joanna Horton rides to work across Victoria Bridge via the on-road bike lanes and says it’s the shortest route between West End and her workplace in the Valley.
“Buses are still too expensive, and the alternative cycling routes are a lot longer, so reducing bike access over this bridge means people like me are more likely to drive via the Grey Street bridge.”
Councillor Sri says he hopes the turnout will remind council that there are hundreds of residents who would like to ride into the CBD if only it were safer to do so.
“It’s a mistake for council to focus only on current cyclist numbers. We need to think long-term and recognise that we can take hundreds of cars off the road if we make riding safer and more convenient.”
The protest ride will begin at 10:30am, Saturday, 22 July at the northern end of Russell Street near the South Bank ferris wheel. Cyclists will hold a 1-minute silence on the Victoria Bridge followed by the mass die-in between 10:45 and 11am. They will then ride through the city via Elizabeth, Creek and Adelaide Streets, ending at King George Square for another group photo opportunity.
For interviews, contact:
Jonathan Sri on 3403 2165
Belinda Ward on 0434 906 364
Every so often, our office receives an enquiry about what happened to the proposed CityCat terminal that was supposed to be installed at the end of Victoria Street in West End. And every time, we have to explain that it has slipped off the LNP’s priority list and that the council isn’t investing enough money in local public transport infrastructure.
Here's a link to the current petition: http://www.jonathansri.com/montaguepublictransport
At the Public and Active Transport Committee meeting on 6 August, 2019, the committee considered yet another petition calling for the delivery of a ferry terminal for the western side of West End. The LNP's response was to say "there are no immediate plans to implement an additional high-capacity service in the West End area. However, Council Network Planners will continue to monitor all new developments at or near Kurilpa Point and will continue to liaise with their counterparts at TransLink."
Disappointingly, the committee - comprised of 4 LNP Councillors, 1 Greens Councillor and 1 Labor Councillor - voted 4-2 to take no substantial action in response to the petition.
At the council meeting on 11 September, 2018, I again used an opportunity in question time to push the Lord Mayor on this issue. Here's the transcript of that exchange...
Councillor Sri: Thanks, Madam Chair. My question is to the Lord Mayor. The approximate distance between the Orleigh Park and the South Bank CityCat terminals is five kilometres. On the north bank, the average spacing of terminals is only around 1.5 kilometres. In 2011, after the January floods, the South Brisbane riverside neighbourhood plan introduced or proposed to introduce a CityCat terminal for the western half of West End to cater for the rapid projected population growth for that part of the Kurilpa Peninsula.
Since that time we’ve had thousands of additional residents moving into that area, and now Montague Road is extremely congested and the Blue CityGlider is over capacity. There’s no more capacity on the Montague Road corridor itself to carry that growing population. So my question to you is: does this Administration have any plans to deliver a CityCat terminal for that western Montague Road side of West End, and if not, what is the main reason? Is it simply cost, or is it that an additional stop there is seen as inefficient from a network perspective?
Lord Mayor: Well, Madam Chairman, I thank Councillor Sri for the question. I think it’s a very reasonable question to ask. It is true that we have in that area the CityGlider service. It is a high frequency service. I remember when we first introduced the CityGlider, we thought that it would carry about 600,000 passengers the first year. It carried something like 1.5 million people.
So, Madam Chairman, now over 2 million, the Deputy Mayor informs me. In terms of Montague Road itself, Madam Chairman, I believe that the Glider still has a good capability to carry passengers, and we believe also that the Metro will assist in terms of the freeing up of capacity of road space, and will I think make it easier for those CityGliders to continue to operate.
In terms of the issue of the CityCats, Madam Chairman, we do have a long term plan for putting in an additional CityCat facility in West End. It is a matter of timing. It is a matter of Cat availability and it’s a matter of also the timeliness on the river. So the river transport is a very good form of public transport, a very scenic form of public transport. It is probably not the most time efficient form of public transport. So, Madam Chairman, one of the reasons that we are introducing SpeedyCats as a priority at the moment is the fact that there is a need to, I think, create faster services that will be more attractive to a time poor community.
So, Madam Chairman, it is weighing up the various needs that are on the river. We have, of course, a new CityCat that we’re out for design for, and all of these things will help. But I just say to you, Councillor Sri—
Councillor Sri: Point of order, Madam Chair.
Chairman: Point of order, Councillor Sri.
Councillor Sri: Just on relevance. The substance of the question is whether the reason the terminal hasn’t been delivered is primarily about cost or primarily about route efficiency.
Chairman: Thank you, Councillor Sri, and the Lord Mayor does have five minutes to provide that answer. Lord Mayor.
Lord Mayor: Thanks very much, Madam Chairman. It is primarily about—well, it’s a bit of both, to be frank, but its route efficiency is one thing that is certainly a factor on our mind. It’s one of the reasons why we are focusing at the moment on SpeedyCats because we want to try and look at creating with the stops that we have—every time we add a new CityCat stop in, it slows the service down more. That makes it less attractive from a time point of view.
So what we are intent on doing is to make public transport as fast as we can in terms of particularly the river transport, which is a slow form of transport. We want to speed that up, make it more attractive for people, and that is one of the reasons, as I say, we are introducing as a priority SpeedyCats. It is not to say we don’t think that another CityCat terminal here is important. We do, in the same way as we think a pedestrian bridge from Kangaroo Point to Edward Street is important. There is a case of the financial resources. We’ve just finished having a question about staff numbers and so forth, Madam Chairman, and getting value for money; we are intent on driving value to be able to do these sorts of very things. We think it is important.
You might recall that the number of CityCats out on the water has grown enormously in the last decade, and we want to continue to bring new vessels and, over time, new services as well. But we’ve got to do it smarter. We can’t just keep adding more and more stops along the route. People will stop using it because of the fact that it will just get too slow. That is the dilemma. I think it is a very genuine question. It’s a reasonable question in every respect, and it is one which is certainly exercising our mind, both in terms of the timing and resourcing. So, I thank Councillor Sri for that question.
So, reading between the lines of the Lord Mayor's response, the LNP still don't see the new CityCat terminal as a priority. It seems to me that they intend to wait until after the 'Brisbane Metro' project is completed, which is expected to change the broader bus network and the journey times of West End services like the Blue CityGlider. My personal view is that we need to improve public transport frequency and reliability in West End now rather than waiting another five or more years.
I’ve managed to get a bit more info (but not a huge amount of detail) from the budget information sessions titled ‘Transport for Brisbane’ and ‘Infrastructure for Brisbane’. I’ll structure this with a few general comments that are relevant to the city as a whole, followed by some more specifics about local projects within the Gabba Ward. Remember you can see a full list of infrastructure spending allocations for 2017/18 in the Gabba Ward at this link.
As mentioned in other posts, council is spending way too much of its budget on road corridor upgrades that prioritise private vehicles over pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Some of the intersection redesigns throughout the suburbs include green-painted bike lanes, but none of these seem to have a physical barrier separating cars from bikes, which is what you need to genuinely improve safety and encourage more people to ride.
The Road Maintenance Black Hole
Upwards of $90 million will be spent this year on road resurfacing alone. This is not financially sustainable long-term. Resurfacing is an ongoing maintenance cost that is only likely to rise as traffic volumes increase. Several councillors are telling me that despite the high spend, they are aware of roads in their ward that need resurfacing but weren’t included on this year’s list. This is concerning because if you delay resurfacing a road, potholes and cracks get deeper and the deterioration can accelerate, increasing maintenance and repair costs down the line. So when I say I’m concerned that the large road resurfacing budget is not financially sustainable, I’m not saying that I necessarily think we need to drastically cut the resurfacing budge immediately. I’m saying that council’s broader strategy of prioritising funding for road corridor upgrades which encourage and facilitate higher volumes of private vehicle transport will mean roads deteriorate faster and road maintenance demands and costs will keep rising.
BCC is a much bigger council than other local councils around Australia, so naturally its resurfacing budget will be a lot larger than other councils. However I was surprised to learn that council doesn’t engage in any formal comparison or benchmarking with other councils about what proportion of their budget is spent on road resurfacing. Every city and every road network is different, so direct comparisons can be difficult, but given that BCC is spending such a large chunk of its budget on recurring road maintenance, it needs to be looking at what other councils are spending, and more importantly, what else they are doing to reduce their road maintenance budgets.
An important first step towards reducing the road maintenance budget would be to lower speeds throughout the city. Many other cities around the world are dropping their default speed limit to 30km/h, and I think there’s a strong argument that Brisbane should at least lower its default speed to 40km/h. As well as the many benefits in terms of improving safety and encouraging active transport, this would reduce wear and tear on roads and potentially save council millions of dollars a year.
Improved River Access
Within the Gabba Ward, one of the welcome announcements is funding to improve public pontoons at West End, South Bank and Mowbray Park in East Brisbane. I’ve been pushing for improvements to these facilities, as have many residents who I’m sure will be pleased with the announcement. However my one concern is that rather than reusing and repurposing some of the old pontoons, council will simply chuck them out, which I don’t consider to be an efficient use of resources.
A few astute residents have also asked questions about the Lord Mayor’s announcement that a new facility for non-motorised water recreation activities will be established on the river at Dutton Park. Despite repeated questions about this, I couldn’t get very detailed answers. I don’t think this is because the LNP is deliberately withholding information, but simply that they don’t actually know exactly what they want to do there yet. In the budget, the council has allocated $3.96 million for the coming financial year and $3.98 million for 2018/19 towards ‘River Based Leisure and Tourism Infrastructure’ but hasn’t specified exactly how much of that will be spent at Dutton Park. This project will be administered under Councillor Amanda Cooper, who is the chair of council’s Infrastructure committee, so residents should feel free to email her further questions at email@example.com. All they’re telling us at this stage is that the Dutton Park facility definitely won’t be for motorised water vehicles, that the focus will be on vessels like kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards, and that they will conduct extensive community consultation.
My concern is that council will hand over the facility and try to establish some kind of for-profit tourism business down at Dutton Park under the Green Bridge. Council’s track record on tendering out these sorts of projects is that they tend to go to larger businesses that are more focussed on profit than on delivering services to the local community. This would amount to privatisation of the public realm, and is not an appropriate use for public parkland.
My preference is for the money in the budget to be used to construct a pontoon and canoe launching facility that residents won’t have to pay to use. We could even look at getting a local community group like a canoe club to have a permanent presence at the facility and rent out kayaks (or even organise classes and group tours) on a non-profit basis. I think this would be a much better way to activate the space and improve access to the river than partnering with a private for-profit operator.
As soon as I learn more details about this project and what’s proposed, I’ll make sure I let residents know.
Frustratingly, no money has been allocated for new bike lanes anywhere in the Gabba Ward, but it seems like slightly more money has been allocated to the Woolloongabba Bikeway Project along Stanley St and Annerley Rd, which is apparently still in the design stage. One of the main reasons that the Woolloongabba Bikeway project is taking so long and costing so much is that council is unwilling to make any changes to the road corridor that reduce or slow the flow of cars, so they’re spending a lot of money on complex design solutions. For 60km/h roads, the State Government’s designs require that the barriers on barrier-separated bike lanes must be quite wide, which reduces the amount of road space available. So the council’s reluctance to lower the speed on Annerley Road is driving up the costs of this project unnecessarily, whereas if council supported my request to drop the speed to 40km/h, we could have narrower barriers and the project would be completed a lot faster.
With design work for the Woolloongabba Bikeway project almost completed, my next highest priority for a new separated bike lane is Vulture Street, creating an east-west connection between Davies Park in West End all the way through to the Lady Cilento Hospital in South Brisbane. I was very disappointed that no money for this was included in the budget, and I will continue advocating for this crucial piece of infrastructure.
Also of note is that council is proposing to reduce bike access along the Victoria Bridge as part of the Brisbane Metro project. The LNP councillors claimed that currently only around 900 cyclists use the bridge per day, compared to thousands of pedestrians, and that it’s sufficient to just maintain one shared path between cyclists and pedestrians on one side of the river. I don’t think this is satisfactory, as cyclist and pedestrian numbers in Brisbane will continue to grow and there will be more conflicts between cyclists and tourists on the bridge in the future. I would argue that many more cyclists would be using the bridge currently if the bike lanes were wider and safer. They wouldn’t give me a straight answer as to whether it’s possible to add platforms to the bridge to create wider cycling lanes, so I suspect they haven’t really looked into this.
I would like to see additional funding directed towards ensuring that safe bike access across the river is improved rather than reduced. (If you care about this issue, please come along to the mass community bike action we’re organising for the morning of Saturday, 22 July - https://www.facebook.com/events/1341044809349438)
Happily, council confirmed funding for the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Vulture St and Montague Rd, West End. BCC did not allocate any funding for traffic lights at the intersection of Victoria St and Montague Rd (the ALDI crossing), but did at least allocate funding for a pedestrian island. In many ways, this is a big win for the community, who have been agitating for upgrades to these two intersections since well before I became a councillor, but a pedestrian island doesn’t necessarily address concerns for some of our most vulnerable residents, including people with impaired vision who cross at this location. Residents have been campaigning for quite a long time for improvements to the Victoria St intersection and it’s nice to see all that hard work pay off, but it’s a bit ridiculous that such an obviously needed improvement has taken so long for council to get around to.
We’ve also seen a bit of funding allocated for local area traffic management around the Hardgrave Road part of West End. This should include funding to repair some of the build-outs and speed bumps, and for a pedestrian crossing island over Montague Road down near Rogers Street, but we’re still waiting on more detail from council about exactly what will be covered by this budget item.
As mentioned in a previous post, $641 000 was allocated to redesign the Stones Corner roundabout at the intersection of Logan Road and O’Keefe St, and I will lobby for the scope of this project to be extended to include safety concerns about the turn from Logan Road to Cleveland St. This is a big project that will probably take council a couple of years. I expect design work won’t be completed until June or July 2018 and I will have to lobby further to ensure that funding to actually build the intersection is allocated for the 2018/19 financial year.
No funding was allocated for any other crossings or pedestrian safety improvements in the Gabba Ward. I’m particularly disappointed that no money was allocated for safer crossings along Gladstone Road in Highgate Hill and Dutton Park, or for Vulture Street East in East Brisbane. This is in a context where council is spending around $1 billion per year on road projects. A big chunk of council’s money is going into widening roads and increasing the capacity of intersections, while comparatively little is spent on projects that improve pedestrian safety and slow down cars.
As Brisbane grows, we need to shift a significant proportion of our population away from reliance on private vehicles and towards walking, cycling and public transport. But far fewer people are going to catch a bus if they can’t safely cross the road to get to the bus stop. If we want to reduce traffic congestion, we are going to need lower speeds, more pedestrian crossings, and of course, a much better public transport.
Another big ticket item in the budget is the Brisbane Metro Project ($49.7 million for the coming financial year, with roughly another $400 million over the next few years). The total cost of the project over several years will be just shy of $1 billion (again, remember that council is spending close to $1 billion every year on roads) but the council hasn’t yet clearly explained where the rest of the project funding will come from.
I’ll be producing some more detailed analysis of the Brisbane Metro project in the near future. While it might not necessarily be the best possible use of money in terms of public transport infrastructure, it’s certainly a lot better than spending the money on road-widening.
During the budget information session, I asked a couple of questions about the project, including sustainability requirements for the high-capacity buses council expected to acquire. It seems that the main reasons council is leaning towards buses rather than some kind of track-based vehicle are lower cost and greater flexibility. I see the logic of this, but one of the main benefits of light rail is that it doesn’t have to run off fossil fuels. In my view, it would be a huge missed opportunity if council spends $1 billion on a Brisbane Metro where the buses still run off diesel or something like that. Putting aside the serious concerns about carbon emissions, light rail or electric buses would also presumably have a much lower impact in terms of noise and air pollution along the bus corridor.
Beyond the Metro, there wasn’t much of interest in the budget in terms of public transport. Council is spending $33 million to acquire new buses to replace old ones, and $12 million on ferry terminal upgrades (largely to meet disability access standards), but no money has been allocated for a new CityCat terminal or other high-capacity transport infrastructure to service the Montague Road side of West End. (I’ve started a petition about transport infrastructure for West End here: http://www.jonathansri.com/montaguepublictransport)
There’s still no direct east-west public transport route between East Brisbane and West End, which means people travelling from Woolloongabba still have to catch one bus all the way into the cultural centre and another one back up Melbourne Street just to get to West End. There are still no high frequency bus routes through Kangaroo Point or East Brisbane. A couple of hard-working volunteers at my office have produced this transport route map, which only shows bus and train routes that come every fifteen minutes or less. This map shows clear gaps in the inner-south side, including through Highgate Hill (where steep roads make it harder for pedestrians to walk long distances to bus stops) and pretty much the entirety of 4169. This helps explain why so many inner-city residents are still driving and clogging up roads.
I could go on, but the core theme is pretty simple. Consistent under-investment in public transport, walking and cycling, and over-investment in road projects that don’t even include transit lanes and which will do precious little to shift residents out of their cars and into more sustainable modes of transport.
Brisbane City Council has again failed to include funding for a ferry terminal near Victoria St, West End in its annual budget, and has also neglected to include it in the draft of its 10-year Local Government Infrastructure Plan. The council's Local Government Infrastructure Plan has just gone out for public consultation, and will then need to be signed off by the State Government.
This petition is worded broadly to include alternative public transport options, so you can sign it even if you don't necessarily think a ferry terminal is the best choice, however it also makes quite specific demands. Previous petitions regarding this issue only targeted the city council, but the State Government is ultimately responsible for signing off on the Local Government Infrastructure Plan.
The point is to force both Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government to acknowledge that the current Blue CityGlider service is not enough to handle future projected population growth on the Kurilpa Peninsula and that council must plan to deliver better public transport in the next few years if it wants to reduce traffic congestion rather than sitting by and watching it get worse.
Other actions you can take:
Call or email Lord Mayor Graham Quirk on 3403 4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org to ask him to fund a West End CityCat terminal in the annual budget.
We call on the Lord Mayor and Brisbane City Council to include funding in the annual budget and the Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) for a new ferry terminal or other high-capacity, high-frequency public transport service along the western side of the West End peninsula. We call for the delivery of this infrastructure within the next three years.
We call on the State Government and the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning to refuse to approve Brisbane City Council's LGIP unless it includes a ferry terminal or other significant public transport investment for this area.
A new ferry terminal to service the Montague Road side of West End was a specific inclusion in the 2011 South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan, and was seen as essential to cater for the area’s rapid population growth. West End’s population has risen significantly, and council has approved several apartment developments of even greater heights and gross floor areas than the already generous limits set out in the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan.
Montague Road is often heavily congested during peak periods and the current Blue CityGlider route gets delayed by general traffic. While the Brisbane Metro and Cross River Rail projects will improve public transport services for other parts of Brisbane, the city council has failed to fund public transport improvements along Montague Road and around West End more generally. High-density development without public infrastructure is unsustainable. Please prioritise delivering this long-overdue upgrade.
Brisbane City Council just released its annual budget for 2017/18
June is budget time, and while most of the media attention is on State and Federal Government budgets, Brisbane City Council has also just released its $3 billion annual budget, which holds direct and immediate repercussions for local residents.
The BCC budget is drafted by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and requires a majority vote of all the councillors to get through. Because the LNP have a very large majority on council, whatever the Lord Mayor puts forward will be rubber-stamped without much public debate or scrutiny. The Labor Councillors usually vote to support the individual budget programs but vote against the budget as a whole, effectively so they can have a bet each way and oppose the LNP without opening themselves to criticism for opposing specific positive projects. I would suggest that while they might disagree with the Lord Mayor on specific funding priorities, their broader vision for the future of Brisbane is not so different from that of the LNP.
This means that while I can suggest and lobby for funding for different projects and services, the LNP has the final say. You can find the list of the priority local projects I requested for the Gabba Ward for the 2017/18 financial year here.
Below is a list of all the local projects within the Gabba Ward that the Lord Mayor decided to fund in our area. As you’ll see, there’s a little bit of positive investment in infrastructure for the inner-south side, but it falls far short of what’s necessary in order to cater for the rapid population growth we’re experiencing.
If you are interested in looking into the budget further, or wanting a more detailed explanation of what each heading refers to, you can download the full 2017-18 Brisbane City Council Budget from this link. If you download the file, 'Annual Plan and Budget full document 2017-18', you can look up a specific part the report by searching for the section number listed under each heading below (For example, for Footpath Reconstruction, search for 18.104.22.168).
More specific details of the particular projects listed under these headings haven't been released yet. I will find out more in the coming weeks, through the Budget Information Sessions. I’ll try to post regularly on my Facebook page to keep residents updated about what I’ve learned. I’ll also be sending out another email in the coming weeks with more details and some general thoughts on the BCC’s broader budgeting strategy. If you haven't already done so, you can sign up to my regular emails here.
I'm writing a couple of short articles to unpack and analyse the ramifications of the council budget. You can learn more via the following links...Read more