Starting last month, the Brisbane City Council has been building an extension to the bikeway at Marchant Park in Aspley. The new extension crosses Webster Road at Gympie Road – which is of course a major State-controlled arterial – so the department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) are responsible for the upgrade at the crossing.
Last week the MP for Aspley, Bart Mellish, made a Facebook post about the intersection, reporting that TMR are planning to replace the current zebra crossings on the slip lanes with traffic signals. I was concerned this would make an already dangerous location – the slip lanes here are a free-flow design from the 1960s, with high speeds and poor visibility – even more hazardous for pedestrians and cyclists, so on Friday I wrote a letter:
I received a phone call the same day from a Communications Officer and the Project Team Leader, and their response was very positive. Essentially, they agree with my concerns, and would much prefer to remove the slip lanes, but told me altering the left-turn from Gympie Road was a sticking point. So today I wrote another letter, addressing that issue:
The difficulty with removing the slip lanes is more political than practical, of course; a problem typified by the local MP’s knee-jerk response on Friday that he would not support creating “massive delays and traffic chaos” for a “slight improvement in convenience”! But the fact remains these dangerous and antiquated highway slips are completely inappropriate in a residential suburb, especially across a popular walking and cycling route – and set to become more popular, when the new bikeway extension opens.
If you are a road safety, walkability or active transport advocate and have a relationship with TMR or the Brisbane City Council, please get in touch with your contacts and voice your support for closing these slip lanes as part of the current bikeway upgrade. If we miss this opportunity, it will go straight back in the ‘too hard’ basket, and we’ll be stuck with an intersection at Webster Road that’s even less safe for pedestrians and cyclists than it was before.