I went for a walk down to Webster Road this afternoon, where the Brisbane City Council and TMR are extending the North Brisbane Bikeway. The ramp widening on the western slip island is almost complete, while the eastern island is a mess of temporary tarmac – still no signs to indicate to pedestrians what’s going on, of course.
(The bollards on the far side of the intersection are not part of the bikeway works – they’re repairs from the latest all-too-frequent car crash).
But perhaps what’s most alarming is there has been no marking or cutting around the existing pedestrian crossing across Webster Road, which currently features absolute-minimum-standard 1.2m kerb ramps and a nice big stormwater drain jutting into the crossing in the middle.
This is meant to be part of the North Brisbane Bikeway, remember – it’s quite a contrast to the showpiece photos on TMR’s website! This is not a crossing that two cyclists can safely pass each other on, let alone the kinds of groups – families on bikes, with dogs, or with kids in strollers – that one commonly sees using the paths around Marchant Park.
Upgrading a signalised intersection with a bikeway crossing is not rocket science: you remove slip lanes, and you widen the crosswalks to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross safely and simultaneously. In recent years, BCC and TMR have mostly managed to do this – from Woolloongabba to Wooloowin. So what’s gone so badly wrong at Webster Road?
It’s been three weeks since I wrote to the Minister’s office about my concerns with the Webster Road crossing, and two weeks since I was told a formal reply was being drafted. I phoned and emailed Nic at TMR today to find out how that was going, as well as to confirm that there are indeed no plans to widen the crosswalk as part of the current project, but she did not get back to me. I’ll update this if I hear from her tomorrow. (EDIT: the current crossings not being upgraded has now been confirmed, and I’m expecting the formal response later this week).
In general, getting any information from TMR about the bikeway at Webster Road has been difficult: their attitude seems to be that it’s “minor works”, so they’re not obliged to tell anyone anything about what they’re doing. It’s horrifying to think, but was avoiding public consultation a factor in the planning decisions? Maybe Right to Information can shed some light – however long that process takes…
(They have built an oversized concrete apron around the signal control box though. There’s priorities for you).