Wynnum Road Corridor Upgrade – Stage 1

In October 2014 Brisbane City Council released a concept design for stage 1 of the Wynnum Road corridor upgrade, between Latrobe Street and Canning Bridge. EaST BUG provided feedback on this design, lobbying hard for inclusion of a fully separated bike path in this major road redesign. We are very pleased that the project team have taken into account feedback from the community and incorporated active transport measures into the final concept design which was circulated in July 2015, and is available from the Council’s website here.

Update, August 2015: Outcome of discussions between EaST BUG and the Brisbane City Council project team on a number of issues we identified in the Concept Plan:

Areas marked for Proposed Future Development – Driveway crossovers
EaST BUG had asked for a commitment that any use of those areas marked for “proposed future development” (pale green in the concept plan) would not allow private driveways directly into the corridor that could compromise the safety of people walking or riding. We were reassured that the access to those new developments will be from Scanlan St and Laidlaw Parade only. This will be set as a condition of any development in line with Council’s aim to minimise property access from major road corridors wherever possible. This is good news, as it will prevent future driveways compromising the safety of the new bikeway and footpath.

Connectivity at the western end
Connectivity is an important aspect of the construction of effective bicycle routes because people travelling by bike need to be able to undertake and complete meaningful trips. We also know that mixing cycling traffic with pedestrian traffic on footpaths is dangerous both to people walking and to people on bikes, and everyone finds such mixing uncomfortable. We had therefore raised concerns that the plans appeared to show the separated cycling and pedestrian paths converging at their western end to a narrow shared path immediately adjacent to busy Lytton Road.

In response, Council has confirmed that the shared path shown in light blue on the Concept Plan is included in the Stage 1 works, and will be 3m wide. This path will link through to Wellington Road, where cyclists can re-join the popular commuter route through to the Story Bridge via Thorn and Lambert Streets. It is not expected that there will be a lot of pedestrian traffic on this section of path, as the main pedestrian route is between Mowbray Park (including the ferry terminal) and the shops and bus stops near the Heidelberg St corner.

We discussed ways to ensure the safety of people using this path where it crosses Park Avenue, and will continue working with the project team for find a good solution for this crossing.

Transposition of cycleway and footpath
While it is generally considered best practice to have a footpath furthest from motor vehicles with a separated cycle path in between, in this instance the situation has been reversed with the cycle path set back furthest from the road. This been done so that the cycle path can be routed behind the bus stops, allowing for convenient through travel for commuting cyclists while ensuring the safety and comfort of people getting on and off buses. Also, because the new properties along the road won’t have their access via Lytton Rd, this should minimise pedestrians wanting to cross the cycleway.

EaST BUG are happy that provided the cycle path and footpath are clearly marked (as intended), the arrangement which has the cycle path furthest from the road makes sense in this situation. We welcome your feedback on how you feel this will work.

Width of the Cycle Path
Although we acknowledge that the width of this corridor is quite tight, EaST BUG will continue to insist that a 2-way cycle path should be a minimum width of 3.0m – not 2.8 as proposed. This will allow cyclists to safely overtake, allowing the path to be comfortably used by people of all ages and abilities.

Laidlaw Parade intersection
It is well recognised that for bicycles to be most effective as a means of transport cyclists must be able to maintain speed without having to slow or stop often. Once stopped, it takes considerable time and effort to regain the desired operating speed. For pedestrians, time spent held up at signals waiting to cross—particularly when there is no traffic to wait for—is a disincentive to walking for transport, or a motivation for taking risks crossing against pedestrian signals.

Hence at the intersection of Laidlaw Parade and Lytton Road, EaST BUG have requested that through pedestrian and cycle traffic along the main Lytton Road corridor be provided with the same priority as through motor traffic. This means that the default phase for pedestrians and cyclists should be green, and through traffic should only be held up when the signals are triggered by traffic wanting to turn at the intersection.

The project team have agreed to consider this request. They have also confirmed that traffic turning left into Laidlaw Parade from Lytton Rd will be controlled (i.e. have a left turn arrow). This feature had been included for the safety of cyclists, rather than allowing cars to slip left and risk not seeing them – particularly those people on bikes travelling outbound.

Scanlan St intersection
Although there will be no turn allowed in to Scanlan St, and left-turn only out of it, this crossing still provides a potential conflict point between people travelling along Lytton Rd by bike and drivers emerging from the side street – particularly if they block the path while waiting to turn into the main roadway. Although the project team did consider closing Scanlan St completely from the Lytton Rd end, the safety aspect of this was outweighed by the need keep it open for emergency access. For city resilience (eg. in the face of storms or flooding), it is important not to have a single traffic entry/exit to an area.

They confirmed that the stop line for vehicles does need to be right out next to the traffic lane to ensure that the sight-line is adequate. Additionally, there is insufficient room to set back the bikeway crossing further from Lytton Rd giving cars waiting to turn space to stop after crossing the bikeway but before reaching Lytton Rd. From a commuting cyclist’s perspective, that’s bad news. However, Council’s modelling shows that even with new developments along Lytton Rd, there will only be expected to be about 8 vehicles per day (4 in morning peak) turning out from Scanlan St. Given this, EaST BUG are requesting that markings are used to indicate that vehicles coming from Scanlan St are entering a shared zone when they cross the bikeway and footpath. We acknowledge that it may not be possible to prevent them blocking the path while waiting at the stop sign, however if the traffic modelling is correct this should happen quite rarely.

Visible separation of cyclists and pedestrians through intersections
EaST BUG have stressed that the visible separation of the cycle and foot paths should be maintained through the intersections with Laidlaw Parade and Scanlan St. In particular, the ramps shouldn’t be designed so as to create squeeze-points where people on bikes and those on foot are brought in to conflict.

Heath St / Heidelberg St / Lytton Rd intersection
With the new pedestrian and cycle bridge over Norman Creek opening in early 2016, we can expect an increase in bicycle traffic coming from Heath St and wanting to access the Lytton Rd cycleway via the crossing near Heidelberg St. Council have confirmed that there will be a ramp from Heath St allowing cyclists to cross to the shared path (shown in pale blue), and then cross Heidelberg St and Lytton Rd using the pedestrian signals. The crossing of Heidelberg St will be a single phase (currently it is done in two parts), and the area in front of the shops on the corner will be built out so there should be sufficient room to manoeuvre with bikes and wait for the signal to cross Lytton Rd.

Project Timing
Detailed design is expected to be completed mid next year. Land acquisition will commence next financial year (i.e. from July 2016). Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2020.

For updates on this project, please visit the Brisbane City Council project page.