Cycling in Brisbane Australia
I have speculated that Facebook is a forum killer for a while now, so I post this shameless cross-post to even the score a bit.
I was browsing through the Brisbane City Council Budget and there are a few notable items for active transport that have been festering for many years. There will probably be many other things hidden in roadworks and intersection upgrades too as bicycle lanes are frequently added to these projects - but they will only be found when the DA drawings are released.
I thought some promising ideas emerged this year with the proposal for a "riverwalk" out at Indooroopilly and the recently mooted "elevated bikeway" around Queens Wharf - creative solutions problems of space - a good thing now that these ideas are in peoples heads I reckon. Maybe we will start to see more elevated bikeways around and over problem areas.
Not enough separated bikeways in the various Council and State Government budgets for me though, but, year on year, some encouraging signs of the importance of active transport. I wonder too, about connections across Council boundaries as I live quite close to one - connecting the missing bit of the Cabbage Tree Creek path between the Brisbane City Council area and the Moreton Bay Regional Council area would be a nice touch.
I'm afraid I'm starting to get really suspicious of these figures. I the numbers seem so epically large for such small upgrades. I've never heard of them going out to tender, and then when their is signage it often says "with the assistance of the state government". So are those figures before the state chipped in, or after?
The thing that really disturbs me is often they will do an upgrade at epic dollars to the bike budget, and then rip it up and re-do it.
The figures lack transparency, and I lack the time to try and badger it out of them so I guess we'll just have to take their word that they are spending all this money on cycling.. even if we can't see it.
Yes. I have a local example of budgeted intention versus reality only a few kilometres from where I live.
A year or two back, an item appeared in the local paper announcing improved bicycle safety going past the old Keperra shopping strip near the railway station there. And so it came to pass that this was done and a few nice median strips with vegetation were installed and a little roundabout and some new bitumen and road markings with little yellow bicycles painted on the road appeared along with some ramps onto the footpath. A hundred yards of new concrete pathway was also laid through a park opposite the Keperra Railway Station
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that part of the Brisbane City Council bicycle budget was spent on could fairly be described as street beautification. I'm not saying that this was of no benefit for bicycles riders - the road is a bit of a rat run and most of the motor vehicle traffic slowed down a little bit and this benefited bicycle riders a little, though this was of benefit to everyone so it was not really a bicycle thing so much as a community thing. The trade-off here is that there is less room on the road because of the median strips and roundabouts and more conflict between bicycle riders and motorists was built in to the streetscape.
I guess the bottom line here is that the bicycle budget was robbed to build a streetscape which should have been funded from another part of the budget, or at least mostly funded from another part of the budget. I don't think anyone complained - it made the street look quite a bit nicer really, just no real improvement for bicycle riders in spite of the money coming out of the bicycle budget.
I think budgetary diversion happens a lot. I think the question we should ask is not that the bicycle budget is being robbed, but rather is there a benefit to bicycle riders when the bicycle budget is being spent and is it good value for money.
CBD BUG did a right to information request a few months ago on the BCC budget breakdown from 2008 to date. We haven't done a Facebook post on it yet, but since you seem to like that sort of forensic accounting ... docs are here.
I seem to find new things each time I look. e.g. spending was about $100M from 2008-12, and about $120M from 2012-16, but then $16M and $23M of that, respectively, was actually state funding. Huge amounts have gone on the Bicentennial, and the biggest single "project" was Telegraph Road (about $19M). It's unclear if projects have been selected to add up to the magic values in the final accounting.