By Tony Moore
The University of Queensland, one of Brisbane’s biggest sources of cyclists and pedestrians, has not expressed a preference on the location of two new green bridges spanning the Brisbane River.
The university, based at St Lucia beside the river, has not formally given an opinion on the routes for Brisbane City Council’s two new proposed green bridges – from St Lucia to West End, and Toowong to West End.
Since 2011, there has been a 35 per cent increase in bike trips to and from the university, its website shows. Of the 53,696 students enrolled there this year, about 7 to 10 per cent cycle to classes, compared with 3 per cent who regularly cycle in the general population.
Community consultation on the bridges ended on March 31.
The bridges to the West End peninsula will be the third and fourth built under council’s $500 million Green Bridges Program. The first two will be built at Kangaroo Point (to the CBD) and at Breakfast Creek, at a cost of about $300 million.
The program is due to begin in late 2021 and construction could take 12 months.
In 2017, UQ identified a new bicycle – and potential light rail – link from St Lucia’s Guyatt Park to West End’s Orleigh Park as part of its December 2017 masterplan.
However, UQ Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry said the university had not made a submission to council’s planning process this year.
“We’ll respect council’s decision,” Professor Terry said.
“UQ encourages active transport and supports Brisbane City Council’s proposal to create a river crossing that provides clean and safe options for staff, students and visitors to travel to campus and better connects the university with other parts of the city.
“If the council decides to proceed with the proposed bridge between St Lucia and West End, the university would welcome the opportunity to engage with BCC at the appropriate time.”
The two bridges between St Lucia and West End, and Toowong and West End each have three options.
Council, which is still studying the public submissions, has not yet revealed the community’s preferred options.
“The proposed alignment for each bridge will be subject to further community consultation, technical investigations and feasibility assessments,” a spokesman said.
The preliminary business cases are not expected to be completed until later in the year, however surveys by the Greens on websites run by Gabba councillor Jonathan Sri and state MPs Amy MacMahon and Michael Berkman show two preferred options:
- between St Lucia’s Guyatt Park to West End’s Orleigh Park (Option A) and;
- from the former ABC site at Toowong to Forbes Street in West End (Option A).
Cr Sri said the party’s Facebook surveys showed a broad range of views.
“I think there is majority support for a bridge somewhere between West End and St Lucia, and it seems there is a slim majority of support between Orleigh Park and Guyatt Park as the best spot,” he said.
However, Cr Sri added that these surveys were secondary to council’s full consultation process.
“They ran their own surveys, and it will be interesting to see those results.”
Dr David Pincus, convenor of St Lucia’s Save Guyatt Park community group, said the public consultation did not ask residents if they thought a green bridge at St Lucia was even necessary.
“All we were ever asked was, ‘If we have one, where will it be?’ ” he said.
Dr Pincus said cyclists can already use the ferry to cross the river.
“The prospect of having even a free [ferry] service back and forward would be infinitely better than spending the $200 million,” he said.