Sunday, 21 June 2015

Toowoomba has suffered from 'cycle experts' in the past, at great cost to tax and ratepayers and with very little concern from our government or council.

 Here (above) we see that $220,000.00 of public money was spent on a white line, called a 'bike lane' but in reality little more than a car-parking lane, since parking is allowed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every week of the year.

And (below) we can see a sight that made TMR Minister Rachel Nolan burst into laughter when she was shown a photograph of the scene.

A 'shared path' is normally for pedestrians and bike riders, but here our 'cycle experts' though it would be more jolly if the power poles were invited to share the path too.

After a little reflection as to the 'wiseness' of such a design, all was resolved with some white paint and a strip of red tape around the poles.

Clever, eh?

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Ruthven Street - Chalk Drive OCR changes

Above: View from Ruthven Street looking south across Campbell Street (Spotted Cow pub on lefthand corner).

Note the BAZ sign in the shoulder.

TMR have agreed to redesign this area, moving the turn lane over to the left further and adding a green transition bike lane (1500mm) to the right of the shoulder and straight ahead lane line.

TBUG argues that the transition paint must be continued beyond the Campbell St. junction all the way to the traffic lights at Chalk Drive - Ruthven St.

Above: TRC has created a loading zone and four car spaces immediately past the Spotted Cow.

A large, but narrowing, shoulder is evident between the parking space and the 60 kph left-turn only TMR slip lane onto Chalk Drive.

TBUG believes the loading zone and all four car parking spaces need to go, with the space given to a kerb-side bike lane that feeds into the TMR owned Chalk Drive.

Prior to the redesign, BAZ signs were in place, in the shoulder, in this area.

Ample provision for parking and unloading for the Spotted Cow is available in the back lane, Ann Street.

Above: This is the view from the last of the four car parking spots looking towards the increasingly narrow shoulder.

At the end of the chevron space is the traffic island built for an unmarked pedestrian crossing just out of sight of drivers, around the Chalk Drive corner.

Being a TMR road, the road speed is 60 kph, with an advisory speed of 40 kph.

Above: Looking north along Ruthven St. from the traffic island build out towards the four car parking spots.

Above: TBUG has proposed that this traffic island build out be used as a bike lane taking bike traffic around the corner from Ruthven Street into Chalk Drive.

The island needs to be cut back to provide an 1800mm space between the kerb and the traffic island.

This becomes the protected bike lane, with transition paint from the Ruthven St. entry point, through the cutaway area, and past the island through the current chevron marked area going east.

That will provide a safe passage for cyclers not wishing to use the main traffic lane, the slip lane from Ruthven St. into Chalk Drive.

Cyclers who elect to use the main traffic lane will have to ride mid lane, so TBUG proposed having BAZ signs placed along the left hand lane from the Spotted Cow, all the way around into the left hand lane of Chalk Drive, where the road has the OCR eastern flowing lane joining.

Above: Looking west from Chalk Drive towards Ruthven St.

This area to be expanded to 1800mm, treated with transition paint.

This proposal is no different to a Copenhagen Lane, found all over central Melbourne

It also reflects a similar TMR design to be found at Mt. Coot-tha Toowong.

See: Austroads 'Cycling Infrastructure: Selected Case Studies', 5. Left Turn Slip Lane for Bicycle Users, Figure 5.1: Cyclist Slip Lane: Mt. Coot-tha loop, Toowong, Austroads 2014, p.14:

Above: At the eastern end looking east of the proposed bike lane around Chalk Drive. 

TBUG proposes the green transition paint continues through this chevron zone, runs adjacent to the left hand turn lane seen in the distance and joins the left hand traffic lane of Chalk Drive at the end of that left hand turn lane.

Above: Contrary to the assurances found in a letter to TBUG from the Minister's office, TRC has made no provision for any bike lanes on the new OCR.

TRC has provided a shoulder on each direction, of about 1500mm. This remains a shoulder only.

TRC has mode no provision with BAZ signs on the OCR.

A cycler on the OCR, travelling east from Russell Street and wishing to continue east along Chalk Drive, is given no assistance through road markings to move from the kerb side lane to the straight ahead lane to cross Ruthven St.

Above: The OCR going west from Ruthven St.

The 1500mm shoulder clearly visible.

Above: Looking north up Ruthven St at the OCR - Chalk Drive intersection.

A large space adjacent to the kerb available for a bike lane for the straight ahead cycler.

TBUG proposes the green transition painted lane (continued on from the other side of Campbell St) for the straight ahead rider terminates at this point in a green holding box ahead of the straight ahead lane arrow visible here. It needs also to extend to include the adjacent right hand turn lane, to allow riders entering the OCR to go west the opportunity to get ahead of right turning traffic when moving off from a red-green change.

Above: Another shot of the same area showing the amount of vacant space available for bike infrastructure - had it been included at the initial design phase.

Above: TRC continues to advertise the 'end' of the bike lane.

This is the bike infrastructure TMR have previously insisted never existed along Ruthven St.

Above: Remnant BAZ sign marking the start of the trail of BAZ signs down Ruthven St that culminate in the 'end' sign featured above (see also the first photograph for the same BAZ sign).

Scant, if any, regard has been paid to the TMR policy to be found here:
Cycling Infrastructure Policy (PDF, 161 KB)

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A good article from SQ Law on the state of cycling in Toowoomba.

Click on the article to get it full size.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Toowoomba to Allora return ride

The ride left the Art Gallery Gardens at just after 8.00 am, having waited for Noel to fix his first puncture on his new bike. As we left, Margaret's changer fell off and had to be repaired by Justin of Bikeline, as he sat having his breakfast at the Metro cafe. Dedication Justin, dedication. The day was hot and windy, all the way to Allora while being punctuated with excitement, such as the Angry Mower at the Cambooya pub and the personal views of cyclists from the Sheriff of Clifton. Snaps supplied not by Andrew 'Lord Snowdon', who had to work that weekend, but by Rob.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

20mph: A snapshot of the evidence

A new survey commissioned by Sustrans shows that 70 per cent of British people want the speed limit to be dropped to 20 miles per hour in residential areas to make them safer. But it’s not just public opinion that supports an area-wide roll out of 20mph - the evidence of the safety, health and economic benefits is irrefutable. Safer streets There were 405 pedestrian and 111 cyclist deaths in Britain in 2010, yet we know that reducing speeds saves lives. When the Transport Research Lab (TRL) reviewed 250 20mph schemes across Great Britain they found that accidents per year fell by 60%1, and a recent British Medical Journal study showed that the introduction of 20mph zones was associated with 42% fewer road casualties. Younger children were the main beneficiaries in this reduction in causalities, and serious injuries and fatalities also dropped significantly. A better place to walk and cycle High vehicle speeds are the greatest deterrent to walking and cycling. Reviews show that reducing speeds to 20 mph (30 km/h) encourages more people to walk and cycle3. A 20 mph speed limit in built-up areas allows for the safe mixing of motorised and non-motorised modes of transport, and makes it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the same direct and safe routes for their journeys as motorists. Smoother traffic flow, reduced congestion and cheaper fuel When 30km/h zones were introduced in Germany, car drivers changed gear 12% less often, braked 14% less often and required 12% less fuel4. Research also showed that driving at a steady 30 kph reduces vehicle emissions as braking and accelerating between junctions and other obstacles decreases. Sociable places Heavy traffic damages communities – and the speed of traffic plays a key role. A study from the Commission for Integrated Transport found that where cities have 20 mph speed limits covering between 65% and 85% of the street network, they are transformed “from being noisy, polluted places into vibrant, people-centred environments.” Economic benefits There are clear financial benefits to 20mph. In 2010, the estimated cost to the economy of collisions in Britain was around £15 billion.7 Conversely, area-wide 20mph limits are low cost and high benefit. For example, Portsmouth converted 1200 streets in the city to 20mph for a cost of just over half a million pounds whilst Transport for London (TfL) estimates that the 20mph London’s zones are already estimated to be saving the city more than £20 million every year by preventing crashes.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

TRC Council candidates respond

All 21 Toowoomba Regional Council election candidates responding to a survey question on cycling and road safety supported a 50kmh speed limit or less on Toowoomba streets. Currently Toowoomba suffers from having speed limits up to 60 kmh in many built up areas and even within in the city zone.

Co-ordinator for the Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group (TBUG), Mr. David Allworth said, “A reduction in speed from 60kmh to 50kmh reduces the chances of a fatality for cyclists and pedestrians by nearly half.

“This reduction would be an important step in the right direct for making our roads more conducive for cycling, not to mention driving,” Mr Allworth said.

Research shows a reduction in speed from 60kmh to 50kmh reduces the chance of a fatality for pedestrians and cyclists, from 9 out of 10 to 5 out of 10 and the chances of fatality at 40kmh are down to 3 out of 10, while at 30 kph it is only 1 out of 10.

"It is very pleasing to see that five council candidates supported an 30kmh and 40kmh speed limits on our streets, which is in line with researched thinking in other Australian states and particularly in some European nations," Mr. Allworth said.

"Council candidates also very strongly supported the creation of a Bicycle Advisory Committee and no parking in bike-lanes.

“The current council permits parking in bicycle lanes. This makes cycling more dangerous and wastes ratepayers funds by building a bicycle lane only to the allow parked cars to block bicycle movement within it," Mr. Allworth said.

"The last two councils have failed to bring together community and government to generate the discussion, consultation and innovation necessary to encourage more people to cycle and make cycling safer for those who already ride. The way forward is through the creation of a Bicycle Advisory Committee," Mr. Allworth said.

All candidates who provided an email address were surveyed with a total of 21 council candidates and one mayoral candidate responding.

"It is a great shame that apart from Mr. Rob Berry, all the other candidates for Mayor decided not to outline their position on the cycling to the community they hope to serve. But this does reflect the inertia that cycling has coped with in the first term of Toowoomba's expanded council," Mr. Allworth said.

“Addressing the issue of cycling is a key pillar for any efforts to make Toowoomba and district more liveable,” Mr Allworth said.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Nelson Street roundabout makes the news

CYCLISTS have hit out at Toowoomba Regional Council for failing to supply adequate bike lanes on the city's roads.

The Toowoomba Chronicle inspected the new Nelson Street roundabout with TBUG and wrote this story:

TBUG has now written to Bicycle Queensland, Transport & Main Roads, and Austroads, the so-called standard setters of Australian road design, and we await word back from them all.

Austroads, in particular, seems to be responsible for allowing poor design to continue as an option for local authorities and it is hard to understand why this is so.

Maybe it will take a death or injury event and legal action against councils, TMR officials and Austroads standard setters before the message gets through, that the continual prioritisation of motor vehicles, at the cost of cycler safety, on what the law recognises as a shared space, is not an acceptable return for tax and rate monies invested?