Whether making the journey to school, work, the park or your local shops, everyone should have a safe walking route available. The Greens have a plan to roll out a suite of game-changing safety initiatives to make walking in Brisbane safer and more enjoyable.
We can keep our children safer, improve accessibility and reduce our environmental impacts by investing in infrastructure and initiatives that prioritise safe, connected walking and cycling routes. We can nurture more vibrant, connected communities by reducing short trips in private vehicles. We can reduce noise pollution and create better access to parking spaces. By getting feet out on the streets we can see more of our neighbours, improve personal fitness and ease traffic congestion.
Instead of expensive, road-widening projects that only shave a few seconds off driving time, Council should be investing more in small-scale projects that actually make local streets safer and create communities where people know the faces of our neighbours as we walk or cycle to school, work or play.
For decades, successive governments have prioritised cars in all aspects of city planning for Brisbane. Pedestrians have been treated as an afterthought, making the current infrastructure inadequate, unsafe and inconvenient. This encourages people to drive more, contributing to traffic jams, pollution and health problems related to sedentary lifestyles.
Right now, only 7% of all trips in Brisbane are made by walking or cycling, while 85% are made by car. That’s the same proportion as in 1992, but now we have 600,000 extra people living in our city: this means many more cars are on our roads.
The number of kids walking to school in South East Queensland has dropped from 33% in 1975 to just 14% in 2017. Between 8am and 9am, parents doing “school drop off” account for 20% of all kilometres driven in SEQ.
All that extra driving is bad for kids and stressful for parents, and it’s causing more traffic jams and parking problems. Many families simply don’t feel comfortable or safe sending their kids to school by bike or on foot because of dangerous crossings, speeding cars and missing footpaths.
Improving walking networks will provide more opportunities for children to walk to school, as well as to get all members of the community walking to nearby destinations. More walking benefits everyone, whether you are a pedestrian taking the healthier path of walking instead of driving a short distance, or a motorist who encounters less traffic jams because there are less cars on the road.
We need a Council with the political courage to seek long-term active transport solutions, and prioritise walking and cycling routes instead of focusing on roads. Since 2016 the Gabba ward has benefited from the leadership of Councillor Jonathan Sri who has tirelessly advocated for safer streets which prioritise pedestrians. Cr Sri has secured a number of wins for pedestrians in the community, including the successful negotiation for desperately needed sets of traffic lights in West End at the intersection of Montague Rd and Vulture St and outside Aldi at the intersection of Montague Road and Victoria St . We’re set to get more Greens councillors elected in 2020 and we have a plan to demand more improvements which will keep pedestrians safe and make walking a more viable, enjoyable option.
The Greens would roll out game-changing safety programs to make walking, riding or getting public transport to school faster, safer and more attractive than driving, including 1000 new safe pedestrian crossings over the next term of Council to make walking and cycling safer and easier. This plan means we will:
- deliver 200 new zebra or raised “wombat” crossings every year for one-lane roads around schools, shops and transport hubs. This would cost just $10 million per year
deliver 50 new traffic lights every year (‘signalised pedestrian crossings’) for larger roads in safety hotspots. This would cost just just $12.5 million per year
trial extended hours of 7am to 7pm in school zones.
Making walking and cycling safer throughout our city would:
give parents more confidence in allowing their children to walk to school
reduce pedestrian injuries
reduce traffic congestion
decrease noise pollution
improve health through increased exercise and air quality
reduce air pollution and carbon emissions
take the stress out of school drop-off and pick up time
create better connected neighbourhood where people know each other
make more parking spaces available when you really need it.
ONE THOUSAND NEW AND SAFER PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS
One thousand new safer pedestrian crossings equates to almost 40 per ward over the next four-year term of Council (e.g. eight sets of traffic lights and 30 zebra or wombat crossings).
Each zebra/wombat crossing costs an average of $50,000, including associated traffic calming (such as build-outs or speed bumps) on the approaches to the crossings, and upgrading lighting. Each set of traffic lights costs an average of $250,000, including traffic calming and build-outs, and upgraded or widened footpaths on the approach to the crossings.
$10 million for 200 crossings and $12.5 million for 50 traffic lights is a tiny fraction of Council’s current road-widening budget.
TRIAL 7AM TO 7PM 40KM/H ZONES AT EVERY SCHOOL
Safety should be our top priority, and school zones save lives. The risk of serious injury or death increases dramatically for every kilometre over 40km/h. Even though school zones generally stop after 4pm, many children are around schools in after-hour care or at school-based activities and are even travelling to school on the weekends or during holidays for sport and other activities.
Making school zones speed limits apply from 7am—7pm all year will make it easier to remember to slow down and will improve safety for children around our local schools. The reality of modern family life is that parents and carers are dropping children to before- and after-school care and activities, and current school zones are not adequate.
The Greens would invest an extra $92.7 million over 4 years, or an extra $23.2 million per year, on this initiative.
The Greens would invest an extra $92.7 million over 4 years, or an extra $23.2 million per year.