Wednesday, March 21, 2012

bikeways issues: University Rd tunnel

Jackie Wolstenholme wrote Townsville City Council via their webform for maintenence:

Hi TCC I am writing to again report on the cement causeway that is part of the biketrack that goes from Lavarack to the old CSIRO building. This causeway was underwater for most of last summer, often with several inches of water that was flowing too fast to ride through - or - slimy brown moss that I dreaded ever putting my foot in, as well as the hazard of slipping. With just the bit of rain that we had yesterday (on top of what we have had in the last few days), water was again over the causeway. I'm therefore writing to ask whether something can be done to fix this problem - as a longterm solution. The irony of the situation is that the time that it is impossible to ride this route due to the fast flowing water is also the time that it is most dangerous to ride on the roads (noting that there is no allocated space for cyclists on the roads in this area) i.e. when it is raining and roads are slippery and driver visibility is poor. As the slime continues to build, I worry that riding this route will become a serious hazard, even when it is not raining. An ongoing concern is also the overgrowth of grass that extends onto the biketrack. This is a hazard because it blocks a substantial part of the path and leaves little room for people riding in each direction. I really hope that something can be done to make this a genuinely safe bike route. Thank you, Jackie Wolstenholme

She then chatted up Councillor Ray Gartrell who attended our Ride to Uni day breakfast, and supplied him with photos of the tunnel and approaches. He thought a wooden bridge over the causeway might be a big help.
The official response from Council is cautious at best, but the ball is rolling, as Ray quoted 
“It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.”  We have got things moving which is a step forward. 

the response from QH re: car park intersection

From: Liza Tomlinson <>
Date: 19 March 2012 5:28:03 PM AEST
To: "Fallon, Robyn" <>
Cc: Julie Watson <>
Subject: Discovery Drive - request for bike path through former CSIRO area
Dear Ms Fallon
Your request to create a bike path has been referred to Queensland Health for consideration.  We decline your request in the interests of safety for QH staff and people riding bikes through the car park.  We believe the only safe solution is for bikers to use the designated path and to dismount at the intersection. 

Liza Tomlinson
A/ District Executive Director Corporate Services
Townsville Health Service District
Tel  (07) 4796 4189
Mob 0439 790 976


The Townsville City Council has not been so dismissive, and their official response is here:
We need to get out and look at the lay of the land and develop a response next week. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Discovery drive construction situation

Queensland health constructed a new car park where the old CSIRO was. Gee I thought, that is a pretty good idea. Unfortunately, my notion of a good idea is using existing infrastructure pretty much as is, and not spending a lot of money. That isn't how it has worked out at all. They are spending a huge amount of our money on a major intersection with slipways and lights and a pretty typical TMR attitude to cyclists.

Here is the current situation while under construction. Be careful out there. There is soft gravel and heavy machinery and it is a mess.

The final product is a disaster for all of the people who ride this way into the hospital and university, and that is a lot of people! What a dismal outcome for cyclists, stop, dismount and wait for a light where we once had right of way. I hope you will add this to the portfolio of epic fails in Townsville perpetrated by TMR.

Well needless to say we are not happy, and want the Safe, Smooth, Direct bikeway reinstated in a better location. Here is Adam Connell's sketch of a quick fix:
"Please see attached my thoughts on the possibility of providing an alternative cycling route to JCU around the back of the new carpark. It would only require about 10 metres of paths on either end (in yellow) to avoid the new intersection where cyclists are required to dismount and would be a much safer and friendlier alternative.

The Estate Office will raise this suggestion with the Hospital and seek a response."

Allan Carpenter gives us a glimmer of hope:
"There will be an opportunity soon to find a better solution for this. 

DLGP is about to issue the brief for what is being called the Douglas Knowledge Precinct structure plan.  Essentially this means amalgamation of the JCU and TTH plans and will allow, for the first time, a proper consideration of traffic , transport and parking across the entire site – which of course includes cycle arrangements for both JCU and TTH.   There will be an opportunity for the BUGs to meet with the design consultants to discuss concerns, dreams and practicalities.

I’ll keep you advised."

I'll place comments from BUG members in the comments section, and I hope they grow into a useful forum of ideas.