June WBTNI CLG South meeting notes

The June CLG meeting was the last CLG meeting. The WBTNI provided much more detail on how they had reached various decisions and also walked through some examples. More importantly, they provided us with some details of the strategies they were considering and you can see these later on after a bit of introduction to the meeting.

A part of the lead in we covered where the investigation has been and how it has changed. Two and a half years ago the investigation was very different. It was primarily a road based investigation with particular focus on the Western bypass options. Since then it has expanded into something much bigger and grander.

The latest update to the South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program (SEQIPP). There is also some time left for comment (closes June 6th). The SEQIPP is used to form the "base case" for analysing various strategies with the WBTNI. Some of the basics for the base case are:

  • Committed investments (SEQIPP).
  • Land use and employment centres (SEQIPP).
  • Private vehicles costs remain similar to today.
  • Technology stays the same.
  • Current trends in Public Transport will continue as they are today.

It is fairly obvious this base case is not a reflection of reality. It is just one possible view of the future that can be used to judge far more strategic options. From there different futures can be modeled, for example, private vehicle expenses may increase by 300%. Public transports may see compound growth of 6%. With all those possibilities in mind, the WBTNI is trying to deliver a strategy that can handle large variations in the future (Peak oil, congestion etc). The WBTNI feeds all these possibilities into their model to see how various strategies stack up.

As part of the lead in, some example land use/densities were provided (current as of 2008):

    New York - 10200   people/square kilometer.
    Munich   -  3500   p/km2
    Sydney   -  2100   p/km2
    Brisbane -  1225   p/km2
    Ipswich  -   167   p/km2

By 2026, Moggill/Bellbowrie will be approximately 600 people/km2, Brookfield/Kenmore at 530 people/km2 and Pullenvale/Pinjarra Hills at about 120 people/km2.

Expected growth in Brisbane is to the west, Gold Coast and CBD. Employment growth is expected in the CBD, Trade Coast and inner hubs (Milton, Mt Gravatt, ...). Population growth will likely see Western Brisbane expanded from 380000 in 2005 to almost 1 million in 2056.

So now to some of the possible strategies. One of common themes to all the strategies is a push to more active transport use. That is cycling and walking.

A - The Base Case

  • SEQIPP, committed projects.
  • Very little strategic expenditure or investment in the future.
  • Active transport is very important.

B - Public Transport Priority

  • Rail upgrades
  • Bus lanes
  • Some steps towards "C" below.
  • Active transport is very important.

C - New Rail

  • Rail backbone with strong bus support.
  • Train every 2-3 minutes on Ipswich and Caboolture lines and every 4-5 minutes on the Ferny Grove line.
  • Service at regular intervals.
  • Completely new, more capable rolling stock using existing lines.
  • Station upgrades (longer platforms, wider doors, more passengers in less time).
  • High cycle and pedestrian access with a 5Km radius. Green bridges
    where needed to bring active modes to stations, West End to St Lucia, Fig Tree Pocket to Sherwood, Jindalee to Kenmore and Bellbowrie to River Hills.

  • Requires a change in the way we see cycle/pedestrian transport.

D - Road and Freight

  • Inner Orbital road system.
  • North-South connections.
  • East-West connections.
  • Public transport inclusion on all roads.
  • Active transport is very important.

E - Balanced

  • New Rail (C) above
  • Bus lanes
  • Inner Orbital
  • Public Transport
  • Urban regeneration and better land use
  • North/South connector to west of CBD.
  • Active transport is very important.

The WBTNI will be endeavouring to provide a draft preferred strategy in the next one to two months, and while the official comments on options have closed they are still very interested in feedback and comments that may help in their assessment of strategies. The following table shows some of this assessment using the assessment frame work that has been discussed in previous meetings.

    Strategy                       A        B       C       D        E
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Strategic Fit with             N        Y       YY      YY      YYY
    existing government plans

    Improved Access                Y        YY      YY      YY      YYY

    Reduced Vehicle Kms            N        Y       YY      Y        YY

    Lost Time/Economic Impact      N        Y       YY      Y        YY

    Reduced Congestion             N        Y      YYY      YY      YYY

    Affordability                 YYY      YYY      YY      Y        YY

From here we were presented with a quick overview of some of the issues and decision making that is taking place with respect to the current Option 11, the Coronation Driver/Moggill Road bus lanes. Some of the options being considered are:

  • Busway from Indooroopilly to the CBD.
  • Buslane from Indooroopilly to the CBD with and extension to Kenmore.
  • Moggill Road Bus lane from Kenmore to CBD.
  • ...

Some of the facts that directly affect this option are:

  • Current Public Transport demand from Kenmore (including feeder suburbs to the west) is about 2000-3000 trips/day.
  • A high growth in public transport in the future could see this increase to ~10000 trips/day.
  • Light rail solutions start to be considered at around 20000-45000 trips/day.
  • Assumption that there we be no change in land use within the SEQRP.
  • Buses are currently the best solution for low density areas.
  • Zurich covers an area of approximately 90km2, Brisbane is closer to 700km2
  • Future growth from Indooroopilly to the CBD could see as many as 9000-16000 trips during the AM peak hours.
  • A bus way can carry up to 30000 people/hour
  • A bus lane can carry up to 10000 people/hour
  • Buses from Indooroopilly to the CBD would compete with existing rail service on that route.
  • Northern Link (transapex) may allow reclaiming of some road space for public transport.
  • The western corridor along the Ipswich line is already seeing a 40% patronage during peak times (That is 40% of commuters are using public transport).

The formalities of the meeting concluded at this point and questions continued for a while after. There was some discussion about road costs and their feasibility. All road projects are subject to a fundamental cost benefit analysis. That is the benefit must out weigh the cost over the life of the project.

The WBTNI are still keen to receive input and help people to understand the decisions that are being made. If you would like to know why some particular solution is not being considered they will most likely be able to provide more detailed information to help. The have also put together an information page showing all the projects under investigation in western Brisbane to help people find out more.

The best way to influence the WBTNI now is to show them that as a city we are prepared to accept particular strategies looking towards the future. We as a community also need to make sure our politicians understand what kind of solution we would like to see and how we would like a future Brisbane to look. If we can get recommendations from the WBTNI to align well with the governments perception of the communities views, then it is a much easier strategy to see implemented.

As one final comment, we have heard from independent sources, as well as the WBTNI, that by world standards, Brisbane is very well equipped with a rail backbone suitable for very sustainable and efficient public transport. All that is needed to see this potential realised is foresight from our leaders and support from their communities.

As always, if you have any queries or comments feel free to pass them on to us.

Western Bypass

Nick M.

It seems your group has successfully killed off any prospect of a western bypass in the near future - much to the detriment of everyone who lives within 10km of the cbd. Thanks to your efforts we will be exposed to incrasing volumes of traffic and increasing road development in the oldest suburbs of Brisbane. Congratulations.