Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Connecting SEQ 2031 - LameLink to UrbanLink

The Connecting SEQ 2031 has recently been released, and is downloadable from the link below: http://www.connectingseq.qld.gov.au/Libraries/Publications_split/connecting_seq2031_3.pdf
This document replaces the draft version that was released and commented upon by BrizCommuter some time ago. There are a few differences from the draft version, see if you can spot the differences! Below are BrizCommuter's opinions on the document and it's plans.

More Green Bridges?
Page 1 - Starts with the title "Vision for a sustainable transport system", and the plans to double the share of active transport from 10% to 20%, double the share of public transport from 7% to 14%, and reducing private motor vehicle trips from 83% to 66%. This seems rather optimistic given the Government and TransLink's current policy of high fares and limited improvements discouraging the use of public transport, and turning public transport users back to using private motor vehicles! Not a good start is it?

Page 28 - Whilst it is noted that better connected, and higher density communities are required around public transport corridors, this study assumes that the unsustainable low-density urban sprawls of Ripley Valley, Yarrabilba, Greater Flagstone, and Caloundra South will continue to go ahead. These developments appear to contribute to the urban development problems identified. Three of these will require new rail lines, and one (Yarrabilba) just gets a bus service or two. Given the delays in building rail line to Springfield, and delays in providing upgrades to existing rail lines, the Government has better get their act in gear for providing half-decent public transport to the above mentioned urban sprawl developments before their populations become car reliant.

Page 39 - The progressive removal of level crossings is mentioned, with 7 level crossings listed as being given "priority". With level crossing incidents being an almost daily occurrence, BrizCommuter would expect far more level crossings would need to be replaced by bridges by 2031.

Page 46 - Rail network sectorisation is mentioned. These include a frequent inner-suburban UrbanLink service, outer-suburban ExpressLink, and express CoastLink services. This triple layer rail service will require considerable infrastructure investment (not necessarily mentioned) such as overtaking tracks, and new reversing points at locations such as Loganlea and Helensvale. The 15 minute off-peak UrbanLink services are required now (as per Melbourne and Perth), rather than at some unknown time in the future. As mentioned previously, the failure to implement 15 minute off-peak inner-suburban rail services in the 2012 timetables will be a disgrace. The extortionate train fares in SE Queensland mean that we currently have one of the worlds least value for money train services. Maybe the current service should be called LameLink?

Page 46 (continued) - BrizCommuter strongly supports Cross River Rail, but still laughs at the plan for a "Brisbane Subway" from Toowong to Newstead. It would be better for the latter line to allow through services from the Ipswich/Springfield Lines to selected rail lines from the North, so as to avoid the inevitable meltdown that will occur when the Ipswich/Springfield Line reached capacity due to lack of tracks through the CBD. BrizCommuter supports the plan to further integrate the bus and rail network. Will this mean that Enoggera bus station will cease to be a white elephant?

Page 51 - BrizCommuter likes the plan for a "people centred approach" to public transport planning. This appears to be in contrast to current thinking. Lets face it, the lack of information boards telling passengers where each CBD bus routes departs from is not exactly "people centred".

Page 52 - There is mention of a trunk and feeder network design. This makes sense for feeding railways with bus services, as long as the feeder buses maintain a decent frequency and connections are made. For the bus network it's a bit more tricky. Certainly a trunk and feeder network design could make for more efficient use of South East busway capacity (where some buses are full, but others are empty). However, if a journey is changed from a one seat journey to a two seat journey, the connections and frequency of both feeder and trunk services needs to be decent enough for the use of public transport to be attractive.

Page 57 - The ill-thought out idea of the Brisbane Subway is mentioned again. Longer term (pie in the sky) options for this UQ avoiding metro are mentioned. These include an extension to Airport Village via Northshore Hamilton. The Airport Line already runs past the Airport Village, and why not extend the Doomben Line to Northshore Hamilton? Another plan is Newstead to Bulimba. Why not just build a "green bridge" for buses across the river, and extend the CityGlider service across it? The last future plan comes straight out of the fantasy foaming files collection - "Potential conversion of some sections of Brisbane's busway network to subway". The successful SE Busway is a victim of it's own success, but converting it to light rail or subway would come at a huge expense, with the former not offering any capacity advantage over busway.

Page 58 - This page shows the rather messy rail network planned for 2031. This includes the grand plans of Cross River Rail, new trains lines to Ripley, Maroochydore, Kippa-Ring, Flagstone, and extension  of the Springfield Line to Redbank Plains. The North East Transport Corridor/Alderley to Strathpine/Trouts Road Line is also shown (which according to the diagram on page 99 will connect with Cross River Rail around Roma Street.

Page 71 - BrizCommuter welcomes plans to connect Brisbane's disjointed cycle networks. At the moment getting from A to B by bike often required running the gauntlet of Brisbane's road network, with a risk of ending up in the RBWH (which funnily enough can be easier to reach by ambulance than by the Inner Northern Busway in the am peak). Brisbane requires a cycleway network that is separated from main roads.

Page 99 - In addition to the above mentioned infrastructure improvements, there is mention of Victoria Bridge Bus Access improvements, TransitWays (i.e. bus lanes), various Busway extensions, and investigations of "Green Bridges" from West End to UQ, Bulimba to Newstead, and Kangaroo Point to CBD. Rail infrastructure improvements include Eagle Junction to Domestic Airport, Sandgate to Shorncliffe, Manly to Cleveland, Kuraby to Beenleigh, and Darra to Redbank.

The big question, is that with a broke State Government which has dropped public transport improvements left and right and centre in the last few years (Sunshine Coast Line, Kuraby to Kingston triplication, 15 mins off-peak), where will the $200+ billion required for these plans to come to fruition arise from?

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to add that UrbanLink services to Redbank in the draft document have been removed from the final release whilst a stabling yard is under construction at Redbank. I guess the the trains stored at Redbank will need to run dead to Springfield which will have frequent UrbanLink services or back track to Ipswich, Rosewood or Ripley.


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