Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016 Brisbane City Council Elections - Greens on the ball?

BrizCommuter is a slightly left of centre voter, who usually thinks that The Greens are bunch of hippie tree huggers. However, it appears that in the Brisbane City Council 2016 Elections, The Greens are the only party that haven't lost the plot. In fact, they have some very sensible public transport policies.

A quick recap on the LNP and ALP's policies:
  • The LNPs Lord Mayor Graham Quirk wants to re-build the inner Northern and SE Busway into a rubber-tyred metro system, which is has a long list of flaws. 
  • Graham Quirk and his LNP council were against the canned TransLink bus network review in 2013, and seem to be anti bus network reform.
  • Graham Quirk continued to lobby for the flawed Newman government BaT tunnel after it had been canned by the ALP, and a few years back SE Queensland Council of Mayors suggested the ludicrous Cleveland Solution, and Brisbane2Suburbs bus tunnel. 
  • The ALPs Rod Harding has suggested an unnecessary light rail (tram) line through Brisbane, of which plans are thin on the ground and un-costed. 
  • Rod Harding has also announced Free Fare Friday, which is flawed for a multitude of reasons, and is a smack in the face for his own party's (at state level) far review. 
So what have The Greens suggested?
  • Turning the Victoria Bridge into a Green Bridge, with 4 bus lanes, and a re-designed cultural centre busway stations designed to decrease bus congestion. This common sense policy is costed at just $40m. Policy here
  • Greens appear to support Cross River Rail. A no brainer policy!
  • Reducing fares to 2011 levels, which is costed at $60m - whilst BrizCommuter supports reduced fares, why should a council be subsiding public transport fare system that serves people beyond it's boundaries? BrizCommuter would prefer that this policy had been worded "lobby for fares at 2011 costs", as the ALP state government's fare review is underway.
The Green's mayoral candidate Ben Pennings has written an excellent rebuttal of Graham Quirk's metro idea, which BrizCommuter has copied and pasted below:
  1. In peak times, your proposal would force up to 400 busloads of people each hour to get off mostly full buses and get onto the Metro a few stops from the city. How much of the mooted time saving of 5½ minutes (from Woolloongabba) and 3½ minutes (from Herston) would be lost with this massive inconvenience for passengers? Do you know anywhere else in the world where this happens?
  2. Page 2 of the Final Report of the Lord Mayor’s Taskforce Brisbane Mass Transit Investigation states: “Of particular concern is the ability of light rail to use the existing Victoria Bridge. It is unlikely the bridge could be modified to accommodate the load of light rail vehicles, tracks and overhead line equipment. A new bridge adjacent to the existing Victoria Bridge would need to be constructed and would add significant construction cost and delay the implementation.” Has a full engineering analysis been done to ensure the Victoria Bridge is able to carry the weight of the Metro vehicles, track, power supply and associated equipment?
  3. Page 30 of Council’s own Suburbs 2 City: A Better Run for Buses pre-feasibility study report says, “Engineering investigations showed that a ramp of at least 100 metres would be required to connect the underground platforms and the green bridge to achieve the correct gradients. Any shorter and the tunnel would be too steep for buses to use safely and efficiently.” Has a full engineering analysis been done on the grade required for the proposed tunnel approaches? How far from the bridge will the underground Cultural Centre Station have to be to achieve the required gradient from 10 metres down?
  4. You’ve admitted council would borrow a “majority” of the $1.54 billion project. What is the exact amount of extra debt for Brisbane City Council?
  5. How do you plan to get grants from State and/or Federal Governments when no need or priority for any project like this appears in State or Federal planning documents?
  6. The proposed route does not take passengers within walking distance of much of the CBD, particularly north of Edward Street where most passengers want to go. How are you going to get commuters from the current.
  7.  underground bus stations to the rest of the CBD?
  8. Cross River Rail (normal rail) is by all accounts the most important infrastructure needed in Brisbane, if not Australia. Why don’t you focus council efforts in securing funding for this?
  9. The cardinal rule of infrastructure planning is first to use to maximum efficiency what you already have. Why would you spend $1.54 billion and disrupt passengers for years when the central problem can be solved for $40 million?
  10. Why on Earth would you spend $1.54 billion on public transport infrastructure and not include any new destinations?
Original link here

Ben Pennings has hit the nail on the head with the rebuttal and all policies, except for the council funding a fare reduction. BrizCommuter is thankful that at least one mayoral candidate appears to know what he is talking about when it comes to public transport. BrizCommuter might have to hug a tree to celebrate! 


  1. Thanks. I was interested to hear your perspective as you seem quite knowledgeable on the subject.

  2. I almost feel embarrassed to have to recommend voting for the Greens. But it's Rod Harding and Graham Quirk who should feel embarrassed. The former might have had the election in the bag if hadn't have launched fare free Fridays.

    Is it enough to get a Green council? I wonder what that would mean. Helen Abrahams (ALP) in The Gabba must be feeling pretty worried.

  3. Lets just hope that we can have some green solutions implemented in Brisbane no matter who gets voted in. It seems like the right way to go doesn't it?

  4. With increasing consumer usage and a higher demand for public facilities, any solution that is being suggested should indeed be taken into consideration. Initial costs might be high but if the eventual results are rewarding and worth all the hard work and expenditure, then the project should be executed and put underway.


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