Dear Residents and Members of Little Streets!
Thanks so much for your very detailed submission. As the Greens candidate for the Gabba Ward, I have the authority to respond to your questions and make local policy commitments both on my own behalf and on behalf of Ben Pennings, the Greens candidate for Lord Mayor.
My responses should be read in combination with my responses to WECA's candidate letter, which I understand has already been shared with residents through the WECA mailing list. As a keen cyclist, and someone who's passionate about sustainable transport systems, I'm committed to transforming the Montague Road neighbourhood into a safe, walkable neighbourhood, where walking and cycling are the primary modes of local transport.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me by phone (0432 184 942) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). More details about where I stand on local issues can be found at http://jonathansri.com.
I'm pleased to confirm that if elected I will push for a new Local Area Traffic Management Plan (with sufficient funding allocated in the 2016/17 BCC budget).
I appreciate the practical, cost-effective immediate solutions proposed in your submission. I note that in the long-term, the only way to permanently address parking and traffic congestion issues on the peninsula is to encourage more commuters to travel by public/active transport. Among other solutions, the Greens are proposing major reductions in the cost of public transport, and a new bridge linking West End to Toowong. This bridge would be closed to private vehicles, but (subject to further planning and consultation with residents) would perhaps remain open to buses and/or light rail services, providing strong incentives for commuters from the inner-western suburbs to travel by public transport or bike rather than car.
As explained on my website at http://jonathansri.com/montague/, I'm also fully supportive of separated bike lanes along Montague Road, traffic islands down the middle of Montague, a redesign of the Vulture-Montague intersection to make it more pedestrian-friendly, and safe pedestrian crossings at or near key crossing points including Victoria, Raven and Anthony Streets.
Perhaps most importantly, I'm strongly supportive of dropping speed limits to 30km/h on all the little streets which are currently zoned 40 or 50km/h (subject of course, to approval from local residents). Dropping (and enforcing) the speed limit is one of the most effective practical disincentives to rat-running, and will make for quieter, safer, pedestrian-friendly streets.
I'm pleased to support all of the immediate 'signs and lines' solutions listed in your submission, with the following exceptions, which I feel I need to seek more advice on from traffic planning experts before committing to:
installing the 'no left turn' signs from Hardgrave Rd onto Victoria St, Archibald St and Skinner St (I know at least one Skinner St resident who works early morning shifts in Fairfield and would find it extremely difficult not being able to turn left into his street on his way home in the mornings)
- the possible closure of one end of Drake St
- as I said above, I'm committed to a redesign of the Vulture-Montague intersection, but will seek further advice as to whether a roundabout is definitely the best solution
- some street clusters suggested additional street closures - I'm open to short-term trials of this idea, but would obviously need to consult further before confirming my position in this respect.
Ultimately, many of the problems highlighted in your submission stem from the rampant over-development of the Kurilpa Peninsula, which in turn is a result of the undemocratic influence that property developers exert over city council. Our local and state government framework continues to heavily favour developers over residents, and some of the Queensland government's proposed amendments to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 will only entrench this problem further. I believe we need to increase pressure on the Queensland government and Brisbane City Council to ban political parties from accepting donations from property developers and other major corporations, and work to break up the network of influence between property developers, land speculators and senior government officials that continues to undermine our democracy.
Thanks again for the opportunity to respond to your submission, and for the many hours of valuable volunteer work you've put in to this submission. In a better world, council would take more responsibility for resourcing and supporting groups like Little Streets, and I will continue to fight for a system where local planning and development decisions are decentralised so that ordinary residents have a greater say in the future of their neighbourhoods.
Greens Candidate for the Gabba Ward