Jonathan Sri response to Little Streets

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 (jonathan.sri@qld.greens.org.au). 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.

Warm regards,
Jonathan Sri
Greens Candidate for the Gabba Ward

Candidates Responses: Nicole Lessio

Please find below the responses to our Letter to the Candidates from Nicole Lessio, Gabba Ward candidate from the ALP.

1. Parks/open/green space

I'm really excited by the concepts presented in the Green Space Strategy prepared by local landscape architects in conjunction with WECA. So much so that I have committed to extend the idea beyond the peninsula. The Gabba Ward has been the subject of rampant development without the benefit of additional infrastructure and public space. I'm committed to working with the community to find that space through a Green Space Strategy for The Gabba.

According to the responsible Council officer, the Thomas Street park was supposed to begin construction this month with the design they had created after our feedback. Addressing this design would be a priority should I be elected - time is of the essence.

2. Development

A Rod Harding Labor Council will fix CityPlan and stick to it. We know there have been so many exceptions to the rules that there may as well be no rules at all. Neighbourhood Plans and CityPlan are a contract with the residents - that this LNP Council has broken time and again. I want people in The Gabba Ward to have confidence that the plan means what it says.

The Absoe site is a very significant one for our community. Any plans for this site need to adhere to the SBRNP and City Plan.

The same applies to the Distance Education site - however, with some approvals already in place for some parts of the site, ensuring compliance going forward will be the priority (and challenge).

3. Traffic, transport and mobility

I believe that an integrated traffic management plan is required and will fight to ensure this is created and implemented. This will need to have the scope to investigate options such as speed reductions, partial street closures, traffic calming and pedestrian and cycle safety.

'Commuter' parking is a challenge affecting our streets that I know only too well. Some residents have discussed extending the 2P parking area to include those streets that aren't currently. This will require extensive consultation as there are challenges as well as benefits.

Public transport is too expensive and we need more innovative solutions to get more people out of their cars. Labor's 'Fare Free Friday' will give immediate relief to household budgets and encourage drivers to give public transport a try while we await the fare review the State government is undertaking.
Labor is committed to bringing light rail back to Brisbane with pedestrian/cycle access on a bridge across to UQ. Moving more people and freeing up buses to service the suburbs.

I am supportive of the Bicycle Queensland proposal to increase safety on Stanley St - active travel is vital to cut congestion on our small but very busy streets.

4. Events

I was pleased to sit in on Better Gabba Board meetings where community members were unanimous in their support of WECA events - in fact, I believe WECA has received more funding from the LMSIF than any other organisation. I am very supportive of these wonderful community events and, should I be elected, commit to assisting to reduce costs wherever I can.

5. Local commercial retail

A vibrant and diverse local economy is vital to our community - but it doesn't happen on its own. Rod Harding has announced that a Labor administration will create an Office of Economic Development (currently a function of Brisbane Marketing) and a $12 million 'Energising Suburban Villages' fund to revitalise our retail precincts.

Brisbane is at a critical juncture - we cannot afford another four years of unfettered and unsustainable development. If we want to change the culture, we have to change the Council.

Little Streets letter to Candidates

Dear candidates for Lord Mayor and candidates for Councillor for the Gabba Ward in the Brisbane City Council elections, March 2016,

The Residents of the Little Streets East of Montague Road West End (13 streets who have determined to work together) are requesting that you consider:

A new Local Area Traffic Management Plan (LATM) and improvements to be funded in Council’s Budget, Program 2 - Moving Brisbane, over the next four years to address ‘rat running’, congestion, speeding, safety, parking management, asset damage and loss of amenity issues in the Little Streets east of Montague Road, West End.

In 2009 the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan allowed for the dramatic increase in dwellings west of Montague Road. Thousands of high-density residential dwellings are now being built, along with new businesses to service the increased population. This has resulted in safety, amenity, and parking issues, and use of neighbourhood streets for inter urban transit resulting in significant damage to Council assets and loss of amenity for residents. Improvements to the traffic network such as the duplication of  lanes on Montague Road are not likely to happen (as it requires land dedications through development) in the life of the Neighbourhood Plan. The reliance on the Little Streets to take traffic from new development west of Montague Road is not acceptable or sustainable. Solutions are required now.

In 2014 and 2015 well-attended community meetings were held and a community group has formed to discuss issues and to suggest solutions. Representatives of Little Streets met with Council officers and on 21 October 2015 and a traffic study was completed. This study provides useful baseline data however the focus on traffic volume, rather than outcomes of traffic behaviour (speeding, illegal parking, reduced pedestrian safety, and asset damage) does not reveal the issues of the ‘lived experience’ of residents. Real time data of traffic queuing on Montague Road and the wider network is available on the internet/Google Maps (by tracking of mobile devices) and the impact this congestion has on rat running in Little Streets can be shown.

Little Streets is a residents’ community group who are working group under the West End Community Association and has no political affiliations. We are active in the local community, communicate regularly, have a significant database of contacts, and have a well-represented and active Facebook page. Members regularly communicate on traffic issues with Council, Councillors, developers and their contractors and report issues. Little Streets have come together to request an integrated solution.

A new Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) plan funded in the Council Budget – Program 2 – Moving Brisbane is required that discourages non-local traffic, moderates vehicles speeds, and provides a safe environment for pedestrians, cyclists and residents in the Little Streets.

A clear demarcation of the threshold between the high-density development west of Montague Road and the low-density character Little Streets to the east is required. From a road hierarchy perspective, threshold treatments are required to indicate to motorists that they are entering a lower order street where the speed limit is lower, direct property access is more prevalent and shared use of the road by pedestrians and cyclists is encouraged.

Little Streets are a constructive group and are mindful of integrated, feasible solutions and have proposed short-term cost effective ‘lines and signs’ solutions, better enforcement of traffic conditions on new development and longer-term hard infrastructure solutions. Little Streets issues and solutions are outlined in clusters of streets in the attachment.  

Each cluster of Little Streets is prepared to formally petition Council, however, in the interests of efficiency and integration, in the first instance, this submission simply requests a new LATM including funded and phased solutions in the 2016 and forward years Council Budget, Program 2, Moving Brisbane to address the impacts created by the South Brisbane Riverside Neighbourhood Plan density increases on the Little Streets east of Montague Road, West End.

Would you kindly provide a response to this submission by 14 March? If elected, a further response is also requested prior to the finalisation of your Council budget in June 2016.

Thank you for your consideration.

Little Streets (East of Montague Road, West End) Committee 

 

Please see Attachment for this cover letter and a submission for:
Ashington, Skinner, Victoria Streets Cluster
Drake Street Cluster
Crowther, Archibald, Brady, Harriett, Edgar Streets Cluster
Mitchell, Ida, Rogers, Raven Streets Cluster

Attachment: combined submission from Little Streets 25 Feb 2016