Saturday, 13 June 2009

What do Main Roads think about bikes?

It is hard to understand how hard it can be to implement a government policy when it is all written down for managers to follow, isn't it?

But maybe that is our fault too, for not bothering to check to see what our taxes are paying for when it comes to policy formation.

Here are a couple of MRD urls below that are worth reading, and then comparing with what happens on-the-ground in the Toowoomba District.

The first paragraph is well worth reading... "Main Roads considers all road users in the design and maintenance of our state-controlled road network. This includes motorists, public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists."

So, if MRD considered cyclists to be 'road users', just the same as car drivers and truck drivers, there would be some evidence of this, say at Highfields, where millions of tax dollars were spent on upgrading the highway?

Sadly not, there is no provision made there at all for cyclists, and the highway speed, at 70 kph, seems to be an open invitation for some drivers to go even faster!

By the way, when the Nelson Street-Ruthven Street works are completed, there may, or may not, be bike lanes. TBUG has asked for 'the plans' but these are being kept hidden from us at the moment, even though Mr. Alan Tesch, the Assistant MRD DG, has assured us in writing that bike lanes WILL be going in, from James Street south.

We do know, however, that MRD are currently refusing to make this section of road 60 kph, as it should be, and have told us that they need to consider the truck drivers trip times first, so from Burstows to past Nelson Street the speed limit will be 70 kph, just like at Highfields, which the local MRD boys regard as a great success, so they have told us anyway.

Maybe we need to look closer to home, to the new works between James Street and Nelson Street?

Sadly not. The $40million plus of our tax monies is being spent only on motorists, again.

Of course, there is a modest section of bike-laning at Alderley and Ruthven, but this partial work assumes no cyclist ever wants to turn right at the traffic lights, going north or south, with no bike lanes marked for turning cyclists and no 'green boxes' anywhere to be seen.

And further back down the road, at James Street, the MRD are putting in those tiny yellow BAZ (Bicycle Awareness Zone)signs that motorists ignore, those signs that tell cyclists to get-in-the-gutter-where-you-belong.

It's a bit odd that these BAZ signs are going in because both MRD and QT officials have assured the TBUG that neither department will support them on work they fund.

So, how can this be happening here?

TBUG has raised this issue with the local MRD Director, Mr Murray Peacock, and were not the least bit satisfied with his response.

Do read his own newsletter, where readers are told all about the new work, and how bike lanes are going to be provided:$file/in-and-around-toowoomba-november-2008.pdf

This is what the newsletter says about fitting bike lanes.... and it never mentions BAZ signs once!

New England Highway (Ruthven Street) Nov. 2008

This is a series of six projects to upgrade sections of the New England Highway (Ruthven Street) through Toowoomba including seven intersections.

Two are completed, one is currently under construction, another is out for open tender and two are in design.

The projects are being funded jointly by Main Roads and Toowoomba Regional Council and will consist of intersection improvements, route lighting, signal upgrades, four-laning of short sections and bicycle lanes.

The total cost of the projects is $41.065 million.

We have now written to the Director General, asking him if he expects MRD policy to be implemented in this District, or not.

Why did we do this? Because, perhaps foolishly, we read the following and though it also applied to Toowoomba:

Main Roads will encourage and facilitate cycling. Cyclists are legitimate users of the Queensland road network and as such the planning for, and design,construction, maintenance and operation of state-controlled roads should be undertaken on the basis that cyclists will use the network. Main Roads will allow for cycling as part of the planning and protection of new road corridors.

Seems not... MRD policy only applies to Brisbane, apparently, where voters obviously count for more.

Have a look here for the general statement on what our public servants promise to deliver for us, with our taxes:

For those cyclists who want to know more, read the policy here:$file/MR_Cycling_on_StateRoads_Policy.pdf

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