2024 Local Elections

Local elections used to be decided on who emptied the bin, and whether parks were clean and libraries resourced. However, when you look at the major construction and infrastructure projects that local councils across Australia are involved in, local government elections are not only a choice about traditional services, major road upgrades, tunnels, intersections, urban precincts, bridges, river crossings, transport fleets and networks and a lot more must also be considered.

With local government elections being held across Queensland, we have had fun sharing our ideas for what would improve Brisbane if we were given a mayoral magic wand for a day. Ryan O’Neill would fix cycling missing links, Andres R. would create new bridges across the river, Chris Dale would bring on Brisbane Live, and Sean Savage would make an east-west public transport solution.

Ryan O’Neill – Cycling’s Missing Links

Ryan chose to wave his mayoral magic wand to fix the missing links in Brisbane’s Bikeway network, such as the ones on the northside between the RBWH and Lutwyche, and the western suburbs between Toowong roundabout and the Bicentennial Bikeway on Coronation Drive.

Ryan explained, “I would wave the mayoral magic wand to fix these links to create a safer, more efficient Brisbane, one with an uninterrupted bicycle network that means wherever possible, cyclists and road users do not have to mix. Whether connecting North Brisbane to the CBD or Toowong and the CIty, I’m all about linking these missing routes to create high-quality, active travel facilities that improve safety, accessibility and connectivity for riders and pedestrians.”

The Bicentennial Bikeway is a key link in Brisbane’s active transport network. It is located along the Brisbane River and connects Toowong to the Brisbane CBD, providing access to South Bank, Brisbane CBD, Kangaroo Point and New Farm through connecting bridges and pathways.

On the other side, the North Brisbane Bikeway connects the CBD with Brisbane’s northern suburbs, including the picturesque Kedron Brook Bikeway, for residents, visitors and commuters, allowing for easy travel access through some incredible Brisbane bushlands.

“As a casual cyclist, I understand the importance of safe access to bikeways and pedestrian walkways, particularly when cycling as a family. Not needing to end my travels by cycling off the bikeway — whether in north or west Brisbane — onto main roads and battling, in some cases, oncoming traffic, especially with two young kids, would be sensational.”

“To me, fixing these missing links would mean more Brisbane-centric quality-time activities with my family on the weekend that are safe, more accessible, and sustainable for all. In addition, as Brisbane grows, the opportunity to have dedicated bike lanes stretching across Brisbane would help alleviate congestion, would limit conflict between cyclists and road users and create a seamless interconnected network that would improve safety and travel times.”

Andres Rodriguez – New Bridges

If Andres were to be mayor for a day, bridges would be the projects most in need of his powers.

“We live in a city dominated by the river, yet we have comparatively few cross-river connections,” said Andres. “So, if I had a magic wand, I would create a couple of crossings across the river to connect commuters, residents and destinations for car, public transport and active transport users. My first magical bridge would be the Green Bridge between Toowong and West End. As a West Ender scooter commuter, I want another connection across the river so that when travelling to Toowong, I don’t have to head to the Go Between Bridge and cross the river to then go back about the same distance when I need to do chores at the Toowong Shopping Centre or Milton.”

Currently mothballed due to budget constraints, Andres believes the green bridge would benefit commuters and open up public transport options in the West End. “This projected bridge would also benefit a huge number of pedestrians/bike riders that commute daily on the Bicentennial Bikeway and Riverside Drive and often need to change the side of the river they’re on. In addition, for the residents at the Orleigh Park end of West End, a bridge to Toowong would open up rail access on the Ipswich Line, which would encourage more users to take advantage of rail connections that can’t be accessed from the West End without going to South Brisbane.”

Not finished there, Andres also believes another road bridge is needed across the River.

“I think we need another vehicular bridge, too,” said Andres. “Located somewhere between the Go Between Bridge and Indooroopilly Bridge, we have a real need for a new crossing, one that would benefit thousands of residents on both sides of the river who are longing to cross the river without using the already congested crossings of the city and the bottleneck at Indooroopilly.

Chris Dale – Brisbane Live

Chris Dale has selected Brisbane Live as his project worthy of a mayoral magic wand.

“One of the most exciting projects that has been mentioned for Brisbane in recent years is the Brisbane Live arena,” said Civil Project Partners’ Chris Dale.

“It could be the perfect project for the mayoral magic wand as it requires a unified approach from multiple stakeholders, including the Council, State Government, Federal Government, International Olympic Committee, Queensland Rail, and the private sector. With any project with multiple stakeholders, getting everyone on the same page and in agreement is always a huge challenge.”

Its unique use of space, leveraging of public transport, and potential to free up an asset make this project unique and worthy of some project magic.
“Brisbane Live is planned for the dead space over the tracks in the corner of Roma Street, where the train tracks lead into the tunnel under Albert Street. With space at a premium in a CBD, building a venue over the tracks is a great way to maximise space.”

“In addition, an 18,000-seater indoor area will leverage the investment being made in Cross River Rail, further supporting the investment made in the future of Brisbane’s transport network. All around the world, highly successful venues benefit from direct access to regular high-capacity train networks, and I can see Brisbane Live becoming a huge part of Brisbane’s future and a great legacy for Cross River Rail and the Olympics.”

“What also interests me is what other assets can be recycled due to Brisbane Live. The Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall has its problems – anyone who has tried to leave the car park after the event or used public transport after an evening concert can tell you about its challenges. But, in addition, its capacity is only 11,000, which is probably a little small for global acts, sports teams, and major Olympics events.”

“Would Brisbane Live free up Boondal for asset recycling? It probably should, with the land potentially rezoned for housing to provide a huge area of land with good road and rail connections ready for development. It’s important to remember that the problems with accessing Boondall are due to public transport times and the design of the carpark, not the location, so it makes sense to work out what the site is for if Brisbane Live proceeds,” said Chris.

Sean Savage – An East West Link

An East-West public transport solution would be Sean Savage‘s key project if here were elected Lord Mayor for the day.

“Central to this year’s election debate is public transport and congestion, with all parties and potential Lord Mayors focussed on what can be done to increase the former and minimise the latter,” said Civil Project Partners,” Sean Savage.

“So, if I had access to a mayoral magic wand, I’d create an east-west public transport solution for Brisbane. North-South will have Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro, but when you look at Brisbane on a map, from Moggill in the west to Manly in the East, public transport is neither quick nor easy.”
The lack of ease makes a solution challenging, according to Sean.

“Whatever the debate in Brisbane about the naming of Brisbane Metro, as a rapid transit system that uses existing and updated infrastructure, it will be a huge asset to the city. So, if I waved my mayoral magic wand, I’d want an east-to-west equivalent that connects major centres in the western suburbs to those in the east, for example, from Kenmore to Wynnum Plaza.”

“Will it be feasible? Will it be likely? Probably not, but that’s what the mayoral magic wand is for to speculate on how we could improve the city with some magic. But it could be possible in stages, taking the lead from how the Council plans (if re-elected) to extend Brisbane Metro further North into Chermside to take advantage of road widening and the proposed Gympie Road Bypass Tunnel. Could a similar approach be used from the east to the west? It would be interesting to look at a route using Moggill Road, Coronation Drive, through the new CBD infrastructure, then out along the busway to Wynnum Road or Old Cleveland Road before heading to Wynnum,” said Sean.

Context Matters

What we tried to achieve was context around the importance of the local elections in Brisbane because unlike many, or indeed any local council, the scope of Brisbane City Council’s projects, budget, and population dwarf just about any other council in Australia.

The city will also be home to one of the world’s largest global events in 2032, the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We’re also facing a prolonged period of growth as our southern neighbours, envious of our lifestyle and climate, relocate in their droves, desperate to call Brisbane home.

“When you think of the scope of Brisbane City Council’s responsibilities, it is a little bit mind-blowing,” says Civil Project Partners’ Ryan O’Neill.

“They have to do everything that is expected of them from residents that any other council has to navigate – rates, bin collections, development approvals, dog parks, kerbside pickup, libraries, waterways, public transport, buses…the list is endless. But when you add in hosting a major global event, managing the city’s growth, and investing in multi-billion-dollar engineering projects, the role of Brisbane’s City Council is on another level to just about any other in Australia and is comparable to some of the largest global cities.”

“That’s why local elections matter; the outcome will make a significant difference to the city’s daily operation and future, so local elections are vitally important, in this instance, as important as state and federal elections.”

The Outcome

In the end, congratulations to Adrian Schrinner for winning the re-election as Brisbane’s Lord Mayor.

With the ballot buzz still in the air, we break down the LNP’s four-point transport and road infrastructure plans for Brisbane, which promise to elevate Brisbane’s transportation landscape. As Brisbane is the largest local government area in Australia with a $4.3 billion budget, there will be a lot on the agenda. Let’s dive into the key infrastructure initiatives.

➡️ Extending the Brisbane Metro service north and east
➡️ $15 million upgrade to Brisbane’s traffic management system
➡️ $10 million Safer Schools Precincts to make school streets safer and ease congestion along local streets
➡️ $25 million commitment to upgrade the Inner City Bypass
➡️ $10 million upgrade towards Ipswich and Beaudesert roads
➡️ $425 million on road resurfacing, kerb and channelling across the suburbs and upgrades to suburban pedestrian and traffic bridges
➡️ $45 million to fix Milton Rd and Croydon St and Sylvan Rd and Croydon St intersections
➡️ $126 million to be spent on active transport projects, including a new bikeway along Shafston Ave and new walking and cycling paths

We look forward to the upcoming Brisbane roads and infrastructure projects over the next 4 years.

Comments are closed.