Brisbane is a river city but you wouldn’t know it from what Brisbane City Council is doing in East Brisbane.
Council has been increasing private access to the Brisbane River and to a large part of Norman Creek near Mowbray Park in East Brisbane.
At the same time Council has been creating barriers to public access.
Consider this map of Lytton Road and Laidlaw Parade preventing access to Brisbane River. The red lines show roughly where private property and roadworks cut people off from the river and from the estuary (pardon my drawing).
As many local people are already aware, increased access has been afforded to a private school, Church of England Grammar School, through leases of public land for playing fields, for profit making tennis courts in Heath Park, and for boatsheds to give preferential access to pupils of Churchie at the expense of public access.
Now consider the obstacles ordinary pedestrians face when wishing to access Brisbane River and quiet enjoyment of the public space left in Mowbray Park.
In the idealised BCC version of Lytton Road, a pedestrian has to negotiate three lanes of traffic, a traffic island, another two lanes of traffic, a bus lane, and a bikeway before getting to the park. Note the lack of flyovers or underpasses.
Added to this, private residents in Laidlaw Parade with river frontages obtain several benefits from the roadworks currently underway.
Take, for example, the extent to which Council has gone to accommodate riverside residents of Laidlaw Parade and provided vehicle ingress and egress to their properties. I find this curious because, if you look at the riverside properties, the residents have chosen to shut themsleves off from public spaces by erecting walls and automatic lock-up garages prohibiting public view or access to the river – save for their own private access. Their private enjoyment of the river remains uninterrupted. It is community that they do not like or trust.
To further enhance their private access, Council has ‘punched’ two new access roads from Laidlaw to Lytton road before Canning Bridge outbound. How this improves peak hour traffic flow we will have to leave to the dreamers in council! I say not.
This severely limits access to the park and the river to local residents and visitors.
It makes access for the very young and elderly a difficult if not dangerous proposition.
Council issued a statement on 14 Oct 2018 that it ‘has developed an implementation plan for a world-class network of river access infrastructure for residents and tourists to enjoy the Brisbane River.’
I do not see any evidence of this in and around Mowbray Park.
What’s to be done?
Those interested may attend a meeting of locals and Councillor for the Gabba Ward, Jonathan Sri, at Mowbray Park on Saturday 8 Dec 2018 at 10.30 am near the playground in the park.
Say what you want done to improve Mowbray Park.
6 Dec 2018
Example of how the road planning system is failing: https://www.jonathansri.com/speedmontague