24 December 2020
Submission - Request for Project Change 9 (RfPC-9): Southern Portal Works Area between Boggo Road and Dutton Park stations
Thank you for the opportunity to submit feedback regarding the Request for Project Change 9 (RfPC-9) submitted by the Cross-River Rail Authority for consideration by the Coordinator General of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.
I make this submission in my capacity as the Member for South Brisbane in the Queensland Parliament. The content of my submission is informed by feedback from the residents I represent. I have been briefed by representatives from the Cross-River Rail Authority, on matters related to engineering and consultation regarding this proposed project variation.
I urge the Coordinator General to give partial approval only to this request for variation.
I am satisfied that the first two reasons for the project variation will assist in extending lifespan of this new infrastructure, while minimising the noise pollution resulting from various types of trains using the southern portal. I have no objections to proposed project changes regarding:
- Design of the tunnel portal and rail track alignment
- Construction methodology of the southern tunnel portal.
However, I encourage the rejection of the last section of the RfPC-9 that would enable haulage routes to go through Peter Doherty St in Dutton Park. My objections are based on a series of unacceptable outcomes:
Long-term disruption of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure
The proposed project variation would see the complete removal and a bike lane along the southern edge of Annerley Rd, with insufficient information about plans for its relocation. This is indicative of a long-term disruption to this vital community infrastructure.
By removing the cycling lane on Annerley Rd, small kids travelling to Dutton Park State School will be sharing the road with heavy construction traffic. More realistically, unsafe walking and cycling conditions will prompt more parents to use their cars to take kids to/from school. This will further compound problems of congestion around Annerley Rd, which already sees long cars queues at school drop off and pick up times.
The project variation will see a further reduction of pedestrian infrastructure along Annerley Rd, with the removal of a traffic island south-west of Peter Doherty St. Removing the existing cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will encourage motorists to travel at higher speeds, further endangering active travellers.
The Boggo Road Station Precinct plan published by the Cross-River Rail Authority shows a new pedestrian and cycling bridge connecting three neighbouring sites: existing Park Road train station, proposed Brisbane Metro, and existing South East Busway to UQ and the CBD. This proposed pedestrian and cycle bridge will emphasize the centrality of the current pedestrian/cycling thoroughfare that connects Boggo Rd station to Peter Doherty St.
In order to encourage more people to use active transport as their preferred commuting mode, it’s essential to preserve cycling infrastructure, minimising variations to local routes.
The existing active transport infrastructure should remain in place, and receive additional safety treatment to boost the safety of all road users during the construction phase of Cross-River Rail. It should not be removed with uncertain plans for it to be reinstated, simply to serve contractors’ convenience.
Lack of clarity regarding local safety measures
I have been informed by the Cross-River Rail Authority about measures that will be put in place to mitigate dangers resulting from having Dutton Park SS families sharing Boggo Rd with heavy construction traffic (which is the current single entry-point for haulage to the Boggo Rd site; this entry point will continue to be used, regardless of whether a second haulage access point is granted at Peter Doherty St).
Such mitigation strategies would involve erecting scaffolding along Boggo Rd, and funneling all foot traffic to a single crossing-point along Boggo Rd, which may or may not be staffed by a traffic controller. There is insufficient detail about this aspect of the proposal in the documents published in relation to RfPC-9.
I am concerned that this lack of detail will result in setting up restrictive pedestrian management strategies that will result in significantly lengthening travel times to and from school because pedestrian traffic is funneled to a single crossing point. This is likely to result in (typically female) carers taking longer to do school drop-offs and pick-ups.
I am also concerned that the proposed pedestrian management protocols may result in inadequate turning circles for users of wheelchairs and other mobility aids, who will be funneled in with dozens of school-age kids at peak times. This is because there is no footpath on the side of Boggo Rd closest to the gaol, which means pedestrian traffic travelling to and from the school, public transport users, visitors to the Dutton Park police station, and others, will have to use a restricted space.
I urge the Coordinator General to consider the needs of the majority of road users when giving permission to setting up any scaffolding or other means to manage pedestrians -- and recognising that most of the users of this intersection at Annerley Rd and Boggo Rd; and Annerley Rd and Peter Doherty St are pedestrians, school-age children, their carers, and users of public transport (which are statistically more likely to be women and/or have impaired mobility).
Unacceptable disruption to vulnerable neighbours
Request for Project Change 9 would see heavy construction traffic along Peter Doherty St, which is the site of Leukaemia Foundation accommodation (ESA Village comprises 30 fully furnished units). These small apartments are used by patients and carers who have travelled from outside Brisbane, to receive life-saving cancer treatment in nearby hospitals. Patients are usually shuttled from their accommodation to their place of treatment.
The RfPC-9 would see a permanent increase of noise related to heavy construction traffic at all times of the day, including a permanent increase of +3.3 DB between 12midnight and 6am. Considering the well-known and intense side-effects of Leukemia treatment, I oppose plans that would result in a noisier environment for people who need to rest while they are recovering.
In addition to disruption caused by increased noise around the clock, I am concerned that enabling heavy traffic along Peter Doherty St will result in delays for shuttle transport trying to access the site for patient pickup and drop off. This will add an element of stress for an already vulnerable population, and should be rejected.
Worsening an already heavily congested area of the inner city
Annerley Rd serves as a key access point for The University of Queensland, three local hospitals, and feeds into the M1 citybound.
This area will get busier once the new Brisbane South State Secondary College on the corner of Gladstone Rd and Maldon st begins to operate in 2021.
By doubling the truck access points to the Boggo Rd construction site, this section of Annerley Rd in Dutton Park will worsen congestion along routes to neighbouring suburbs like Woollongabba, Buranda, Fairfield, and Annerley.
Inappropriate time for consultation
Lastly, I want to note the poor timing for this consultation, which has a deadline for submissions for 5 pm on Christmas Eve 2020. As the local member for the suburb where the Southern Portal Works Area between Boggo Road and Dutton Park will take place, I was not able to attend the two “drop in” consultation sessions that overlapped with budget estimates hearings in the Queensland Parliament. This is not an effective way of consulting stakeholders, and I can confirm my office has received comments to that effect from several local residents.
As the local state MP, I urge the Coordinator General to reject aspects of Project Change 9 that will lead to negative effects on safety for local schools, disruption of cycling infrastructure and general traffic congestion.