Walking and riding in Brisbane has been kicked up a gear with the State Government and Brisbane City Council establishing a joint committee to tackle missing links between the State Government and Council’s growing transport networks.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey and Chair of Public and Active Transport Councillor Ryan Murphy have made the announcement today to co-convene an Active Transport Advisory Committee (ATAC), to work together and draw on the experience and insights of cyclist groups.

“Riding regularly to work and on weekends recently myself, one of the clear bright spots during this terrible pandemic has been seeing more families and commuters take up bike riding,” Mr Bailey said.

“What has become clear to me is that while both the state government and the city council have substantial and growing citywide networks, they’re not always as well co-ordinated as they could be.

“I approached the Lord Mayor and Councillor Murphy about it and they have both been positive about working together on integrating and better linking our bikeway and walkway networks with active input from cyclist and walking groups.

“Right now the Palaszczuk Government is investing in major projects like the $45 million Veloway Stage E on the city’s southside and the fourth stage of the North Brisbane Bikeway, as part of a $219 million commitment for dedicated bike infrastructure Queensland.

“They join new bike paths being built as part of major projects like the $400 million Ipswich Motorway upgrade, but we need to make our active transport networks more seamless, which means working closely together with the cycling and walking community and different levels of government.

“More and more people are choosing cycling as a great way to exercise and commute and Council is focused on encouraging this momentum. The joint Active Travel advisory Committee will build upon the Council and State track record of working together to enhance our combined cycling network” Cr Murphy said.

ATAC will represent both cyclists and pedestrians to ensure integration between both modes of travel.

“This will allow us to more easily collaborate on constructing missing links and improving connectivity,” Cr Murphy  said. “So far this year, there’s been a 30% increase in total usage of our bikeway and pathway network.

“The advisory group will allow direct communication on Council and State bikeway planning, to inform future priorities and enable the people of Brisbane to continue to make active and healthy travel choices.

“With only one large council and state government covering an area with more than two million residents, this is a great opportunity to work together to better develop our bike networks so they are fully connected.

“We are looking forward to finalising membership and activating ATAC very soon.”

Bicycle Queensland welcomes the initiative of a joint Active Transport Committee.

“The creation of a joint Active Transport Committee made up of  State Government, Brisbane City Council and Cycling community representatives is a real opportunity to blend State and Local government strategic plans in a co-ordinated approach,” Bicycle Queensland CEO Rebecca Randazzo said.

“I think we can get a lot done by linking State government and BCC networks better.  By working together, I hope we can identify infrastructure projects in a more co-ordinated and cost effective way.

“I hope that a closer working relationship between local and state government  can cut through some of the red tape that is traditionally associated with cycling infrastructure upgrades.

“The committee creates an opportunity for the cycling community to work closely with decision makers on projects which create a safe and harmonious transport network in the wider Brisbane Region.”

Queensland Walks Executive Officer Anna Campbell said Queensland Walks congratulates the Transport Minister Mark Bailey, and Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner by forming a joint Active Transport committee which will help more people to safely walk and cycle in Brisbane.

“Walking is often overlooked as a mode of transport, and part of everyone’s journey,” Ms Campbell said.

“We have seen the importance of walking during this pandemic. We know that walking is the most popular form of recreational activity, and often undervalued as a transport mode. We have seen more people wanting to walk, let’s prioritise active transport infrastructure. An Active Transport committee will assist this process of making Brisbane a more walkable and liveable city.”

The committee’ composition will be finalised shortly,  with the first meeting to be scheduled in coming weeks