Fortitude Valley Two-Way Street Conversion Program

Principal Petitioner Eric David, Lutwyche
Date Closed Wed, 31 May 2017 This epetition has ended
No. of signatures 240 signatures

(View signatures)

Residents draw to the attention of Brisbane City Council the below. The Key Problem – One-way Streets In the 1970’s, when the car was king, Wickham and Ann Streets which run straight through Fortitude Valley were converted from two-way streets into one-way streets. The aim was simple, getting cars moving faster and more directly, or so they thought. By doing so there was also a serious side effect to this conversion, and that was pedestrian life. Wickham and Ann streets are undeniably like mini four lane freeways which slice through the popular entertainment area. Recent media coverage of boarded-up shop fronts in the Fortitude Valley are a direct reaction of the absence of pedestrian street life. Would you ever think of sitting on the side of Wickham or Ann Streets having a coffee or talking with friends? Never. Subconsciously we know that not only is it unsafe but undesirable to have trucks hurling next to you on the side of these streets.

The Solution – Two-way Street Conversion If you ever wanted a more simple and affordable way of giving back identity and pedestrian life for the Fortitude Valley, this is it. A mountain of global research has validated that two-way streets are undeniably better for pedestrian safety, walkability, property values, street-activation and neighbourhood rejuvenation. Why? Because two-way streets create what is known as traffic calming, which discourages high-speed and volume through-traffic and encourages people-orientated streets instead. The City of Perth has already begun converting some of their key one-way streets into two-way streets. For those of you who may be thinking this is a very bad idea, two way streets will certainly stuff up Brisbane’s traffic and make it even worse. Well, a recent report by SKM in 2010 titled ‘Two Way Road Network Paramics Model’ actually found that a two-way system reduced total distance travelled during both am (by 8%) and pm (by 16%) peak hour. Why? Because a two-way system gives you more route choices and decreases unnecessary circling trips. Also, who wouldn’t want to drive through a vibrant, happening street instead of a desolate, depressing streetscape.

The Plan - The solution is simple. Convert Wickham, Ann and McLachlan Streets back to two-way traffic and reclaim one lane for additional footpath and bikeway space. Two lanes would continue to serve traffic in the direction the one-way traffic currently flows, and the introduction of one lane of traffic flowing the other direction. A before and after sketch can be seen (https://brisbanedevelopment.com/two-way-streets-can-completely-revitalise-fortitude-valley) of the corner of Wickham and Brunswick Streets illustrates how the street currently looks like (a street designed for cars), and how a future two-way street could look like (a street designed for humans).

Your petitioners therefore request that Brisbane City Council support the conversion of Wickham, Ann & Mclachlan Streets into two-way traffic and reduce to three lanes in order to help the Fortitude Valley thrive. In doing so, the precinct will benefit in the following ways:

- Create traffic calming for Fortitude Valley precinct

- Friendlier for pedestrians

- Creates people orientated streets, not streets designed for cars

- Encourages sustainable transport choices

- Decreases vehicle travel time for local area and creates more route choices

- Decreases unnecessary circling trips

- Would help street activation and retail tenancies

- Boost day time economy as streets become desirable

- Helps create a sense of place and therefore boosting Fortitude Valley’s national reputation as a pedestrian friendly, accessible entertainment precinct.

The Brisbane City Council should also look to the City of Perth's successful two-way street conversion program as a guide for such a program in the Fortitude Valley (https://www.perth.wa.gov.au/planning-development/city-initiatives/two-way-streets).

Council response

Thank you for your petition requesting Council convert Ann, McLachlan and Wickham Streets, Fortitude Valley, from one-way to two-way traffic flows.

Your petition has been investigated and it was considered by Council at its meeting held on 29 August 2017. It was decided that the petitioners be advised of the information below.

Ann, McLachlan and Wickham Streets are all categorised as arterial roads in Brisbane’s road hierarchy. Their existing one-way function supports their critical arterial road function in Brisbane’s road network, providing safe and efficient connections for high volumes of through traffic between north Brisbane suburbs and the CBD, as well as to the major river crossings (Story Bridge and Captain Cook Bridge) located in the city centre.

The proposal to convert Ann, McLachlan and Wickham Streets to two-way traffic would require the modification of a minimum of 24 sets of traffic signals. The amount of modifications required to ensure that Council continues to provide a safe road environment would need to be assessed on a site-by-site basis. As a minimum, it will require the relocation of traffic signal poles and the provision of new poles to allow for two-way traffic. As part of the works to provide new pole footings, it may also require the relocation of service provider infrastructure and services (Telstra, Energex etc.) to ensure that poles can be located in locations as required by traffic signal design guidelines and standards.

One-way roads benefit the through traffic function in a number of important ways, in particular by reducing the number of conflicting turning movements at major intersections, which reduces cycle times at traffic signals and improves safety. The prioritisation of motorised modes also benefits bus services, by reducing travel times on major road corridors, with minimal impacts on general traffic.

Ann, McLachlan and Wickham Streets also provide a range of access functions for Fortitude Valley, including major bus stops, metered parking and loading zones for local businesses, in addition to primary pedestrian movements. This balanced mix of transport, economic, social and amenity functions is supported by the important role of arterial roads, to provide the primary connection on the local road network, between major activity centres across the city. The existing road hierarchy balances the need to provide for through traffic function on several major routes (Ann, McLachlan and Wickham Streets), while prioritising pedestrian, cyclist and low-speed traffic functions on the majority of side streets to protect local amenity and lifestyles.

Council acknowledges the work being undertaken in Perth to improve traffic and pedestrian movement within its CBD. However, due to the different urban and traffic characteristics between the Perth CBD and the Brisbane CBD and inner city suburbs, solutions suitable for one city are not necessarily able to be easily moved to Brisbane.

Council notes that converting the orientation of Ann, McLachlan and Wickham Streets would be a complex and potentially costly process. Based on this information, Council is not considering altering the road configuration of Ann, McLachlan and Wickham Streets at this time. However, this proposal will be included for public consultation as part of Council’s draft Transport Plan which is anticipated to be released later this year.