Apr 292008

I’m a Brisbanite, but can’t actually say I’ve paid a whole lot of attention to this seemingly benighted development. Until now.

I haven’t had to work in the CBD for quite a while, but that all changed in January this year. Once again exposed to the rigours of making the daily commute into the city, I’m limited to travelling either by train, or car. Bus is definitely out, given where I currently work in the city, and the hours the job requires. Personally, I despise public transport in any event. It’s uncomfortable, inconvenient and expensive. In fact, from a cost/convenience perspective, travelling into town by six cylinder Camry (yes, Timmy……I have another Camry!) five days a week costs me as much in fuel as a weekly train ticket. The plus for me being the convenience of being able to come & go as I please, in comfort, without having to endure the press of my fellow human beings. There’s also the additional benefit of enjoying Radio National as I go. Something which is impossible on Brisbane’s electric train system.
Travelling by car into town has awakened me to the current state of gridlock on Brisbane’s suburban roads during morning and evening peak hours. To put it bluntly, it’s fucking terrible. A journey of 24 kilometers, which normally takes thirty minutes, takes one hour fifteen minutes. Unless some fool fails to pay attention, then it’s much longer. There are five paths one can follow into the CBD, which cross the river. The Gateway Motorway, Storey Bridge, Captain Cook Bridge/South-East Freeway, Victoria Bridge and the Grey Street Bridge. The latter two options aren’t mainstream access points as one is restricted to basically one lane each way, and the other accesses the western end of the CBD, making the overall journey much too long. The Gateway Motorway crossing leaves one with an ardous journey across the north-eastern suburbs, which leaves only the Storey Bridge and Captain Cook/South-East Freeway. All avenues are chock-a-block during peak times, with traffic movement never quicker than 40kph.
Why am I telling you all this local trivia, reader? Because the Northbank Development will literally straddle the existing South-East Freeway which runs along the northern bank of the Brisbane River. It seems to be a wonderfully well thought out project, if you believe the Multiplex blurb, but I notice there’s absolutely no mention of the enormous potential this development must hold for disruption of traffic flows along the freeway. I’ve cobbled together a couple of photos from the wife’s flickr collection which fairly accurately show that stretch of the north bank of the river which the development will change. As can clearly be seen, the South-East Freeway is right smack-dab in the middle of the project and is supposed to continue to run under the development. Full plans of the Multiplex proposal are no longer available from the Qld Government website, undoubtedly given the public outcry over the potential for damage to the heritage district of of the CBD, and encroachment into the river itself, with all the attendant disruption to animal and plant life.

Brisbane’s Northbank. Victoria Bridge to the immediate left. Capt Cook Bridge to the right.

Whilst I’m not a raging greenie or an avid user of the Brisbane River, I am a daily commuter. One of 4,000 every hour over the Captain Cook bridge during peak times. I don’t need what has every appearance of being a politically acceptable, developer inspired construction project which has every possibility of running two years plus, creating absolute chaos amid an already stagnant daily commute. I’m a’gin it! I’ve just decided that I need to start paying a lot more attention to this project, and which way our Anna will wave as the winds of public opinion change.

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