Words by Elisha Matthews
“Why did a person with a disability cross the road? Same as the chicken. To get to the other side. For connectivity of paths to make walkability in our community successful, we need access ramps, crossing signals and bridges. There’s nothing more frustrating that having a perfectly good path to take you where you need to go across the road but no way of getting there safely. Just as important as materials used to build paths, and width of paths, is access to paths for people with disabilities.
Access ramps need to be safe for both pedestrians who walk and those who use other means. Not having so forces wheelchair users onto roads where we risk being hit by a vehicle.
With those access ramps, on high traffic roads and intersections, safety is improved with marked crossings or signal light crossings. Tactile Ground Surface Indicators help people who are blind or vision impaired identify direction and hazards and directional signage including braille help people with disabilities navigate around our community.
One of the most recent developments we’re seeing in the city of Brisbane is green bridges. Safer, quicker with less traffic congestion, green bridges are a great way of moving pedestrian traffic away from busy roads. They’re also contributing to the accessible network meaning that people with disabilities can get around to more places easier and safer. The proposed Breakfast Creek Green Bridge expected to begin construction end of 2021 will mean pedestrians won’t have to negotiate the narrow path, steep hill and busy traffic intersections to get from the Lores Bonney Riverwalk to Newstead Park and continue along the Riverwalk. In an area where heavy vehicles frequent beside a high pedestrian traffic zone, it’s extremely difficult for people with disabilities to navigate when the path is shared with pedestrians, cyclists and e-mobility.
Designed with dedicated cycle lanes separated from pedestrian lanes that we already see on the Lores Bonney section of the Riverwalk, it will allow a more seamless trip for everyone to use.
Connection, participation and inclusion. Accessibility is so much more than just a footpath. It’s exciting for me to be able to travel safely within my own neighbourhood without a vehicle all thanks to a greener design.”
Queensland Walks note: The new proposed Green Bridge at Breakfast Creek ABC Article will be a fabulous addition, however in our Queensland Walks submission to Brisbane City Council we recommended that shading is included in the Green Bridge design. Sadly, the proposed design does not incorporate shading, and there is very little shading along the 1.2km of Lores Bonney Riverwalk. Brisbane City Council We strongly recommend that Brisbane designs facilities that suit subtropical design that will support more walking, rolling and strolling in most weather.
Brisbane City Council – Artist impression of Breakfast Creek Green Bridge