For a Better Brisbane

Archive for April 2010

Events: High Rise, High Life?

The Brisbane Powerhouse and New Farm Neighbourhood Centre are running a Politics in the pub: High Rise, High Life? on Thursday 6th May at 7pm at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Panel features academics, members from the community and local government.

More information here:

Disclaimer: These links are for information only. BrisUrban is not associated with the Brisbane Powerhouse or New Farm Neighbourhood centre and is not the organiser of this event.


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April 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Posted in Events

Brisbane planning & development resources

Are you interested about things that are being planned in Brisbane? This short post will explain how to search for information about development:

Brisbane City Council’s Planning and Development section is a good place to begin. The Brisbane City Council’s Planning and Development Online tool allows people to search for information about a particular site. For example, the Milton Tennis Centre Development application reference number is A002694787. If we click “Application Enquiry” and type in the relevant application reference number, this should return information about the project.

There is a wealth of information on the site, for example:

  • Submissions for or against the development
  • Site plans and other proposals (some nice concept diagrams are there)
  • Instructions on how to make a submission to the Brisbane City Council

Another useful site is Brisbane’s Flood Flag Map, also by the Brisbane City Council.

Not all developments in Brisbane go through the Brisbane City Council. Certain developments in specific key areas may come under the Urban Land Development Authority, a Queensland Government authority established as part of the Queensland Housing Affordability Strategy. The Urban Land Development Authority has projects all over Queensland, including:

  • Bowen Hills, Brisbane
  • Northshore Hamilton, Brisbane
  • Fitzgibbon, Brisbane
  • Oonoonba, Townsville
  • Clinton, Gladstone
  • Showgrounds Mackay
  • Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Further information about the Queensland Housing Affordability Strategy is available here.

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April 22, 2010 at 11:05 pm

BUZ: How to increase bus patronage by up to 266%

Increasing the frequency is the single most potent tool available to attract more passengers to buses, trains and ferries. Brisbane City Council tried it by rolling out BUZ (Bus Upgrade Zone) buses which run 6am-11pm, Monday to Friday, at least every 15 minutes off-peak and at least every 10 minutes in the peak.

The results? Simply spectacular (click here)

Sunday services after improvement now have higher patronage on many routes, than their weekday patronage pre-improvement. Most increases overall are greater than 100%, with the greatest growth actually happening on the off-peak and weekend services. Sunday  services for route 444, recorded a massive 266% increase! Now unless we are to believe the density of Brisbane (a city with one of the lowest densities in the world) suddenly increased by a massive 100% along these corridors within a time-frame of 3 months to 4 years (seems totally improbable and impossible) then we can only conclude that the thing holding back patronage in Brisbane is poor service frequencies.

Imagine what could happen if  trains ran every 15 minutes in the off-peak? Perth already has such a services, for example the Joondalup line

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April 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Public Transport

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Light Rail for Brisbane 2

Today’s blog looks at some special applications of light rail. While most are used in particular circumstances (and therefore not necessarily suitable for Brisbane) it is worthwhile to look at how flexible light rail can be.

Special applications include:

  • Light Rail/Busway shared operation
  • Light Rail running along in curb-lane operation (as opposed to down the middle of the road)
  • Light metro
  • Dual mode Light Rail on heavy railway lines
  • Wire-free operation
  • Rapid track installation

Today we’ll just look at application #1 light rail on the busway and #2 light rail in the curb lane.

Application 1: Light rail on the busway

In July 2009 after much practice Seattle’s Sound Transit began running Light Rail on their busway. A representative for King County Metro explains in this Seattle Times video. Ultimately the buses will be phased out.

A sound transit light rail vehicle can hold up to 200 passengers (specifications here). However in the peak up to four vehicles may be joined together to create a light rail ‘train’. This increases capacity to 800 passengers per train. Seattle’s platforms are lengthy to accommodate this.

Many of Seattle’s light rail stations are being built underground, metro-style.  For example plans for the University of Washington station resembles an underground metro.

Application 2: Light rail tracks in the curb lanes

Running Light Rail down the middle of roads means stations in the middle of the road. What if you don’t have space to do this? Answer: Run Light Rail down the side lanes. Here is a Google street-view of Seattle Streetcar tracks. Could this be an option for light rail down Brunswick street in Fortitude Valley?

Tracks in the far lanes means that passengers can be picked up from stops on the kerb, just like buses do. The disadvantage is that cyclists must be extra careful, ride on the footpath or take an alternative route. If the car parking were removed on either side, there would be a safe separate lane for bicycles. Naturally this would mean parking for cars would be lost.

Sound Transit, Seattle
Seattle Joint Operations Report, Sound Transit, Seattle
Sound Transit 2 Plan

BrisUrban wishes to acknowledge the assistance received from SoundTransit Seattle in obtaining information about their LRT project.

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April 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Light Rail for Brisbane 1

Brisbane’s CityGlider is a welcome improvement for public transport in the city. But for today’s blog three videos are available showcasing Light Rail in Seattle (where light rail runs on the busway for a short section in the central city), and Phoenix, Arizona. The last one shows Budapest, with the world’s longest trams at 52 meters with the brand of vehicle capable of being further extended to 72 meters. While 72 meter trams don’t operate yet in Budapest, they would have a capacity of between 400-510 people.

Although light rail would have cost something like twice the cost of CityGlider to run each year, far more people can be transported for a given frequency. And with light rail, there is plenty of room for further capacity increases if required.

  • BCC Bus (80 passengers) every 5 minutes 960 passengers/direction/hour
  • Light Rail (300 passengers) every 5 minutes 3600 passengers/direction/hour
  • Light rail can be run at high frequency 60-90 seconds (Swanston St, Melbourne has a tram a minute in peak hour)
  • In some cities over 10 000 passengers/direction/hour is achievable on roads without grade separation (Budapest)

Light rail has stimulated a lot of private investment in areas immediately next to the route. Bicycles can also be carried inside the vehicle and hoisted on a rack, something not attractive to do on a bus.

Enjoy! More interesting videos found at

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April 13, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Launched: Brisbane CityGlider

Have you noticed fancy new blue and yellow bus stops appearing around Brisbane?

These stops are for the Brisbane City Council’s new CityGlider bus which officially went into service today. It’s basically a BUZ thow-away-your-timetable service with a different name and stickers. It’s good to see public transport coming before mass overcrowding or major urban renewal. A good move by the Brisbane City Council and Queensland Government.

The new CityGlider

The CityGlider is will support redevelopent of Montague Road. Hopefully high use will make  Brisbane City Council consider converting it into a quieter, higher capacity, no local emission and particle emission-free light rail tram.

Now, if only all of Brisbane’s trams in the 1960s had not been ripped up…

Brisbane Trams down Queen Street c.1960s Reproduced by work from Express000's flickr photostream under a Creative Commons Licence.

Brisbane’s new CityGlider will run FREE until 30th April 2010.

Visit for more info.

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April 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Milton Tennis Centre Development

Milton Tennis Centre Development-some photos out there. Enjoy.

Warning: Images are large.

Edit: Images have now been resized to fit most screens. For enlargement, just click.

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April 8, 2010 at 7:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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