For a Better Brisbane

Lisbon: Trams in tight places

Is it really true that Brisbane’s streets are too narrow for light rail and trams? While the streets of Brisbane seem less wide than those of, say, Melbourne, trams did run up and down CBD streets — Adelaide Street for example, in the past. There are also other options such as kerb lane running, and putting one line in a one way street and its pair in another, or even putting the service in a cut and cover tunnel under the street.

Selected CBD streets:

  • Alice Street: 4 lanes (2 are car parking)
  • Adelaide Street: 4 lanes (2 reserved for bus stops)
  • Ann Street: 4 lanes (bus lane present)
  • Elizabeth Street: 4 lanes
  • George Street 3 lanes (near casino)
  • Margaret Street: 4 lanes (2 are parking)
  • Mary Street: 4 lanes (2 are parking)
  • Queen St: 4 lanes

The map image above is of Lisbon, Portugal. Here the streets are extremely narrow, and in places, hilly. And yes even here, they have trams. Oh, and they have half the space on the street Brisbane does.

Lisbon tram. CC Flickr user Andrew3000. Click for image URL.


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August 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Thank you for your comment. No doubt there will be a debate about whether it should be surface or underground in the CBD (or perhaps both).

    Unfortunately, “we don’t have space on the street” has all to often been a popular (bunk) excuse.

    Many places have the core section of an LRT network built to high standards underground.

    More posts to come!


    August 10, 2010 at 10:33 am

  2. There is no doubt that there is enough room on relatively narrow Brisbane streets to accomodate light rail as it has been done before.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have the space of melbourne for instance but there are ways around this. Council have long had their policy of essentially making the CBD a car free zone.

    A potential solution is to make particular streets essentially car-free. Adelaide St is the number one candidate for this. It already carries the highest number of buses and its location in relation to say King George Square lends itself to being the perfect street to implement light rail. Adelaide St in the afternoon is mayhem with buses and some cars. This will only get worse.

    Ann St and Turbot St should remain for car usage and thoroughfare. Elizabeth St for cars and buses and either Albert St or George St for a light rail loop around the city taking in Riverside, QUT, courts precinct etc. Albert St for instance could be used for light rail only with light rail going underground and connecting to KGS Station from just south of Elizabeth St for instance.


    August 10, 2010 at 10:21 am

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