New South Wales | Urban
The intention to promote more sustainable forms of transport, and the need to address the rising inactivity and obesity levels of Ipswich residents led to the conception of the Brassall Bikeway. The project was able to come into fruition through funding from the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads Cycle Network Local Government Grants Program.
The Brassall Bikeway is primarily targeted toward the commuter cyclist, for travel to and from shopping centres, schools, public transport facilities, employment nodes and recreational facilities. In addition, the bikeway is used for recreational trips by cyclists, walkers and joggers. Construction of Stage 1 of the bikeway commenced in 2009. The bikeway is now over 50% complete, with Stages 1 to 4 open to the public and comprising approximately 7.8 kilometres of shared use path. The future Stage 5 will link the bikeway to West Moreton Anglican College. Stage 6, currently in detailed design, will form the critical missing link for commuters between the southern end of the bikeway and the Ipswich CBD. Stage 7 completes the project by extending the bikeway into Pine Mountain along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail corridor.
A notable design feature and major contributor to the bikeways’ popularity, is the provision of activities, places of interest and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the bikeway. In particular, there is access to a bicycle learning track, a 600 metre mountain bike track (with bike repair station and seating for spectators), and several surprises that honour Ipswich’s strong coal mining heritage.
Considerable attention has been given to the long-term attractiveness of the route, with substantial emphasis on highlighting the local heritage to create a sense of place and ownership for local residents.
The installation of lighting, ‘safe city’ camera surveillance and strategic positioning of the path and landscaping to provide casual surveillance were all paramount to encourage use. Increased use of the Bikeway has further enhanced safety and confidence of new users. The safety of the Brassall Bikeway is reflected in the increasing percentage of females using the facility.
The significance and success of the Brassall Bikeway was highlighted in 2016 when Ipswich City Council implemented a community survey as part of the development of its iGO Active Transport Action Plan. Survey results found that a majority of respondents did not currently feel safe while cycling and were concerned about being hit by a motor vehicle. This was a significant barrier to residents when considering active travel or cycling as a means of physical activity. However, the survey results also provided many unprompted and frequently expressed positive comments about the existing Brassall Bikeway and the safety it delivers. This particular outcome shows the value in purpose built active transport infrastructure that has limited and safely controlled interaction with existing road networks.
An evaluation of bikeways undertaken by the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads in 2015 also identified that many Ipswich residents would not have gone for a cycle or walk at all if the Brassall Bikeway had not been there, therefore illustrating an increase in overall physical activity for residents in the area.