Frustrated residents will picket outside Brisbane City Hall on Tuesday (7 February) to call on council to consider public transport-focussed alternatives to the proposed widening of Lytton Road.
Brisbane City Council plans to spend upwards of $115 million to widen a 750-metre stretch of Lytton Road in East Brisbane from four lanes to six lanes. But residents are concerned that the project does not represent value for money, and will not meaningfully improve traffic congestion.
East Brisbane resident Julie Vincent is disappointed that community consultation regarding the project has been tokenistic. “They’re spending ratepayer money on a dud project but the decision-making process hasn’t been transparent or democratic. They’re kicking people out of their homes and turning public parkland into roadway even though traffic planning experts around the world have said again and again that widening roads doesn’t fix congestion,” Ms Vincent said.
For decades, residents along Lytton Road and Wynnum Road were told by council that if the corridor was ever widened, it would only be to five lanes at most. The decision to widen to six lanes took many residents completely off guard.
“My parents have lived on Lytton Road for 32 years, and have poured their heart and soul into their home. They’re now 77 and 79 years old and if they have to uproot and move house it will have a huge negative impact on their wellbeing,” Nicki Cassimatis said.
The project will also involve resuming part of the much-loved Mowbray Park, which is well-used by residents of Kangaroo Point and East Brisbane. “Council has already cut the size of the park for a previous road-widening project – uprooting trees and destroying heritage should be a last resort,” said park user Yvana Jones.
Hawthorne resident Jon Bryant says studies both overseas and here in Australia show adding new lanes actually increases congestion by encouraging the existing population to drive more. “Due to induced demand, the new lanes will likely become congested within 6 to 18 months. All we’ll be left with is more congestion, more pollution and yet another expensive 6-lane road that has carved up an inner-city community.”
Lytton Road resident Belinda Turner says she doesn’t want to live on a noisy highway. “Our lives are going to be turned upside down. Council isn’t doing anything to address noise pollution and air pollution,” Belinda said. “All this project will do is exacerbate the Canning Bridge and Story Bridge bottlenecks at either end.”
Councillor for the Gabba Ward, Jonathan Sri, says the project is a lemon and the money should be spent on public transport and targeted intersection upgrades. “Instead of blowing all that money on a single 700-metre stretch in East Brisbane, we should be spreading it along the corridor to upgrade the key intersections and choke points around Hawthorne and Morningside.”
“To reduce congestion, we need to shift commuters to active and public transport, including introducing a high-frequency BUZ route and peak-hour transit lanes so buses become the fastest, most reliable form of transport along Wynnum Road,” Councillor Sri said.
The picket outside city hall will take place in King George Square from 12:45 to 1:45pm on Tuesday, 7 February.
Media interview contacts
Nicki – 0407 162 904
Belinda – 0413 197 057
Jon – 0412 630 419
Further info at jonathansri.com/lytton