“You shouldn’t need a car to get around the city, our vision for Brisbane includes a walking and biking corridor from Woolloongabba through to South Bank and the CBD.” Deputy Premier, Steven Miles, 21 February 23.

The recent op-ed piece from the Deputy Premier promoting a walking and biking corridor from Woolloongabba to the city via South Bank is worthy of support and community pressure to ensure this idea is delivered. This precinct of the city is a very challenging one indeed. It is congested, car-dominated and unfriendly in much of its ground level form, but as they say, “help is on the way”. The Cross River Rail project is well advanced, the Metro project has commenced, and the Olympics is just around the corner. Surely these will fix it!

In reality, the two levels of urban governance in our city have ample historic material in their vaults to enable this proposition to be quickly implemented. Brisbanites perhaps forget the major steps that have occurred over the last two decades to deliver a city form that is now in reach of delivering high amenity pedestrian and cycle access for all people.

Over the last 25 years the city has seen the construction of seven new bridges across the river, with only one carrying cars. The Goodwill, Kurilpa, Schonell, Neville Bonner and Kangaroo Point bridges are open or under construction. The Go Between bridge has enabled the removal of cars from the Victoria Bridge (controversially for some) which will soon offer improved pedestrian and cycle amenity in this important and historic mid-city location,  maybe even some shade!

This opening up of river crossings has long been the vision of many leading urbanists for Brisbane dating back to the 1920s, when propositions for many river crossings were published but never acted on.

What is not so well known is the proposal for an integrated green grid of pedestrian and cycle boulevards to capitalise on the infrastructure investments of these important corridors.

The award winning 2017 Green Grid work prepared by local landscape architects Lat 27 in conjunction with the Queensland Government Architects office provides a dynamic and richly illustrated vision for a connected, green, cool and shady city. Unlike other Australian cities, Brisbane has the chance to reposition its fundamental functional form by stitching the city together- over, around and with our iconic river.

The Deputy Premier’s vision is achieved by dusting this down and implementing the core concepts from this work over the next 10 years to deliver the Brisbane we all want and need by 2032.