Urban designer Catherine Simpson sees electric bike power as a win-win for the future. Picture: AAP/Megan Slade
Urban designer Catherine Simpson sees electric bike power as a win-win for the future. Picture: AAP/Megan Slade

Plan to turn SEQ into electric bike capital

SOUTHEAST Queensland could become an electric bike capital as kilometres of tarmac and asphalt become shady "green streets".

Urban designer Catherine Simpson says roads and pavements occupy 30 to 40 per cent of land space in our cities.

"But they are typically unshaded, incredibly hot, busy with traffic and often unpleasant for pedestrians," she says.

As a result, people are reluctant to walk or cycle, particularly in places like southeast Queensland where summer temperatures regularly top 30 C.

"Brisbane is one of the most car-dominant cities in Australia or the world," she said.

But a future reduction in traffic from autonomous rideshare vehicles, rail, light rail and public transport like Metro on dedicated busways offers the opportunity to "reclaim" the streets.

Cities and suburbs could be retro-fitted by planting dry-tolerant trees and native plant verge gardens to create shadeways that encourage walkers and cyclists. This would boost health, cool the urban landscape and counter pollution.

Brisbane's hills mean cycling is unlikely to reach the popularity levels of some European cities.

"But I think electric bikes will be massive here," she said.

Ms Simpson predicts the rise of electric vehicles and charging stations will see a boom in personal e-bikes and public hubs for their hire.

"You still have to pedal so you get the active benefits, but there's some power to help push when you need it," she said.

Ms Simpson is part of Green the Street, a collaboration of designers and groups which transformed Gregory Terrace and The Old Museum in Bowen Hills into a futuristic linear parkway during this year's Ekka.



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