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The Gap Town Hall - Proposals and Discussions

Our Sustainable Vision for The Gap 

The Gap is undoubtedly one of Brisbane's most charming and community-oriented suburbs, thanks to its variety of community groups and green spaces.  But with a close relationship between big business and developers and an apathetic LNP council hollowing out public services, we need to advocate for a progressive vision for the area that continues to build on, and amplify, The Gap's unique charm. 

Here are some of our The Greens proposals for a more liveable Gap, as presented at our 2024 town hall. 

1. More frequent and better public transport

Anyone who has tried to catch a bus in The Gap knows it is unreliable, infrequent and pricey. As a result, many of us are forced to rely on cars but then too often also get stuck in traffic on main thoroughfares like Waterworks Road. 

Last year, our office shared a community survey on public transport with residents of The Gap which received over hundreds of detailed responses from locals.

This survey found that 40% of all residents in The Gap would describe public transport services in the area as ‘poor’ or ‘very ‘poor’ and only 23% described it as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.


The Greens are proposing two new bus routes in The Gap. Firstly, a new high-frequency service that connects people in The Gap directly to Keperra and Mitchelton, giving residents better access to the Great Western Shopping Centre, and then up to Chermside and Nundah. This would not replace the existing 362, but provide a more direct route. Over 50% of survey respondents said that they would use this route.

Secondly, we are proposing a ‘Gap Local Loop’ service that would get people across the suburb and connect to other services such as the 385 and the 362. The precise route would be subject to deep community consultation. Again, over 50% of respondents said that they would use this service!

The Greens are also currently looking for ways to improve the 385. Our survey showed that the 385 is a generally much-loved service but often is quite unreliable, gets stuck in traffic, is not frequent enough at peak times, does not run 24 hours, and could potentially be extended into Fortitude Valley.

2. Better Community Services in The Gap

Once upon a time in Brisbane, thriving multi-use community centres were a priority in city planning. But decades of developer-friendly councils and dodgy back-door deals have left our communities deeply underserved when it comes to free community spaces.

The Gap is lucky to have so many fantastic community-run organisations such as The Gap She Shed and The Gap Sustainability Initiative. But many of them are without a reliable home because there’s no community centre or library in the neighbourhood.


The Greens will continue fighting to acquire sites in The Gap to deliver new, multi-purpose community centres and libraries. Fighting for facilities like these are a core part of our vision for 20-minute walkable neighbourhoods – where everything you need to live a good life is within 20 minutes walk from your home.

3. Legislate a Vacancy Tax

In the Gap, there are multiple sites sitting in an unusable, decaying condition, all while there are people struggling to find an affordable home.

The Greens proposed vacancy levy – an increased tax on properties left vacant for more than 6 months for no good reason – would encourage owners to put their properties to use, for the benefit of everyone. As it is, some developers hold on to vacant land and wait for prices to go up to sell (this is known as “land banking”). A vacancy levy will incentivise property owners to sell or revive derelict sites, putting more properties back on the market. In many cases, it’s hugely profitable for a property owner to leave property vacant, thanks to the perverse incentives built into the system.

Sites like the one pictured below across from the Ashgrove Golf Club have been left vacant for years while investors can hold on to them waiting for property values to rise. The Greens will encourage them to rent their sites out, redevelop them as housing, or sell them to someone who will actually use them.


4. Upgrade the Gap Bowl  

It is so important that kids in our community have a place to engage in activities that give them a sense of belonging and an opportunity to spend time outside with their friends. The Gap Bowl brings kids together to play and socialise but is in urgent need of upgrades such as flood lights and drainage.

In the summer heat, people want to stay at the Bowl later, but it is dangerous without adequate lighting. Flood lights would allow Bowl users to ride safely at night. During wet weather events, the Bowl fills up with rainwater and the Council often lets it sit for days before draining it. When the water is deep, the Bowl is unusable. But even a small amount of water can make the Bowl dangerous to use. Installing adequate drainage would allow for the bowl to self-empty and provide a safer park - especially for young children.

Every local Councillor has a 'Footpath and Parks Trust Fund' of $450,000 each year to spend on upgrades like this. We are campaigning to see The Gap Bowl upgraded to include flood lights and adequate drainage, extended for intermediate and beginner Bowl users, and resurfaced to repair recent flood damage.


4. Making our Streets Walkable 

To reduce our car use we need to provide safe and practical transport alternatives - including walking.

There have been far too many near misses for school kids on busy roads like Settlement Road. To address this, we urgently need more accessible footpaths, greenbridges and pedestrian crossings.

We need to ensure everyone can get around safely, including people using wheelchairs, walkers and prams.
The Greens will make our neighbourhoods safer for pedestrians by building 200 new pedestrian crossings and 200 kilometres of new footpath.

Discussion summary

At the town hall, the audience broke into small groups to talk together how the sustainable cities principles would affect decision-making and planning in their neighbourhood. Each group responded to the same three questions.

The Gap question 1:

The 385 is a popular bus that services The Gap, but is often unreliable and gets stuck in traffic, and is not frequent enough. What changes would you make to the 385 bus - where should it go? How frequent should it be? What would make you more likely to use this service on a regular basis if you don’t already?

  • Users of the 385 noted that it doesn’t adhere to the timetable, and fills up very quickly
  • Older users like the free off-peak pricing. Two said the current service is fine for them.
  • One person argued for Paywave rather than GoCard. Others preferred free PT. 
  • Several people commented on the bus no longer going to the cultural centre.
  • Suggestions for route changes included:
    • Extending the route to the Keperra area
    • Provide better access for elderly people to The Gap Village
    • Link to more shopping centres
  • Buses running every 15 minutes was considered to be a good frequency
  • One group said heavy good transport should be banned during peak hours, another suggested free buses during peak periods. 
  • Several groups commented on the need to have cross-city routes with timely connections, and mentioned that smaller, more frequent buses would be a good idea.
  • One group thought it would be ‘super’ if the left lane of Waterworks Rd was a dedicated bus/bike lane. Another group also suggested a shared bus/bike lane, while a third group suggested there needs to be more places where buses can overtake cars. 
  • Several groups noted that it's difficult to cross busy roads , especially for older people and children, and that bikeways are disconnected. They wanted separated bike lanes, and more pedestrian crossings.  


The Gap question 2:

There is a large new development going up on Samford and Settlement Road, leading to 550 new dwellings and approximately 1200 new cars in the area. Council is considering road widening on Settlement Road to accommodate, which we do not think is a good long term solution. What do you think the community needs in terms of local infrastructure and public transport to accommodate this?

  • There was a consensus across groups against road widening, with several groups expressing frustration that developments are approved without consideration for the impact on existing residents and infrastructure. One group said houses would need to be resumed for road-widening.
  • Some groups made suggestions for improving the planning process:
    • Better consultation
    • Pedestrian management plans should be required for future developments
    • Incentives to reduce the number of vacant commercial buildings.
  • Groups noted that the development would put more strain on Waterworks Rd. One group noted that problems on Samford Rd already impact Settlement Rd.
  • Groups spoke positively about the train service, but noted getting there from the development was an issue. Two groups suggested a shuttle/bus to the train. 
  • One group said the Park and Ride at the train station is big enough for the current demand, would need to be upgraded. 
  • Several groups suggested ways to address traffic congestion on Settlement Rd: 
    • incentivise use of electric vehicles including scooters in the new development
    • extend and connect bike paths to the city
    • introduce traffic calming measures
    • create more bus-only roads. 
  • Protecting wildlife came up in several groups. Preserving wildlife habitat and creating wildlife corridors and wildlife crossings were discussed.
  • One participant was keen on underground rail. 
  • One participant wanted the government to buy back the site. 


Overall, the community was united in seeking sustainable, environmentally friendly solutions that prioritise active transport, wildlife preservation, and community engagement over short-term fixes like road widening. There's a strong emphasis on enhancing public transport infrastructure and fostering community involvement in decision-making processes.


The Gap question 3:

The Gap is home to a plethora of community led organisations run by active volunteers such as The Gap She Shed and The Gap Sustainability Initiative. Residents have suggested that Paten Park could be upgraded as a potential site for a multi-purpose community centre.  Would it be appropriate to convert green space and existing infrastructure such as the Scout Hall for a larger community centre? Is there another site in The Gap you think could be upgraded to better serve the community?

  • There was a strong consensus that The Gap needs community facilities. Groups agreed that a multi-purpose facility to be shared by different groups would be preferable.
  • It was noted that the existing facilities are badly in need of an upgrade.
  • There were mixed responses to the suggestion of Paten Park as a site for a multi-purpose community centre, the major objection being that it is too far from public transport.
  • Several groups made suggestions of alternative sites
    • River City Church
    • Old eyesore on Waterworks Rd
    • Vacant building by the BP
    • Commonwealth Bank building
  • There was some discussion about whether a library is desirable: some felt that in a digital era libraries are less relevant, while others argued BCC management restricting hours to 9-5 is the problem. People generally agreed that having a library within an accessible community centre would be beneficial.