Got any idea what this is?

Glow worms, perhaps?

Let's try that shot again with a much slower shutter speed:

Cleared for take-off!

In June last year I mentioned that we'd soon be able to make night landings on the Gardiners Creek Trail, well now that a hundred or so lighting studs have been installed we're finally clear for take-off.

The Trail has been closed this week between Dunlop St and Winton Rd, and I had wondered if this was the work taking place. Sure enough, last night this section of the shared path was lit-up like a winter wonderland.

Ahem. Hmm, let's not get carried away…but I must admit to going "Oooh, wow!" when I first saw these new lights.

What are they?

Small and bright

I don't think they are exactly the same lights as were described in the last year's press release—they're fixed beam rather than flashing lights, and they don't seem to be reflective to any great degree (not that it really matters). I've no idea if they are solar powered (although I wouldn't be surprised) and they're round and almost flush with the ground. Of course I rode over a few and there's a barely noticeable bump when they go under the tyre.

Just like a video game

Being used to orienting myself to the centre line I found they took a little bit of getting used to, but once you've got your eye in I think there's a tangible safety benefit. For what it's worth, I don't think it would be safe to switch off your headlight and ride using only these trail-edge lights, although they do put out more light than my first photo suggests.

Credit where it's due

While we're on the subject of council works, a few weeks ago, the path was closed on the other side of Dunlop St in Dorothy Laver Reserve for resurfacing—and I've got to say that's a pretty darn good job they've done there. I'll even take back the nasty things I've said about Stonnington previously (well, most of them anyway). It was not that long ago that the Stonnington Boroondara Council did a really dodgy patch job on this section of the trail, so I suppose they could've left it like that, but they've made a substantial improvement here, from cracked and lumpy:


…via dodgy patch job:


…to a high-quality surface:

Even later

They have also made some sensible improvements, like removing the dog-leg railing at Dunlop St…

Look Mum, no stupid railing!

…and improving the line of a blind bend from this:

A bit of a blind corner

…to this:

A bit more friendly

Not to mention a smoother and slightly wider approach to the bridge at June Cr:

Hmm, not so squeezy!

It hurts my head to think this way but with these improvements going on, it looks like Stonnington is now setting the standard and Boroondara is lagging well behind in its maintenance of the Trail, especially on the short section south of High St. Let's hope they take up the challenge.

Update 6 May 2007

If you're going to hand-out bouquets, it's good taste to make sure they go to the right people! Thanks to flyingdutch for his post on aus.bicycle, correctly pointing out that Dorothy Laver Reserve belongs not to Stonnington but to Boroondara. Consequently normality is restored and the credit for these path improvements does indeed go to Boroondara. You've no idea how relieved I am to learn that—I really thought I was going crazy thinking that Stonnington was responsible for significant improvements to the path!

Thumbs-up to Boroondara is thoroughly restored, and the nasty things I've said about Stonnington are reinstated.

In my defence, I had always assumed (quite reasonably, I thought!) that the municipal boundary runs down the creek bed. But no: if you study your Melways very carefully you'll notice that it deviates to include Dorothy Laver Reserve on the Boroondara side.

This location of the municipal boundary answers a few minor puzzles that I've been wondering about lately. Why the dog-leg rail was removed on one side of Dunlop St and not the other, and why the new lights start at Dunlop St when Dorothy Laver Reserve is just as dark—both now solved.



sigh they still use ashphalt tho, right next to the creek. The ground sags and cracks and bumps appear after one summer. :( Hoorah on the june st bridge tho - there used to be a significant drop off the bridge, and combined with the right-angle turn, it caused some real problems.

On the topic of council boundaries, its worth checking where the creek ran before it was dug out in the 50s. I might be that its moved, as that whole valley was one big swamp originally, with no set creek bed.

Treadly and Me

Yeah, I agree about the asphalt but I wonder if those fancy concrete edges will help at all? Time will tell, I suppose.

The other side of that bridge still needs improving: bad sight lines, a hole right in the middle where there used to be a post(!) and always loose sand right where you need to turn (just to add some excitement). In fact, the whole stretch of path from that bridge to Glen Iris wetlands now looks really poor by comparison with the improvements in Dorothy Laver Reserve—however with my track record it's probably best that I not go mouthing-off about that…

What eccles says sounds right: realignment of the creek bed probably does account for the occasional deviation of the council boundary. But generally speaking, if the Melways can be believed, it does follow the creek pretty closely.


Now all you need to do is get the stealth dog walkers and cyclists to put some lights on ...

Treadly and Me


To be fair, a good number of joggers and walkers on Gardiners Creek Trail do carry/wear lights. And yes, I've even seen a pooch with a red flashing light attached to its collar (true, that was awhile ago now).


I'm busy having a quiete drink once it gets dark but I noticed these lights are also being installed on the boulevard from the Chandler highway steps towards Studley Park. ie on the boulevard bike training area. Boroondara council is developing their biccyle strategy right now and these lights have come up in "feedback" sessions. Probably best to say we all love em??

Treadly and Me

I'm starting to wonder if they're not a maintenance nightmare in the making for a Council. Having provided them, the Council would presumably have a duty to keep them working. How many lights are allowed to fail or be obscured by debris before there's a serious legal liability (e.g. if someone crashes because of "inadequate" public lighting)?

This stretch of the trail is also subject to inundation when the creek floods, so it'll also be interesting to see how they withstand being immersed in muddy water. They must be completely sealed but I can't wait to see them shining out from under four or five inches of water!