A short walk to the shops after rain

Today I walked a longer route to my local shop to buy milk. Everything is looking fresh and green now the rain has finally come. I thought I’d check to see how the raingarden at the bottom of the hill was doing.

Raingarden at the bottom of the hill

The rain garden was installed by the council several years ago and has recently had a makeover. The sign about being a raingarden has gone. Rain comes down the hill, is channelled into the garden, and then the filtered water goes through drains under the road to the creek. Last night’s heavy rain has already drained away.

What – no paths?

This is quite a hill. It’s a cul de sac but it has a path that goes from the top between houses to get back down to the other street. I must admit that I usually walk on the road here because walking uphill on uneven grass is not easy and today with the ground so damp it would be even worse.

The law states that a “pedestrian must not travel along a road if there is a footpath or nature strip adjacent to the road, unless it is impracticable to travel on the footpath or nature strip.” Impracticable means impossible in practice to do or carry out, it doesn’t mean the same as impractical. It doesn’t cover verges that are simply uncomfortable to walk on, or that use twice the energy a paved surface would, or that are so uneven you need to take care not to twist your ankle.

Why have we set aside such large areas of our suburbs for the sole use of cars?

Small verge garden around tree

There’s a little verge garden around the base of a tree half way up the hill. Having edging is against the BCC verge garden policies but I cannot see what harm these are doing. They are hardly trip hazards on a street where everyone walks on the tarmac and at least keep the whippersnippers away from the tree.

Council verge garden guidelines also say that there must be 1.2 metres pathway made for pedestrians and clearance for people getting out of cars. But residents are not allowed to put down hard surfaces. The most they could do here within the guidelines is a mulch path which would be impractical on such a slope. Or perhaps a grass path but with no edges which would be very high maintenance.

Pathway between houses

I got to the top of the hill and this is the path down to the road. There’s my verge garden and trees across the road at the bottom. This strip is always neatly mowed and edged by the four respective households.

Occasionally, the Council contractors come along and mow it even though it is already neat. It must be on their list. And I have seen Council contractors spraying glyphosate along the edges of the concrete. I know it’s glyphosate because I contacted the council and asked.

Wouldn’t this pathway between houses be so much better planted out with some small trees for shade and low growing understory for visibility? Better for pedestrians, less work for adjoining home owners, better for the environment.
It could be a shady lane.

Tree contained, or grass restricted? Lophostemon confertus

Back to the main street where there are several Lophostemon confertus street trees. They have lovely trunks and I think they make great street trees. Is this edging to contain the tree or to restrain the grass?

A muddy section of path – a slip hazard

This uneven bit of path is normally just a trip hazard but today with the rain, the mud has turned it into a slip hazard. Patchy grass/weeds at either side on soggy, muddy soil isn’t any better to step on so I had to step over the patch carefully rather than walk out onto the road to get around it.

Alas, one of the westringia shrubs is dying

The rain has come too late for this little westringia on my verge…

Midgen berry with new growth. Dianella in the foreground. Leaves blown from neighbouring street trees provide cover for the soil.

The midgen berry is enjoying the rain and has new growth on all its tips.

Where did you walk today?  How good were the paths? Did you walk on the road?

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