How Yarra Trams cleans up the wrong types of leaves

There’s a legendary excuse for late-running trains in Britain called the wrong type of snow (fallen on railway lines). Apparently the wrong leaves are also blamed sometimes.

Yarra trams track cleaner

I recall a Yarra Trams person telling me that while they love Melbourne’s leafy streets, some of our local trees drop the wrong leaves (I’m paraphrasing mind you, these are not her words), which does cause slippery rails, particularly in autumn — which is why, particularly at this time of year, you’ll see this beastie out and about, cleaning them up.

Similar perhaps to a conventional street-sweeper, it’s got special wheels that go into the groove of the track to clear it out.

It moves slower than the trams — on the morning I snapped it, it manoeuvred itself onto the opposite track when a tram came along, then moved back and followed it onward.

Yarra Trams track cleaner

Councils give warnings about overhanging trees blocking footpaths – why not parked cars?

From the City of Glen Eira web site:

Property owners are responsible for keeping trees and shrubs under control and trimmed back to ensure pedestrian safety and clear sightlines for drivers.


If a Council notice is sent requesting that trees or shrubs be trimmed, the work must be completed within 14 days.


Property owners who do not comply with a notice within 14 days will be issued with an official warning notice. This provides a further 10 days to complete the work. If action is still not taken within the required timeframe a penalty notice of $200 may be issued and a contractor engaged by Council to undertake the necessary work. The property owner is responsible for the contractor’s fees.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they were as keen in preventing this far more common intrusion onto footpaths:

Car illegally blocking footpath

This is inconvenient for all footpath users, but can be downright hazardous for those in wheelchairs and other mobility aids, as well as pushing prams and strollers, and children riding their bikes (which is quite legal, I might add).

While you occasionally hear of people being rightly fined for it, it doesn’t seem to be very common.

It’s particularly galling when there is plenty of space on the street (or in the driveway they’re not quite using). People are just being lazy — as well as thoughtless and inconsiderate.

Perhaps a better way for Councils to deal with it would be to do as per the trees: first send a notice advising people not to illegally block the footpath… if they keep doing it, get a contractor to tow the car and charge them costs.

Overhang

One of the things you really notice as a pedestrian in wet weather is low-hanging branches over the footpaths.

I don’t know if the wet weather we’ve been having causes the trees and bushes to put on a growth spurt, or it’s just more noticeable because every time you brush against something lots of water falls on you, or because it’s harder to avoid head collisions while dodging puddles and holding an umbrella, but it’s been particularly apparent the last couple of days.

Yesterday afternoon I went out with the clippers to ensure the tree outside my house that overhangs the path isn’t in anybody’s way.

Of course, I shouldn’t have done it straight after it had been raining, as it resulted in masses of water showering down on me every time I nudged a branch.

But oh well, anybody walking down my street (and we don’t get heaps of traffic, foot or otherwise) can rest assured, they won’t have to duck when passing my house.

It’s worth a few minutes’ work to make life easier for my fellow pedestrians.

I must check if there are council bylaws about this kind of thing. Checked your overhanging trees recently?