Lazy Luddite Log



I went for a walk along Clayton Road a few evenings back to go get my favourite pizza. There is a new (yet to be activated) lighted pedestrian crossing close to Bayview Avenue. I stopped. I just had to lay a hand on the pole accommodating the crossing request button. It was something I had imagined long ago and now it was tangible.

I had lived in a share household several years ago and would have to cross Clayton Road close to Bayview Avenue to get to Monash Uni. Many many others had to do just that but the traffic at times was horrendous. One would have to make a decision to do one of three things:

- Wait ages till a safe break in the traffic

- Take ones life into ones hands and cross in a timely but risky manner

- Walk all the way to the lights at Dandenong or Ferntree Gully Roads

I got sick of it and decided to make a bit of a fuss. So I prepared a petition and stood at that intersection a few times to collect signatures. I also collected signatures from my personal networks. I forget what number I got – maybe 100 – and I submitted it to the Monash Council asking that they consult with Vic Roads on the feasibility of a lighted crossing at that location. In response I got a rather confusing letter that seemed to say both yes it was a worthwhile proposal and no it was far from necessary.

I kinda forgot the whole thing then. I think one time I saw what may have been some surveying work done there but nothing definitive. And now there is to be a lighted crossing. I understand that there have been some pretty nasty accidents there in recent times and I suspect that it is such incidents, rather than my petition, that have made this happen.

Still, standing next to this hunk of metal and wiring was a sudden and surprisingly emotional moment for me. I feel that too many of the things I have put the most commitment and energy into – particularly political things – have fallen apart, so to encounter this small token of success provoked mixed feelings. How much was my bit of paper a factor in this development? How much does it matter as long as the thing will improve the lives of those using it? How important is something like this in the grand scheme-of-things? How many times in this paragraph do I use the word “thing”?

Once it is operating I will have to go and use it just coz I can (even if I now live on the same side of Clayton Road as campus). I can think of it as mine even if it belongs to everyone. Take that pesky cars!

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