Trail names

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Trail names

BBUG is concerned about the problems that arise due the inconsistencies found when referring to trail names or infact the lack of names for some trails.

On 19th July 2009 we sent the following submission to Bicycle Victoria, VicRoads, Parks Victoria and the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority:

Submission re Trail Names

What's in a name?

Recognition and acknowledgement of an entity.

A concise name is important when it comes to communities discussing issues re a particular path - it facilitates community ownership. A concise name is better than discussing that path in the context of - you know the one - that one down by the creek. There are at least three trails in the Werribee that have no names and the trail from East Malvern Station to Centre Rd has no name? Knox city council appears to use no names except the occasional reference to an Oppy trail. The trail network is larger than any one council. This is acknowledged by the Parks Victoria publication Linking People and Spaces 2002: A Strategy for Melbourne’s Open Space Network - (large PDF 4.86mb) Have a look at Google's maps sourced from MapData Sciences. They show the Capital City Trail, which according to the map goes from Princes Bridge to Williams Rd in Toorak!

Why have a name for a trail?

  • so they can be signed and consequently followed
  • facilitates discussions with others
  • the trail is seen as a continuous entity rather than a mishmash of path & road sections
  • inline with the above, a sense of a "route" from A to B
  • encourages community ownership
  • improves the status of the facility as seen by stakeholders
  • it is easier to allocate dollars to something that people can clearly identify
  • acts as a community focus point eg for clean up the creek days and planting days

Why register a trail name?

  • if it's registered, it can be shown to exist - does the Southbank trail exist - some say no
  • trails cross many council boundaries and should be seen as belonging to the wider community
  • naming of trails will become consistent and that can be more easily enforced
  • councils have clear guidance on what to call the trails
  • some routes are just located in a "Recreation and Drainage Reserve" or "Unnamed" in the Melway - not satisfactory
  • emergency services can make use of definitive names
  • lots of trails form a larger entity - a network - as per the paper "Linking people and spaces (2002)"

Example 1

A new trail was built when the bypass of Deer Park was instigated. Initially it was called the Deer Park Bypass Trail. Then it was decided to call it the "Wellness Trail". When you go out there, what do you find? It's signed from one end to the other as the "Western Fwy Path".

Example 2

As an example of naming problems, we have this article in The Age.

The article cites trail names that are also referred to by other names:

  • Inner Circle Rail Trail AKA Capital City Trail
  • Outer circle Rail Trail AKA Anniversary trail

Note the article says:

"Diversion: Break the walk with a coffee at the Town & Country Gardens Cafe, 24 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn, where the trail crosses the road."

A Boroondara trader gets free advertising worth thousands of dollars in a major newspaper. How do you travel to this café? By the Outer Circle or Anniversary trail? Are there signs on the trail? Will this trader benefit from this free advertising?


Virtually every trail is officially a "Shared path" and the majority, if not all, are in fact shared. However, the word "Trail" is often used when naming these paths. The word perhaps invokes a sense of the countryside, wilderness, nature and exploring/adventure. We propose that the majority of the routes be named "XYZ trail". Trail is a word that can be used by cyclists and walkers alike and is less dictatorial than the more formal "Shared Path" terminology.

It also seems clear that there should be formal names and informal names. The later generally fits on a sign, whereas the former doesn't - it just a case of pragmatism eg "The Outer Circle Anniversary Trail" vs "Anniversary Trail".

The naming authority (John Tulloch - VicNames) recognises the "feature code" track (TRK) but perhaps trail (TRL) or shared path (SP) would be more appropriate.

Boroondara Trail names

BBUG's preferred signage as seen in Western Australia

BBUG's preferred names for trails in Boroondara:



  • South Surrey Park, Lynden Park

IMG 5757 267 200.jpg IMG 5826 267 200.jpg
Examples of the suggested names already in use.


The BUG proposes to settle (if possible!) on a list of names and submit them to VicNames under a category called "Trails" or "Shared Paths" rather than the current "TRK". This spreadsheet is a starting point. Ideally this would be done with the aid of VicRoads, as they are the Naming Authority for the Principal Bicycle Network (PBN).

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