Thirteen solar lights with charging panels integrated into the lighting poles are being installed to light the paths adjacent to Cobham Drive between the two big roundabouts at Calabar Road and Troy Street.
The new lights will make it safer and easier to use this section – particularly during the winter months when shorter daylight hours often mean people need to use the coastal route after dark or before it gets light.
When no-one is around, the lights will be orangey and dim, but they will brighten up briefly when people walk, run or bike through.
The lights have smart motion sensors and can be remotely programmed and fine-tuned. They were chosen in part because they can produce light of a colour and type that is unlikely to deter kororā, little blue penguins, which nest and rest in the area.
Ligman, the company that manufacture the lights, says the amber LED has a narrow long wave-length that is friendlier for nocturnal animals, insects and plant life while still providing enough light for safe movement and orientation.
The light will be directed towards the paths and away from the rock seawall, which was built to help protect the road and paths, but has nooks and crannies between the rocks that provide appealing places for penguins.
Department of Conservation senior ranger biodiversity Brent Tandy, who was an advisor during planning and construction, says the project was a good example of how things should be done.
“It’s about finding ways to balance the needs of wildlife with those of people, and making shared routes like this accessible for humans and penguins alike.”
Streetlights along the centre of Cobham Drive light the road and other parts of the adjacent paths, but this 430m stretch is wider than the rest, further from the existing lights and a dark spot on the popular recreational and commuter route.