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A pedestrian lane for people using phones? Not a bad idea…

By Alexandra Craig - 30 June 2015 24

man texting while walking

News stories have cropped up in the last few weeks about a university in the United States that has painted bright green lanes on the footpath for runners, walkers, and people texting. The university said that the lanes were a lighthearted way to brighten up the campus and get students’ attention. Similar lanes have also been painted on some footpaths in China, but not for fun – they were painted because texters kept colliding with non-texters!

While this is all a bit amusing, if any shopping malls in Australia or other busy thoroughfares would like to take note and implement a similar concept I would be 100 per cent supportive. My gripe isn’t entirely with texters though, it’s also with slow walkers and groups of people that walk side-by-side across a walkway.

I’ll never forget being at a shopping mall as a kid and seeing two people pick up a blanket outside a homewares store and open it up to see the pattern – one person holding one end outside the store, and one on the other end across the walkway, blocking all traffic. It was like a human pile up. Funny to look back on, but at the time people were furious – especially the ones that smacked into the back of someone else.

While the example above is pretty extreme and quite rare, people blocking the walkway is hugely frustrating. I walk pretty quickly and if people are walking side-by-side there’s often no room to pass. The second there’s a gap you have to dart around them and then they get cranky about being ‘pushed in front of’.

While I know most people reading this will tell me to be more patient, if I’m walking from one end of the Canberra Centre to the other and can’t get past slow walkers, it’s going to hold me up a fair bit. While I could be more patient, other people could be more considerate too.

I understand that some people can’t help being slow due to age/injury/disability, and that’s fine, just don’t walk side-by-side if there’s five of you. Maybe we should invest in some pedestrian bells?

During Christmas trading, why not take things a step further and implement lanes for trolleys and prams? I can’t be the only one who has been ankle tapped by an overloaded trolley not within the control of the pusher. I’m actually surprised there’s not more trolley collisions on a regular day in supermarkets. The way some people come flying out of aisles with trolleys is a bit dangerous.

The way I think about it is; would I come flying into an intersection without looking both ways if I was in a car? Of course not, so why wouldn’t I check before coming out of a supermarket aisle. Same rule applies for exiting a store. I will exclusively shop at any supermarket that implements a trolley licence.

No matter what your views on this, I think we can all agree that fines should be issued to people who stand side by side on an escalator and refuse to let people pass – lock them up and throw away the key, I say!

What’s Your opinion?


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24 Responses to
A pedestrian lane for people using phones? Not a bad idea…
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zllauh 2:28 am 24 Jul 15

idea is good but i doubt people are going to follow it.

wildturkeycanoe 7:22 pm 23 Jul 15

Why do people just not talk or text while walking and simply look where they are going? It is a basic human instinct, to look where one is going so as to avoid walking into obstacles. Technology is honestly ruining mankind’s ability to function.
As for the discussion about malls, why do they keep adding more stalls in the middle of the open space of malls, thereby reducing the space available for pedestrians? Belconnen mall is bad for it now around the Coles entrance through to Aldi, too much clutter and barely room for two trolleys to pass. Ridiculous design.

PeterC 3:02 pm 23 Jul 15

Alexandra Craig said :

Maya123 said :

blandone said :

Alexandra Craig said :

blandone said :

There are few things in this world more satisfying, than walking onto an escalator with my two young daughters – half a step in front of a self absorbed young lady in a hurry. As I hold on to both handrails the sense of power is almost indescribable, far outweighing the burning of the evil eyes in the back of my head.

Why specifically a female in a hurry? Generally if someone was to only just make it in front of me and then block the pathway entirely, I will ask to be let past.

I’m yet to encounter a self absorbed young man in a hurry on an escalator – but when I do they too shall be forced to endure the torturous 20 second ride. A few have asked to push pass me and my 2 girls holding hands on an escalator, none have yet succeeded.

So if someone politely asks to pass you on the escalator you would clamp the railing tighter and refuse to budge? I couldn’t be so rude.

Yup, that’s just being intentionally rude. Not sure if the commenter is being sarcastic or not, but if that’s actually how they conduct themselves they’re not setting a great example for their children.

When my children were little, I would always instruct them to move to the left, even while holding my hand, even if there was no-one obviously want to walk on the escalator, because that was teaching them manners. We might want to just stand on the escalator but others might like to pass and it would be rude to stand in their way.

bryansworld 9:02 am 02 Jul 15

watto23 said :

bryansworld said :

GardeningGirl said :

Texters. I’m sometimes really impressed by their peripheral vision and ability to multitask. But the ones who aren’t so skilled definately need their own lane.
Groups of people walking side-by-side. It shouldn’t be a problem if they’re mindful of the space they are in and the other people moving, or trying to move, in that space, and shift around accordingly, but usually they are utterly oblivious to the traffic jam they are causing.
Passing on escalators. I don’t mind a well-timed “excuse me” from someone in a genuine hurry but what passes for manners by some people is a shout in the ear at the exact instant as they shove into my bags, or me, and too often it’s those sorts of people who get off the escalator and slow down or even stop because they really weren’t in a hurry after all.

It’s not that hard to keep to the left. You wouldn’t behave like that on a footpath, so why is it OK on an escalator?

Ummm are you so sure, have you seen drivers who sit in the right hand lane just because they can. There are many self righteous people in Canberra who think they are always right and everyone else is always wrong! There are plenty of people who walk incredibly slow gawking around as well and not texting. I personally try to limit my time in malls so tend to walk quickly. I’m happy for people to walk slow, just don’t obstruct people stop in narrow walkways etc. As for an escalator, i tend to walk up them, but if I have to wait, I wait. Then feel sorry that someones life is so pitiful, that blocking the escalator is what keeps them going!

Ture, I’m being aspirational. An chance of a mandatory school civics program that includes a component on community awareness and courtesy? 🙂

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