Sidewalk Traffic Lanes for All

Walking Lanes on 5th Ave. (the awl)

In the same spirit of Lady Gaga’s pre-released Telephone video, the internet blew up a couple days ago upon the sighting of tourist walking lanes on Fifth Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets. The lanes were drawn by an anonymous artist that probably hails from the same clan as the Subway etiquette artist from a month ago.  Though the lanes were surely meant in jest, they have spawned quite a heated debate among New Yorkers, causing Mayor Bloomberg to even comment.

Walking is somewhat of a sport here. New Yorkers have places to go and not much time to get there, which means navigating Times Square/ Fifth Avenue/ Ground Zero/ Grand Central is like a game of human Frogger. Let’s be honest— if the Tourist lane was faster than the New Yorker lane, I would be walking there instead. Sure, we can hate on the tourists for walking slowly, four abreast, and stopping every two seconds to take pictures but, really, they’re just an easy target.  If we really wanted to cut down on the walking riff-raff out there we should make lanes for these clowns:

The Texters. You know who you are. Looking down, shuffling slowly and causing a traffic jam in the process instead of just stepping to the side. I saw a texter walk into a light pole earlier this week and it was incredibly vindicating.

Walking Three or More Abreast. This is a sidewalk, not a Rockettes show. You can walk behind your friends without losing them, I promise.

Chimney Smokers.  Ok, I realize smokers have few places to go these days after been banned from nearly every indoor establishment around town, but that doesn’t give them the right to carelessly blow clouds of carcinogens in unassuming faces!

Umbrellas.  Don’t be confused: this is a rain shield, not a sword.  I swear some people try to poke each other’s eyes out in passing. If somebody is approaching that is shorter than you are, simply raise your umbrella so it doesn’t hit theirs. Crisis averted! Vision intact!

Reading. The Daily A.M. or latest Twilight book can wait till you are properly seated in Starbucks, Central Park or wherever you may be going. Chances are if you walk at normal speed, sans reading, you will arrive at your destination five minutes before you would otherwise, thereby affording you more time to properly indulge in your precious literature.

Suitcase Courtesy.  Watch the toes, buster!

What else did I miss?


4 Responses to “Sidewalk Traffic Lanes for All”

  1. I totally agree with the walking three or more abreast. Jim and I walk downtown KC all the time and we are always the ones to go single file while the others won’t budge. Jim is so fed up with it that he now acts distracted or looks at me while he talks instead of at the oncoming offensive walkers and refuses to move so that usually forces them to move over, or if they won’t move over he just bumps into them to make his point.

    By the way – I love your blog and check it every day!!

  2. Why can’t people keep to the right? The walkway to the PATH station at the WTC drives me crazy with the wall-huggers who insist that they stay all the way to the left. And the tourists throught the City need to wake up.


  1. Hate to Love It: New York Annoyances « get NYC'd - August 16, 2010

    […] Dubai, Rome… and we even make them speak our language! But, I admit, it really is too bad that tourist walking lane never panned […]

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