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Fed Up With Texting Pedestrians, City Creates Sidewalk Cell Phone Lane

One more funny story about the unexpected direction technology takes us. There is also a video that went viral a year or so ago that helps illustrate the story. – Al Kresta
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How many times has this happened to you, maybe even just this morning? You’re trying to navigate a busy sidewalk, and some lollygagging doofus texting on a cell phone slows you down or, worse, runs into you. Or maybe you, like me, sometimes are that lollygagging doofus.

One neighborhood in the city of Chongqing, in southwestern China, has had enough. “There are lots of elderly people and children in our street,” Nong Cheng, a spokesperson for a local property management company, told the Associated Press, “and walking with your cell phone may cause unnecessary collisions.”

So the company, Meixin, created two lanes on a 165-foot (50 meter) stretch of sidewalk in a busy entertainment district. One lane is labeled “No cell phones.” The other reads “Cell phones. Walk in this lane at your own risk.”

How’s it working? Sadly, not so great. “Those using their cell phones of course have not heeded the markings on the pavement,” said Nong Cheng. “They don’t notice them.” Other pedestrians snapped pictures of the signage, clogging foot traffic even further.

Admittedly, Meixin said that the cell phone lane was intended as an ironic way to draw attention to this growing problem. It was inspired by a segment shot for an upcoming television program on the National Geographic Channel, in which producers painted a sidewalk in Washington, D.C., with similar markings – and had a similar outcome.

Even though the cell phone lane may not have achieved the intended results in either location, that doesn’t make it a bad idea, in my humble opinion. In fact, it could become a smart solution once the novelty wears off and society internalizes it, kind of like the “walk on the left, stand on the right” standard on escalators or moving walkways.

Or maybe it’ll be like bike lanes, because everybody respects those, right?

OK, maybe not.

via Forbes.com

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