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A Guide to Walking on a Crowded New York City Sidewalk

Posted by libhom Friday, February 16, 2007

Note: This blog is usually about politics, media, and cultural issues, but I needed to get this off of my chest.

Walking on a sidewalk in a crowded city is much different than in suburbia where you usually have the sidewalk to yourself. Yet, some people are totally clueless about this distinction.

Most of these things should be obvious, but some people just don’t get them. So, here goes.

1) If you are walking slowly, walk at the side of the sidewalk. Slow walkers often will place themselves so that they block as much of the sidewalk as possible. That is comparable to taking up two lanes on an expressway.

2) If you are walking with people, try to walk single-file. Definitely, do not walk with more than two people in a row, no matter how interesting you think your conversations are. Remember, there are lots of other people using the sidewalk to commute.

3) Whenever possible, walk on the right side of the sidewalk. That way, you do not end up getting in other people’s way, and they don’t get in your way (if they are smart enough to do this).

4) A cell phone (or IPod etc.) is no excuse for walking in manner that gets in the way of others. You are not entitled to walk in the middle of the sidewalk, stop suddenly, or do other stupid things because you are distracted. If you can’t handle walking with a cell phone, don’t.

5) It is not cool, tough or any other positive thing to deliberately walk in someone else’s way to make them move. If you do that, you are just an idiot.

6) Do not walk your bike on the sidewalk, and certainly don’t ride it on the sidewalk.

7) Do not lock and leave your bike on a busy sidewalk. It is in the way.

8) If you are walking with your dog, never tie the dog to parking meter (or other thing with a poll) and then leave. This is awful for several reasons. It is cruel to the frightened animal. The dog is in the way of pedestrians. The dog poses a danger to pedestrians. (Remember, it is terrified and alone and won’t behave the way it does when you are around.) Pedestrians also pose a danger to the dog.

9) Don’t break through lines of people waiting for buses to jaywalk. Go around the lines, and then jaywalk.

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