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Matthew Sheahan on 'City Sidewalks, Cluttered Sidewalks' (via me, my life + infrastructure):

City residents who block sidewalks in this way must be shown no mercy. Say, "excuse me" of course, but if they don’t yield after two or three "excuse me" s, break through their ignorant ranks savagely.

I was umming and ahhing about posting about it, but it is a pet grouch and since Heidi (mymei) and now Jon over at Rogue Semiotics have outed themselves as 'focussed' pedestrians (i.e. someone who knows exactly where they are walking to and mentally recites "will you bloody fools with backpacks get out of the way now" en route), I'm going to grouch about my pet peeve.

Actually, I have several. I would dearly love some signs that, as a pedestrian, I could hold up with great speed - rather like Wylie Coyote when he realises just what he has done to himself. My main one would be "use your indicators" for car-drivers who assume that us pedestrians can telepathically understand which way they are about to go at a Y-junction (especially ones where they can go either straight on or left from the same lane). Another would be "get a bell" for cyclists who ride on the pavement and then get huffy at pedestrians who don't hear them coming from behind.

However, the relevant grouch is about 'swerver pedestrians'. Any pavement rage type person will know this. If you are a fast walker, you tend to make routes through the slower moving morass: left past the OAP, then right pass the foreign students, then left again just before that gap between the students and the office worker closes. You're calculating speeds, trajectories, the lot. Forget catching a ball, this is serious mental maths at reflexively high speed. You pass the OAP, you're moving around the students. Already you are several yards ahead, planning the next bits, as you step into the gap between the---the office worker who has just swerved directly into the gap. Even more exasperating is the single swerver. You are going for a simple overtake manouvre on a fairly empty pavement. The overtakee is walking just a tiny bit slower than you. You go left, they swerve left. So you drop back and go right, except now they are going right. Walk in a straight line!!

That'll be my third Wylie Coyote sign, I think.

Posted @ 1:59 pm on Friday, March 26, 2004
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