Sidewalk rage is real, and it is justified. Imagine you’re on your way home from work, and the street you take is routinely littered with dawdlers — text-walkers, those who stop abruptly in the middle of the sidewalk, groups of friends who take up its entire width, etc. If you’re in a particularly unpleasant mood, you might mutter an insult under your breath or nudge past the person unapologetically. But for many urbanites, slow walking is a struggle that’s endured on a daily basis, albeit with a stiff upper lip and rising blood pressure.
In an effort to improve the experience for shoppers in its city center, Liverpool has opened a fast lane for pedestrians. The initiative was led by retailer Argos and London-based marketing agency Opinion Matters, who surveyed 1,505 Brits about their sidewalk grievances. Among 16 to 24 year olds, 69 percent were in favor of the fast lane, while only 37 percent of those 55 and older supported it.
A designated fast lane will be painted onto St. John Street at Liverpool One, a large outdoor shopping complex. The concept is part marketing stunt, part awareness campaign — the lane actually leads to the entrance of Argos, and many on Twitter have pegged it as an early holiday push for the retailer.
The poll also cited pavement hoggers, battling through crowds, middle of the street chattering and people checking their phones as the country’s most common shopping annoyances. While the fast lane is only experimental, occurring between November 2nd and 8th, its positive reception might encourage other cities to get their sidewalks up to speed.