London Would Also Like to Separate Slow Walkers From People Who Have Jobs, and Lives


Remember how everybody was all worked up about those Tourist/New Yorker sidewalk lane notations that some trickster (ultimately revealed as Improv Everywhere) had painted on sidewalks around town back in the spring? Well, a group of literal-minded Brits have determined it might be a jolly idea to try on Oxford Street in London. Because, like barristers in wigs, what’s a joke in the U.S. is serious business across the pond.

Maybe. Actually, according to the Wall Street Journal, the line wouldn’t even be real.

New West End Company, a group of 600 business owners in the district around Oxford Street, is planning to direct slow movers to walk in a “shopper lane” along storefronts, so that hurried residents and workers can proceed without opposition on the sidewalk’s edges.

Under the plan being hatched by Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, chairman of New West End Company, maps available at airports, hotels, and other traveler spots would tell visitors to cling to buildings. The directive would also be written onto local area maps outside subway stations and at busy intersections.

As well as not even being an actual line on the sidewalk for people with eyes to see, with the proposed plan there wouldn’t be fines for disobeying, or even censures, other than the occasional stink-eye or extra-polite interjection from a member of an “army of privately funded Red Caps” who would patrol the streets to gently direct people to get the fuck out of the way. Which might work in London.

But the problem with this whole concept is that the slower, typically inconsiderate walkers, at least those who choose to be, are the least likely sorts to actually obey (or even notice) anything like this. More likely, they’re busy talking to each other in a group that spans across the entire sidewalk and being generally oblivious to anyone who tries to get by.

Also, what if you’re a shopper in a hurry? Or an annoying slow person meandering his way to work?

Thist is why we just trod aggressively on the back of slow-walking Frenchmen’s loafers in Soho and then assume an innocent demeanor when they turn around. And then do it again. There are times when one’s only recourse is guerrilla warfare.

[via Pat’s Papers]