There’s a bad habit among New York City pedestrians that needs to be addressed. It’s a problem that’s not just prevalent among tourists, or the bridge-and-tunnel set, or the elderly. It’s a problem that’s surprisingly not just confined to on-street cell-phone talkers, coffee sippers, or iPod listeners.
The problem is sidewalk drifting.
Sidewalk drifting occurs when you and another pedestrian are walking down the sidewalk, nearly side-by-side, when the offender inexplicably drifts over into your straight-line path. They’re not going into a store. There’s nobody coming at them in the other direction. There is no reason for them to move. But for some reason, they find it necessary to move into your way.
Often times, they are slower-moving than you are, and they drift into your way as you approach them from behind. These pedestrians need rear-view mirrors.
Sidewalk drifting is the pedestrian equivalent of changing lanes without signaling.
Generally, it happens without warning. Sometimes the reason is obvious: most of the time, sidewalk drifters are talking on their cell phones, completely oblivious to their surroundings. These are the same people who are literally incapable of walking and chewing gum. But often, sidewalk drifting happens without explanation: does the other pedestrian feel more comfortable on the right side of the sidewalk? Can the other pedestrian only walk at 20-degree angles? Does the other pedestrian enjoy the extremely close company of complete strangers?
There’s one sure-fire solution to stopping sidewalk drifting. We’ll make the pedestrian experience more like driving… with sidewalk lane markings!
There! Millions of dollars in paint and labor and… problem solved!