Now Liverpool is getting a fast walking lane, here's what else our cities need

From phone chargers on the street to excrement-free handles on public transport, segregating slow walkers is just the beginning

Max Benwell
Thursday 05 November 2015 18:16

People rarely ever lose their minds over urban planning, whether it's a new traffic flow system, or a freshly pedestrianised zone.

This has all momentarily changed however, with the announcement that Liverpool will be introducing a stretch of pavement that includes a fast walking lane. It’s only 100m long, and was commission after research by Argos found that 47 per cent of British shoppers said slow walking annoys them the most.

It has all the tell-tale signs of a short-lived publicity stunt, but people are loving it. They've have been sharing the story in their tens of thousands, and declaring their love for the lanes across social media. Some are even claiming that they now want to move to Liverpool, where you can imagine they'll run freely up and down the short stretch of cement, life goals fulfilled.

The popularity of a fast walking lane is testament to our desire to iron out all the things we hate about our daily routines. But slow walkers are just the beginning. If the new lanes take off (there’s already talk about them appearing in Glasgow), here’s what should come next.

1. Separate compartments for people who don’t take off their backpacks

Passengers Boarding Eurostar At St. Pancras Station, London, United Kingdom

We don’t need female-only carriages, we need carriages just for people who refuse to take off their backpacks. Pack them in there and see how they like it. Watch as their bags – which they’ve seemingly filled with their laptop and every book they own – knock into everything in sight. Hopefully once you've got them in there they’ll see the errors of their ways, or become so packed in that no-one can leave, trapped in an endless loop of "oh excuse me"s.

2. Lanes for people on their phones

A phone lane in China

Slow walkers are bad, but there's nothing worse than people who trundle in front of you on their phones. They're not even following their natural rhythm; they're gazing absent-mindedly into a screen. We need to follow China and give them their own lane. Although if, like me, you are one of the people who would be using such a lane, it would also helpful to put padding around all poles just in case.

3. Anti-bacterial poles and handles on public transport

A man hangs onto a rail on the London Underground

We’ve all been there. You’re on a train or a bus. The driver is ramming their foot on the brake at every opportunity. Everyone is flying into each other. You need to clasp onto something. But at the same time, you know that anything you grab is probably covered in bacteria, including your good friend human waste. It’s disgusting and could make you even sicker than you already are. But even more frustratingly, it can be easily avoided. In the Chilean capital of Santiago they use antimicrobial brass for all their poles and handles. Copper and silver has also been shown to kill harmful bacteria within 30 minutes of contact.

4. Phone chargers on the street

We need more chargers in the world, and dotting them all around our streets with places you can sit would be a great start. The average battery life of a smartphone is one of our age's greatest mysteries. Did we steal smartphones from the gods? Did they let us have it, but under the condition that no matter how essential they become, they will never be able to last beyond a few hours? With street chargers, the days when you have to run between various McDonalds and Costas searching for a plug would be gone, along with those dashes to the bedroom when you hit one per cent, and have to scramble for your cord around the side of your bed. We've all been there, lying contorted off the sides of our mattresses, trying to message someone, pulling at the extension block to give the cable a bit more slack. It's 2015 – this needs to end.

5. Fines for anyone who leans on handrails

Handrails on trains and buses are there for people to hold onto. And by leaning back on it, you’re doing the one thing that prevents them from doing that. Why stop there? Why not start standing in doors as if no-one needs to walk through them? Or lie across a row of seats? You need to either stop doing it, or pay up.

To also be considered: Umbrella vending machines, on-the-spot fines for manspreading and bagspreading, sun lotion and anti-bacterial gel dispensers

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