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Transport / Mass transit

Chongqing: The city with a special pedestrian lane for phone users

So the Chinese city of Chongqing has divided one of its sidewalks into two lanes. One, decorated with a glyph of a phone, is for those who are distracted by their little black screen; the other, which shows a phone struck through, is for everybody else.

The thinking is that phone users walk more slowly and aren’t concentrating, so should be segregated to spare them of the danger of meeting anyone coming from the opposite direction. Here’s the lane in action:

Image: Xinhua.

All this has caused outrage. The BBC reported that the new sidewalk “attracted ridicule” on Chinese social networking sites, with one user suggesting that a traffic lane “especially for drunk drivers” would be an equally sensible idea. There are, however, a few caveats.

First, as Quartz pointed out, the sidewalk isn’t on a real street – it’s a 50m (!) stretch of walkway in a theme park, presumably also home to other innovative transport solutions like Barbie trams and pirate ships. 

There’s also the fact that a similar sidewalk was set up in Washington DC earlier this year as part of a reality TV show. The result? Most people ignored it. It was in place for a single day.

So if you clicked on this, desperate to know whether this move symbolises a fresh attempt to demonise those helplessly addicted to texting, Twitter, or Candy Crush saga, then the answer is almost certainly no. Text everyone you know and tell them the good news.
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