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Texting-Only “E-Lane” Makes Light of Distracted Walkers

City of Philadelphia uses April Fool's joke to bring up serious issue

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has become the first city to initiate a groundbreaking program tackling the issue of distracted walking. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the E-Lane.

“Philadelphia is the city of firsts. On April 1st 2012, the world again sees a first in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Stand on any sidewalk in Philadelphia you will see fellow citizens with busy lives who can’t take the time to look up from their IPhones, BlackBerries and other electronic devices. The E-Lane is a safe and convenient option for those distracted walkers and should make sidewalks safer for the rest of us. More Philadelphians than ever before rely on mobile technology to do business and stay in touch with family and friends . We need to accommodate them.”

It’s true. Many people are so busy and rely so much on their mobile devices that they cannot be bothered to actually pay attention to where they are walking. Because of this, the city has decided to put all texters-and-walkers into their own lane on the sidewalk. This way, they can be protected from everyone else, and everyone else can be protected from them.

Check out the Mayor discussing the program below:

Okay. You might have sensed some felicitousness. The E-Lane is not actual a reality, but a April Fool’s joke played by the city. But the joke wasn’t just made for the hell of it. The Mayor’s Office of Transportaton and Utilities wants to use this to bring light to a serious issue:

Here is a look at the history of the E-Lane. We decided to have fun with a serious issue – distracted walking. Distracted driving get lots of attention, as it should, but a growing issue in cities is distracted walking. We are all pedestrians, so hopefully our fun can start a dialogue about making sure everyone gets home safe at the end of the day.

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I’m a habitual textwalker. And though I’ve yet to run into a pole, a baby in a stroller, or perhaps walk off a pier, apparently distracted pedestrians are being hit by cars four times a day in that city.

Of course, the problem isn’t limited to texting. Words with Friends, making music choices, and Facebooking are all things that could lead to distracted walking. Are you guilty of any of this? Do you think people should pay more attention walking in busy cities? Let us know in the comments.

[h/t Newsvine]

Texting-Only “E-Lane” Makes Light of Distracted Walkers
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