The shopkeepers’ association of London’s Oxford Street has proposed creating a separate lane on the sidewalk (pavement in UK English) for pedestrians who are walking more slowly than the general foot traffic. They suggest that tourists and windowshoppers ought to hug the sides of the buildings, allowing area office workers and errand runners to zip by.
Oxford Street at Christmas time is a massive, heaving wall of flesh. The Wrenaissance Man and I once made the mistake of going shopping on an early December Saturday on Oxford Street. It was so crowded, we had to hold hands to avoid being separated and lost from each other. Old newsreel images of the Tokyo subway at rush hour might give you an idea of the scene. At one point, he stepped into a tiny bit of open space in the scrum, which began closing immediately around our clasped hands and pulling us apart. I said a loud “Pardon me”, and pushed on through, receiving a kick in the backside and a curse from the restrained and ever-polite Londoner behind me.
The notion that they can control the randomly generated movement of human atoms is pretty hilarious. If Oxford street weren’t so very long, converting the central portion from a bus/taxi/transport lane to more pedestrian space might be a better solution. Of course, that would force all the motor traffic onto the narrow, twisting side and backstreets, creating further havoc.