The City With the “Phone Lane” for Texters

Photo: Barcroft Media
Photo: Barcroft Media

Though we’ve all had annoying experiences with people texting and walking—maybe some of us have even been the ones doing so—few have thought to solve the problem by designating an actual lane for phone use. But that’s exactly what a city in China has decided to do.

A neighborhood in Chongqing China has decided to solve its texting while walking issue with a 30 meter long strip of sidewalk that has designated lanes which read, “cell phones, walk in this lane at your own risk” and “no cell phones.” While in the area, pedestrians can choose whichever lane suits them best.

The sidewalks feature printed warnings on the street itself, and the city has also posted large signs in the area that read, “First mobile phone sidewalks in China.”

Are they for real?

Though it remains to be seen if these sidewalks will become a mainstream thing in China, they have appeared before in the United States on two occasions. For an April Fool’s joke in 2012, the city of Philadelphia announced what it called an “e-lane” for smartphone users. The city claimed that the prank was designed in order to raise what they considered a serious public safety issue.

The sidewalks in China are said to resemble—or look almost like an exact replica—of a sidewalk that was painted on 18th Street in Washington DC for an experiment on crowd behavior, which was featured on the National Geographic channel in July of this year.

Whether the sidewalks were created for whimsy or for real, we will just have to see. But until then, they’re proving to be quite the conversation piece.

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