Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: Sidewalk & Staircase Etiquette 101
For the purposes of this report I am finally touching on an invaluable social etiquette that I feel has fallen by the wayside and it must be mentioned. Sidewalk and Staircase etiquette may seem like at first glance to be a common sense everyone possesses.
However, I’ve come to the conclusion that the selfishness of people has gotten to a point where even the simplest of social gestures that is so important to the well being of communities and cities at large to functioning in a proper fashion, has eroded to a point to where it can lead to violence and bad intentions of one person to another and that action spreading like a plague world wide. Just the other week I was watching the news and heard mention of a subway rider being shoved onto the train tracks and was killed by the oncoming train. Why do things like that happen?
If you’re reading this and still following me let’s go further now into what I’m speaking to. Case in point, in Europe the flow of traffic flows opposite of that here in the Western Hemisphere. Cars drive on the left side of the road in alternate north/south or east/west directions.
They have the steering wheel of the car on what is the passenger side of a car built for the North American car market. Do we ever wonder why that is? Driving here in the U.S. cars drive on the right side of the road alternately in whatever direction one is headed. The flow of traffic has a specific purpose.
It is the same for people when walking on sidewalks and up and down staircases be they in buildings or subways. We are people and walking on the sidewalk however much one might feel it is their personal runway or catwalk, is public use and as such has tacit and implicit if not unwritten rules that say be conscious of your fellow woman/man.
One of my biggest peeves with people while out in public aside from the selfish behavior I witness on subways and buses is the idea that walking opposite the flow of foot traffic is wise and should not be met with resistance, anger or frustration. I blame Sex and the City partly for this. In the ads and promos of Sex and the City you see the girls walking four wide down the streets of New York as if they are the only people on the street.
In the real New York City this can’t be tolerated. There are too many people trying to emulate that scene as if it’s the norm. If say you are walking with three other people on a sidewalk that has enough room for four people two on each side of the sidewalk walking in opposite directions comfortably, common sense says that you should only walk four wide if there is really no traffic coming back in the opposite direction.
Yet daily I witness “geniuses” walking taking up the entire sidewalk as if they are royalty or the only people deserving of pavement. Exhibit A below. Notice the four people to the right of the picture. Then notice the person to the far left walking against the flow of traffic. While there are no people at this time coming in the opposite direction, if there was someone coming in the opposite direction there would be a confrontation unless someone yielded the right of way. In my experience usually the person who is in the wrong thinks that the person with the right of way should be the one to acquiesce.
We have to do better as a society in how we interact with and treat one another. Clearly lack of respect for others goes around all day and all night. On escalators there is another common sense etiquette that has seemingly been forgotten. If you are a lazy, unaware, or just physically unfit person who can’t walk up the stairs or escalators, standing to the right hand side of the escalator is essential in order to allow people who want to get past to go on their way without having to wait behind someone who has no interest in getting to where they are going as quickly as some others would.
And lastly, just as I stated about the flow of traffic earlier, on the staircase it follows the same principle. Going up (if it’s the only staircase available) the stairs on the right hand side and allowing the left hand side for opposite direction traffic flow is common sense. I’ve seen it where people refuse this basic courtesy leading to shoving and yelling matches between people. This is especially true in the subways. We can’t all get along without the use and practice of respect and common sense for one another.
Till next time this has been another report by THEJNSREPORT. Also coming soon new food adventures.