Market Street needs its very own ‘fast walking lane’

Stephen Mckay / Geograph

Now I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say there is absolutely nothing worse than slow walkers on a busy street.

Okay, there are some slightly worse things, like war, genocide and Donald Trump’s hair, but it’s definitely up there. We can all agree it’s in the top 10 at the very least - if you can’t you’re probably ‘one of them’, in which case have a long hard word with yourself, ideally while walking swiftly rather than dawdling along like you usually do.

I don’t often trek into town on a Saturday morning, but I was reminded of just how awful slow walkers are after making an ill-advised jaunt down Market Street a few weekends back, battling through the hordes of snail-paced shoppers and gawking tourists.

And they were slow. So. Fucking. Slow.

Gerald England / Geograph

It added unnecessary time to my journey trying to dodge and weave past zombies staring at their phones while stumbling past that guy sculpting a dog out of sand, not to mention undue stress, turning a simple walk to the train station into a battle for survival and ruining an otherwise relaxing morning. And just when you think you’ve found a fast route - usually pressed in to the edge of the street - a fresh group of Chinese tourists steps out in front of you after exiting H&M and you have to start again.

This is why there needs to be a fast walking lane on Market Street - or the whole of the city centre while we’re at it. So the people who are just trying to get from A to B like a normal human at a decent pace don’t have to deal with the rest of the slow bastards out there.

It wouldn’t be the first time a fast walking lane has been introduced in the UK, the scousers gave it a whirl back in 2015, although it only lasted for a few months before disappearing (it’s unconfirmed whether or not someone stole it).

David Dixon / Geograph

At the time research found that 47% of people in the UK found slow walking the most annoying aspect of high-street shopping, with 69% of 16 to 24 year-olds in favour of fast lanes, while only 37% of over-55s backed the plan - probably because they’re the ones doing all the slow walking in the first place.

Fast lanes also made an appearance at the Lakeside Centre in Essex for a week back in 2017. It was introduced to coincide with Black Friday and help combat ‘slow-rage’, but why limit yourself to only one week of the year? We need walking freedom 24/7, 365 and we need it now.

So write to your local MP, start a petition or get a megaphone and start shouting at slow walkers on Market Street. Together we can make walking great again!

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