Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Boris Johnson: Could he let us walk more freely?

I have sent this to the Mayor of London , Boris Johnson. Feel free to back me up here by copying and pasting your own email.

Dear Mr Johnson

A Question:

When in London, especially in the Underground, which side of the walkway should I walk on?
In Paddington Underground, it says Keep Left.
I noticed exhortations to Keep Right on another station.
No wonder people in the Underground passages Keep Randomly Dodging, Weaving and Bumping in to Each Other.

Surely, what the pedestrian needs is a convention that motorists have had for many many years: Lateralisation of Flow.

Things go more smoothly, there is more flow and less friction if everyone keeps to the agreed side of the walkway. It is more natural, more efficient.

I anticipate that you may feel that your Conservative philosophy would not allow you to order everyone to walk on this side or on that. You may feel that the individual must be free to choose his individual path, free of external compulsion.

I agree, but would say by way of rejoinder that it is not a matter of compulsion, but of suggestion and facilitation. A Nudge, as your leader might say.

By doing this, you might go down in history with the epitaph, "He may not have made the trains run on time, but at least he made it easier for people to move about on crowded walkways."

Hoping that you will appreciate the commonsense, and also the low cost, of this proposal.

With kind regards

Dr Richard Lawson


dd0 said...

Hi, I've visited and enjoyed your blog. Success for you.

DocRichard said...

dd0, if there were more people like you in the world, it would be a better place, in my opinion.

weggis said...

Ah well. We resident Londoners and expert users of the Underground know exactly where all the short cuts are via the “No Entry” stairs, passageway or tunnel. We also know, for example, that if you want to get to central or east London from Paddington you don’t get on the train there, oh no. You walk round the corner to Lancaster Gate and get on the Central Line. That way you get a seat. Oops, I’m in danger of letting all our secrets out of the bag to foreigners and Wurzels!