On the pulse: Should fast-track pedestrian lanes be implemented across London?

Is the worst thing about your morning getting caught behind a plethora of plodding pedestrians snaking along the pavement making you late for work?

While Liverpool was Britain’s first city to introduce fast pedestrian lanes last year – positioned outside the Liverpool One shopping centre – to help speed up two-footed traffic, the idea didn’t seem to catch on in the capital.

However, insurance firm Direct Line set up a temporary ‘Direct Lane’ in London’s South Bank from September 22-23 for quick-footed pedestrians to use to overtake crawling commuters – the first of its kind in London.

“We wanted to highlight the issue of people walking at different speeds on London streets,” said Direct Line representative Lucy Davis.

“We have had an amazing reaction from Londoners – people are asking for fast lanes in Bromley and Oxford Circus to name a few places.”

The 50m-long lane, which stretches along Sutton Walk between Waterloo and the South Bank, has a strict no-phone and no-strolling policy, and pedestrians using it must walk at more than 3mph.

But what do Wimbledon residents make of fast pedestrian lanes? We took to the streets to find out.

Should fast-track pedestrian lanes be implemented across London?

YES 70%                 NO 30%

Maribel Montesa, 46, who is in favour, said: “Mums are always on the go, especially around Wimbledon Station.

“It can be frustrating trying to get through crowds of people with prams.”

2-maribel-montesaMARIBEL MONTESA: Pro fast-track lanes

David Geffs, 35, agreed: “People tend to walk in big groups – especially schoolchildren – and it can be infuriating trying to navigate through them.”

7-david-geffsDAVID GEFFS: Infuriated by slow walkers

While overtaking opportunities for cars on UK roads are governed by The Highway Code, there is no clear system for slipping past sluggish street-walkers.

However, some residents believe fast-track lanes are unnecessary and people should be left to negotiate pavement politics themselves.

“Everyone should share the pavement,” said Jim Dortas, 18.

9-jim-dortasJIM DORTAS: Just a nice guy

A common concern for those against the idea was the price tag and maintenance of such an initiative.

“What would it cost to implement and police?” asked William Reid, 68.

“And what would happen if you were caught walking too slowly in the fast lane?”

4-william-reidWILLIAM REID: Concerned about the logistics

Others believed fast-track lanes were only necessary in high-density pedestrian areas, such as Oxford Circus.

“Look at the high street right now,” said John Byrnes, 64, gesturing in the direction of Wimbledon Station.

“There’s hardly anyone on it and its Friday lunchtime – probably the busiest time of the week.”

3-john-byrnesJOHN BYRNES: Doesn’t think the streets are busy enough

Whether fast pedestrian lanes will diffuse across the capital remains to be seen.

For now, Wimbledon’s most pacy pedestrians must navigate their own overtakes.

Featured image courtesy of Megan Trace via Flickr

Related Articles