Clarification: The text-only lanes weren’t officially installed by the City of Antwerp. They were created as part of a marketing campaign by a phone company.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s a common thing to see on Vancouver sidewalks, people with their eyes and fingers glued to their cellphones while they walk. A Belgian city has that problem and now it has plans to create “text walking lanes.” The city of Antwerp is putting in designated lanes marked with white paint lines in busy shopping districts so people can look at their phones without irritating or endangering others.
Lon LaClaire with Vancouver’s transportation department recognizes the growing problem of texting and walking as he says “inattentive walking is becoming more and more of an issue because of smartphones.”
He knows that some of the city’s sidewalks like “Granville downtown, Robson downtown, and Georgia downtown” can get extremely busy but he doesn’t think we have enough people for it to be necessary.
“You know we’re finding that it’s rare that the capacity of the lane or the sidewalk that’s dedicated for the pedestrians or cyclists is exceeding the capacity. In most cases we have the capacity….I don’t know if we have the volumes of that yet to justify extra width, as it is everyone wants a piece of the road space”
Some other cities such as Washington, D.C. and Chongquing, China have given these “text walking lanes” a try.