The sidewalks are public property meant to be used by everyone. Therefore, good manners should be practiced when trekking the Los Angeles streets through them.
Unfortunately, many Angelenos don’t have enough decency to follow sidewalk etiquette. This could potentially cause friction between fellow passersby who may be negatively affected by their inconsiderate behavior.
Trouble is, a lot of people aren’t aware that they are not following street sidewalk norms. In fact, there’s an entire reddit thread dedicated to unearthing what exactly such norms are in Washington, D.C., one of the most walkable cities in the nation.
If the people in a pedestrian-friendly area have troubles with figuring out how to resolve this issue themselves, then it would partially explain why people living in a car-centric city like Los Angeles would be struggling with this as well: street sidewalk norms are simply not established firmly.
Some argue that regulations on sidewalks should be as strict as the rules set in place for bike riders. They think the threat of a fine would compel pedestrians to be more mindful of how they act; they think codifying sidewalk manners once and for all would avoid confusion surrounding street sidewalk etiquette.
But the subject is moot, and advocating for either side (to regulate sidewalks or not) is a futile endeavor (at least for this blog) as it would do little to actually promote good sidewalk etiquette.
Instead, we are opting to go for the more doable option: list them out.
FOLLOW THE TIMED CROSSWALK
As you’re walking on the sidewalk and are about to cross an intersection, you better adhere to the timed crosswalk. The urban planning of Los Angeles does not aptly protect pedestrians from injury and death. Its streets are designed to accommodate heavy car usage, not for pedestrians to walk. While it’s unfortunate that this is the case, it should nevertheless encourage pedestrians to follow timed crosswalks so as to not be harmed.
KEEP PACE WITH OTHER PEDESTRIANS
Nothing is worse than being stuck in traffic. But being stuck behind a slow walker comes at a close second.
What side of the street should you walk on?
The right side.
Similar to how we drive on the right side of the road, pedestrians should also walk on the right side of the sidewalk. This just makes it easier for fellow pedestrians to pass through and avoids any unnecessary hold ups and bumps from occurring.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Aside from the fact that we are in the middle of a public health crisis, you should always keep your distance from fellow pedestrians. It doesn’t matter that we are in a public space. Everyone deserves a semblance of privacy wherever they are, and being on a sidewalk is no exception.
LISTEN TO MUSIC AT A LOW VOLUME
Do what you will at your own time. However, when you’re in a public space, you should be considerate of the needs of other people. They can usually be received through hearing. While it’s become the norm to listen to music as you’re walking down the street, you should nevertheless keep the volume down so that you can still connect with the people around you. You never know: it could save your life. In these Los Angeles streets, hearing that honk of the car horn could quite literally determine whether you live or die.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
You need to remain vigilant when you’re on the sidewalk. Keep your eyes peeled for anything that may cause you harm. This means stopping yourself from using your phone and making sure that you’re not accidentally running into a fellow pedestrian who’s also just trying to get to their destination as safely as possible.
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