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Fast-walking pedestrians get their own sidewalk lanes in Liverpool

Liverpool's new 'fast-walking' lanes are prompting people around the world to ask their own cities for speedier sidewalks.

Liverpool's new 'fast-walking' lanes are prompting people around the world to ask for speedier sidewalks

A U.K. study found that dawdling pedestrians, pavement hoggers, and 'people checking their phones' are incredibly irritating to many shoppers. (Argos)

For everything smartphones have done to speed life up, they've proven annoyingly effective at slowing things down when it comes to sidewalk traffic.

A recent survey of U.K. residents found that "slow walkers" are one of the most frustrating things people face while shopping nationwide – and a near-constant stream of angry tweets from around the world suggest that this isn't a localized grievance.

Fortunately, there now exists at least one place on Earth where texting tourists can't crash your commute.

What's being billed as "the first-ever 'fast track' pedestrian shopping lane" opened to the public in Liverpool, England this week outside of a busy downtown retail complex.

The Independent reported Tuesday that British catalogue retailer Argos had painted new sidewalk lanes in front of its St. John Street after commissioning research about common "bugbears."

As previously alluded, slow walkers were named as the most annoying aspect of shopping by more of the 1,505 people surveyed than anything else.

Almost half of respondents (47 per cent) chose "the slow pace" of streets as their top frustration, while pavement hoggers and dawdling pedestrians got 31 per cent and 27 per cent of the vote respectively.

Also on the list? "Battling through crowds," "middle of the street chattering," and "people checking their phones."

"With 28.8 million Britons saying they would like a pavement fast lane installed on their local high street to ensure less time is spent dodging the masses, Argos has launched the UK's first ever crowd-bypassing pavement lane," wrote the company in a press release this week.

While Argos does not specify where the figure of 28.8 million came from, it wouldn't be surprising if that number were accurate based on how many people complain about slow walkers online each day.

"What's aggravating is all the people on their phones while walking... very slowly," reads one of the nearly 900 comments in a Reddit thread about Liverpool's new sidewalk lane. "Sometimes they amass into a big group and you're just stuck behind a huge group of slow walking zombie people who are all looking down at their phones."

"When you walk everywhere as your means of transportation, and you have to go grocery shopping every other day because you can only shop for what you can carry in a backpack and just want to go to and from the store, it can really get on your nerves quickly," wrote another Redditor who lives in Boston. "Imagine needing to drive to the store - about a 30 minute drive - every other day, and you have a 2 lane street, but some *sshole tourists crowd the streets and drive 20 mph on your way there. You'd get tired of it pretty quickly."

According to the research, which was conducted for Argos by London-based market research agency Opinion Matters, young people support the idea of fast-walking lanes more than older shoppers.

Approximately 69 per cent of respondents in the 16 to 24 age group said they were in favour of the lanes, while just 37 per cent of people over 55 liked the concept.

This doesn't matter much for Liverpool's now world-famous lane, however. According to Argos, it's only an "experimental" test project. The fast-track lane is slated for removal by the company on Sunday, Nov. 8.

But, based on the feedback its generated, we may see similar lanes pop up on this side of the pond one day – and if New Yorkers get their way, it'll happen sooner than later.

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