Here come the peds!

Here come the peds!
Susan Saunders

“Peds” – remember the signs? “Give Way to Peds” equals pedestrians.

Who are the peds?

You may have noticed that more and more people are frequenting our footpaths. The old hustle and bustle of city life is back in force.

Pavements filled with parents towing little kids, prams with babies, students buried in their iPhones, school kids looking dishevelled and congregating in animated groups, fast-paced business types, slow-paced older folk, buskers and beggars and tourists looking around, taking photos.

The state of the pavement is the life of the city. It indicates a vibrant local economy and that is beginning to repair so well after the traumas of COVID.

All is not roses

At a recent Residents 3000 meeting introducing the City of Melbourne’s CEO Alison Leighton, one of the questioners caught my interest.

She told the story of stepping out onto the sidewalk from her apartment front door, then started to walk down the street but had to quickly step backwards to avoid a scooter driver zooming past, but in doing so, was clipped in the back by an Uber driver’s bike.

Here we see the problem. Not only do we have the peds moving within the city, but there are also bikes, scooter, Ubers, trams, cars, buses, and trucks to deal with. All have different speeds and size. How to accommodate all?

Logic calls for organisation. Trams down the middle, then the cars, buses, and trucks, (maybe we ask the trucks to avoid going right through the middle of the city?), then the bike lanes for cyclists, scooters, and Ubers.

Seems so easy and maybe we need some city/police promotion to make it happen that way. This leaves the footpath for the peds to walk or trot along safely, as well as having their stopping places for the wonderful Melbourne habit of sitting outside to have a coffee or other, along with good conversation.

But the footpath is congested, you say

There is a solution for that too. Here is what the Pathway Book of Etiquette has to say about engendering a happy experience for the peds when traversing the city streets. The list follows:

  • Keep to the left and walk in a straight line.
  • Use your peripheral vision to be aware of other around you. Embrace the crowd as being the heart of a lively city.
  • Walk with purpose, look ahead, take in the scenery (remember walking is good for your health! City people stay fit by walking everywhere).
  • Don’t cross the road when the light is flashing red. It is so frustrating for motorists not being able to make the left turn due uncooperative peds.
  • Be polite and courteous to others.
  • Take the opportunity to smile at passers-by if appropriate. Look up and bounce along with purpose. It is amazing how your attitude on the street affects others.
  • Don’t litter. Even pick up litter and place in bin. Shut the bin door if left open. Deposit butts in the bin not in the gutter.
  • Report graffiti to the police and City of Melbourne or use the Snap Send Solve app.
  • Pick up from your dog and give your best friend a hug. Good dog.
  • Stop and move over to the side if you need to use your iPhone.
  • Help a tourist find their way. Take their photo if they seem to need a helping hand. Make them feel welcome in our proud city.

I am sure that when you read these extracts, you could add some “etiquette” items of your own. The main point is that people make the city and the peds are an important indicator of its health and viability.

Residents 3000 – next Forum 3000

This coming month, Residents 3000 is hosting a “Community Showcase” from 6pm on Thursday, May 2, 2024.  This is an opportunity to learn about a selection of community-oriented groups and social activities primarily run by volunteers or not-for-profit organisations.

It is a new event in collaboration with our City of Melbourne Neighbourhood Partner, with support from City Precinct, and it is free to attend. All are welcome.  •

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