1. Stay to your right. It’s like driving. Stay to the right half of your sidewalk, and the extreme right at that unless you are passing. There are exceptions: sometimes you have to cross over because of eddies of tourists, construction obstacles, busy building entrances etc. The most flagrant violation of this rule is walking to your extreme left, forcing people coming the other way to concede you the outside edge. It works, but total dick move.
2. Don’t just stop short. If you realize you are going the wrong way, or you receive a call or a text, or you can’t think while walking and chewing gum, keep moving with the flow, and look for a place where you can pull over without blocking traffic. We’re all in this together, so keeping things moving ultimately benefits you, too.
3. HEY, LOVEBIRDS! GET A ROOM! Or whatever. Just don’t walk abreast, holding hands, across a two-lane sidewalk at a pace suggesting you are perusing an antiques fair in the Berkshires. We’re really happy about your romance (untrue: mostly miserable misanthropes), but get out th’ way!
4. Walk with a purpose. You (ought to) know where you’re going, and you want to get there. Everyone else does, too. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so don’t weave your way left and right while you tweet. Keep it moving, full speed ahead. Permissible exceptions include strolling in the park, walking dogs, 3:00 a.m. stagger home.
5. Watch the walk lights. If you’re going four blocks east and four blocks south, you want to keep a balance of streets you cross, east and south. Watch for blinking DON’T WALK signs, which mean the light is about to change. These are great, because if you’re close, it allows you quickly to cross, in this example, south and then immediately have the walk light to cross east.
6. Look around you. Are you chatting with your friend outside the restaurant right where there’s a mailbox with two bikes chained to it and some scaffolding? Maybe if you stepped over there, beside the mailbox, you wouldn’t be obstructing the sidewalk at its narrowest point.
7. Be kind, patient and helpful with your elders. If you’re lucky, that’ll be you some day.
I’m pretty sure that’s an exhaustive list, but if you think you have anything to add, feel free to do so in the comments.
Image: Improv Everywhere