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A special sidewalk lane, just for text-messaging pedestrians

A special sidewalk lane, just for text-messaging pedestrians

Posting in Cities

The City of Philadelphia investigates the implementation of electronic sidewalk lanes, or "E-Lanes," for distracted, tech-toting pedestrians on the go.

We don't really celebrate April Fool's Day here on SmartPlanet, mostly because we can get in serious hot water thanks to our role as a news organization. (As you can imagine, it's not so funny when a company's stock price tanks because of that "hilarious" acquisition. Ha. Ha.)

But technology is ripe for humor, and the City of Philadelphia got the joke when it decided to roll out a pilot program for electronic sidewalk lanes, or "E-Lanes," intended for pedestrians too busy to look up from their mobile devices as they strolled the streets of the city.

"We want to make sure that it's safe, for everyone," mayor Michael Nutter said.

It's all a joke of course, a bit of wry social commentary on the effect of mobile technology on social interaction within the grid of a city. But like all good humor, there's a kernel of truth tucked inside: we may have developed complex technology, but we're still simple creatures.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure