Steps to Less Sidewalk Aggression

Are you suffering from sidewalk aggression? The Wall Street Journal chronicled the question before. Have you ever walked the streets of Philly, getting annoyed or even angry at innocent strangers, those a bit lagging? It’s common.  So much so, one scientist theorizes there’s an existing ‘Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome.’ Would you be characterized as exhibiting ‘pedestrian aggressive’ behaviors? While anger or aggressiveness is not socially acceptable, it’s not safe either.  Let’s put a stop to aggressive sidewalk steps.


Who’s more of a nuisance on the sidewalk?  It’s a matter of perspective.
Source: ‘Pedestrian Level of Service Study, Phase I’ from The City of New York and NYC Department of City Planning, April 2006. Observed: 8,978 pedestrians at various sidewalk locations in Lower Manhattan over about four weeks.; Wildlife Conservation Society
Who are the speediest on the sidewalk?  It may not be you.
  • Tourists walk 3.79 feet per second
  • Smokers: 4.17 feet per second
  • Cellphone users: 4.20 feet per second
  • Headphone listeners: 4.64 feet per second
  • Large pedestrians: 3.74 feet per second
  • Men: 4.42 feet per second
  • Women: 4.10 feet per second
  • People with bags: 4.27 feet per second
While it’s easy to assume ‘tourists’ or ‘gapers’ are slowing up the sidewalks, there actually amongst the speediest.  Ensure your perspective is aligned with reality.  For example, “This always happens to me” is broad and untrue.  The next time you’re in an inconvenient predicament, consider thinking, “I’ll be on my way in moments.”  The former is negative, and latter is positive.


I will relay an anecdote. I once was walking briskly down Market toward the Patco train station. I was thinking about myself, how I wanted to meet friend over the bridge for dinner, one of them mentioning how I’d be the last one arriving.
I was in a rush.  I was inside my own head, my own experience. I quickly came upon ‘one of those’ people walking too slow for me at that point in time. I sighed in annoyance upon passing a man, looking back with a scowl to see a blind man. I felt horrible. I was only thinking of myself and my own plans. I wasn’t thinking about living in a city filled with other people, living at their own pace, wanting to get to their own destinations in peace. While we don’t know exactly why someone may be walking slow (or slower than we’d like them to be), it’s better to be empathetic.  Maybe they’re walking as fast as they can, rather than taking part in an evil plan to hold us up on our way.


It’s much more fun (and takes less effort to smile). Rather get annoyed or enraged the next time you find yourself in an unfortunate sidewalk predicament, be thankful you’re not inside your car, making the following annoyed faces: Image source: