sidewalk rage

BOSTON, Mass. - A suburban woman caused a five-pedestrian pile up on Hanover Street yesterday when she stopped dead in her tracks to seach her handbag for breath mints before meeting her fiance for a romantic dinner at Lucca. No one was seriously injured, but several pedestrians, all of whom live in the North End, fled the scene angrily, and witnesses say one pedestrian verbally assaulted the woman who caused the accident.

This isn't the first reported case of sidewalk rage. Over the last few months, this New England city has seen an alarming rise in reported cases of the pedestrian equivalent to road rage. While experts say no conclusive research has been completed, there seems to be two common factors that cause road rage and sidewalk rage: cellular phone usage and stupidity.

"I don't know what's wrong with these people," said Norton Endre, 36, of Boston's North End. "It's [Hanover Street] a busy street - the main drag - and the sidewalks are narrow. Just move to the [expletive] curb if you're not gonna move down the street."

Sal M. Prince, 25, agreed.

"It's bad enough people drive like idiots on Hanover Street," she said. "I mean, between the double parking and the six-point turns in the intersections and the subsequent screaming matches from car windows, we've got enough idiots in the neighborhood. The last thing we need is is this idiocy moving out of the cars and onto the sidewalks. I mean, when I get off work, I just want to walk into my building without having to battle my way through a congregation of people ooh-ing and ah-ing at that stupid life-sized chef statue my landlord puts out in front of his restaurant."

Meanwhile, members of the local business association are concerned about the way neighborhood residents treat visitors here. They say the visitors - largely tourists - are key to the economic health of the area.

"We need to keep the tourists coming back," said Dan Corpratore, the association's vice president. "Sure, it might be a nuisance to always come home to heel-to-toe traffic and Joe Schmoe holding up the line to answer his cell phone, but it's the price we pay for living in a neighborhood as beautiful and historically rich as this. The tourists support our economy, and we need to treat them with respect."

That's why Corpratore said his organization is going to start a public awareness campaign urging people to be nicer to others around them.

But in this city known for its residents' icy relations with everyone around them, it remains to be seen whether the business association's campaign will garner any support.

"It's a nice idea," Prince said. "But we're not known for being nice. That guy stopping foot traffic because he can't walk and talk on his cell phone at the same time - if he's in the way when I get over there, he's getting shoulder checked and getting a mouthful. I got places to be - I don't have time for that kind of BS."


Georgia Lyle said...

I love this. I'm like the North End locals - total sidewalk rageaholic.

Anonymous said...

I had an experience with this today. Be careful. It is dangerous to tangle with a person oblivious enough to behave so obliviously.