Utah school creates ‘texting lane’ for phone-focused walkers

TORONTO – If you’ve ever been in a hurry to get somewhere, and suddenly found yourself stuck behind some meandering soul on the stairs with their eyes on their smartphone… one university feels your pain.

Utah Valley University in Orem is rolling out what it calls the “texting lane” on one staircase at the university’s Student Life and Wellness Center.

The staircase is divided by marker lines similar to lanes on a highway. There’s the “running” lane for those who hit the snooze button a few too many times that morning, the “walking” lane for the casual stroller, and the “texting” lane for those who don’t want to let physical transportation interfere with their Instagram posting and funny cat video sharing.

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Of course, the entire concept was not intended to be serious, just a way to add decoration (and more than a little ironic comment) to a campus space.

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“The design was meant for people to laugh at rather than a real attempt to direct traffic flow,” Matt Bambrough, UVU’s creative director, told KSL News in Utah. “This graphic is obviously more aesthetic than functional, and though we’ve noticed that most texters aren’t actually following the posted lanes, they are enjoying walking to their workout space.”

The concept isn’t without its flaws: there doesn’t seem to be a “down” lane for one, and the “texting” and “running” lanes seem a little close for comfort.

Still, the idea of a dedicated texing lane has gotten some traction on – of all places – social media.

“The viral photo began as a single social media post and from there was covered by numerous digital outlets,” UVU Public Relations Director Melinda Colton said. “Now the photo has appeared throughout the country and even internationally. What started out as a creative way to enhance a building has now caught the attention of people worldwide.”



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