April Fools, Mayor Nutter

A few Philadelphians were even texting as they walked through the e-lanes, Mayor Nutter’s April Fools joke on the city.

I love April Fools. Well, I love to read about April Fools. I’m not much of a prankster. I can’t keep a straight face, I can’t tell a good joke, and I’m not very creative when it comes to that kind of stuff. The extent of my April Fools is imagining that I rearrange my sister’s dresser drawers. Yes, that would be my grand prank.

So when I came back from my thrice-weekly run into Center City from campus last Sunday, I was excited when my mom told me about Mayor Nutter’s grand prank. He announced that the city was installing “texting lanes” on the sidewalks on JFK Boulevard near City Hall for pedestrians to text, talk on the phone, listen to their iPods, or use technology safely. I was disappointed that I had clearly run on the wrong part of the JFK on April Fools’ Day.

For my next Multimedia Storytelling project, I need to create a photo slideshow on a newsworthy topic. The opportunity to check out the prank for myself was too good to pass up, so Wednesday afternoon, I borrowed Rachel’s digital camera and I headed into Center City on my run, stopping at 15th and JFK to take pictures of the texting lanes.

Much to my surprise, people were actually using them to text, talk on the phone, and listen to their iPods. I chuckled to myself as I realized I was listening to my own iPod while I took pictures for my project. Mayor Nutter may have intended the lanes as a joke, but he clearly hit on a real issue in the city. There are already laws about texting while driving, biking, skateboarding–the whole nine yards. So maybe laws against pedestrians texting are next. I’ve certainly experienced a lot of ignorant pedestrians while walking around Philadelphia, so the mayor’s e-lanes were a great prank.

April Fools, Philly. April Fools.

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