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Chinese city tests out sidewalk lanes for cellphone users

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A Chinese city has divided a sidewalk on one of its busiest streets into two lanes -- one for cellphone users and the other for those without. Chongqing painted the lines on busy sidewalk to avoid "potential safety hazards." Credit: From Meixin.Co/CNN

HONG KONG (CNN) — Tired of bumping into people glued to their phones? One Chinese city thinks it has the answer: It has divided a sidewalk on one of its busiest streets into two lanes — one for cellphone users and the other for those without.

The sidewalk is in the city of Chongqing in southwestern China. Fifty meters long and three meters wide, it has warning signs painted in white on the ground.

Long Cheng, a spokesperson for the developer that came up with the idea, said that the sidewalk lanes reminded tourists not to walk while playing with their cellphones.

“It’s an unsafe gesture with potential safety hazards,” she said.

The road, known as “yangrenjie” or foreigners street, is a popular tourist attraction in the city because of its faux Western architecture and an amusement park.

Long said the developers were inspired by a recent experiment in Washington DC and there were no plans yet to roll out the concept elsewhere in the city.

Not all pedestrians were sold on the idea, however.

“This kind of sidewalk is not a fundamental solution and could be an indulgence for mobile phone addicts in the long run, in my mind — and this could even lead to more problems in the future,” Xing Xing told the China Daily.

It is estimated that the number of smartphone users in China will exceed 500 million this year, the paper said.