Walking is a form of mass transit. Use it wisely. I read that the phenomenon of visitors to cities who don’t realize that walking is a legitimate form of mass transit is not unique to Boston:
Now, I realize that most suburbs and exurbs are allergic to building sidewalks, and so the use of sidewalks is confusing and possibly disorienting to suburbanites. And I appreciate that some of them tackle the fact that they may have to walk from a quarter to a half a mile from their car to the stadium with a sense of adventure, similar to the kind that one might have when sky-diving or trying a strange new food. It’s nice to take out those expensive running shoes and see what they can really do, like taking your SUV off-road. But the rest of us use those sidewalks every day, and we have certain etiquette that we follow to demonstrate that we understand that the sidewalks are to be shared.
Yes, it’s surprising that traffic on the sidewalk is coming and going, which indicates that people using the sidewalks may not be going in the same direction as you. This isn’t like Disneyland, where everyone is doing the same thing and traffic runs in one direction. This means that people will be coming up the sidewalk and it’s only polite to share it with them. It’s much like driving, in fact—push off to the right, and they’ll generally do the same. Stopping and freaking out, or skittering off into 15 different directions is not necessary.
In general, assume at all times that the sidewalk is being used by people not you, who may have different purposes than you. This means that it’s never okay to have your party completely dominate the sidewalk… If your party of 3 people walking abreast is taking up so much room that I have to step out in the street to get around you, you’re being an asshole. [Intelligent Designer bless Amanda]
…Because you’re here to have fun and ambling along—which is great, you should do that—doesn’t mean that everyone else on the sidewalk is in your frame of mind. Some of us are running errands, and don’t like that you’re in our way. Yes, it’s legal to run errands like grocery shopping on foot.
I would argue Boston gets it worse in that many residential districts are also tourist destinations–they have cool stuff, so, surprisingly, people want to live there. Now, if Amanda would only take a crack at people who don’t know how to ride the T….