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Unwritten rules of Telegraph Avenue

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JONATHAN HALE | STAFF

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AUGUST 21, 2022

There’s a saying that college students walk at an abnormally faster pace than the average person. Considering the abundance of tasks we have waiting for us in every which way — classes, meetings, work shifts and more — I don’t doubt this saying for one second. Our fast-paced lives come with a fast-paced stride, and when we’re walking down Telegraph Avenue with five minutes of Berkeley Time left to get to our destination, there’s no room for error. Every step, traffic light and object have the potential to make or break your punctuality — which is why this list of rules for Telegraph Avenue is a sacred guide for every UC Berkeley student.  

Rule 1: Keep right

Nothing slows down a UC Berkeley student more than constant face-to-face collisions with other pedestrians. That’s why walking on the right side of Telegraph Avenue sidewalks is always a must to keep the gradual flow of a college student’s stride. We’re like a colony of ants — one misalignment twists our entire trajectory.

Rule 2: Slow pokes to the side

There’s nothing wrong with casually strolling down Telegraph Avenue with your partner’s arm intertwined with yours. Perhaps you’re pushing a baby in its carriage and wish to inhale the extraordinary Berkeley aroma. That’s a glorious way to spend an afternoon, so long as you stay out of speeding students’ tracks. If you wish to enjoy your strolls or walk and talk with your pals, do so on the outer sides of the sidewalk to allow speedwalkers to zip on by your left. Hasty students will cherish you for not standing between them and their lecture halls!

Rule 3: Beware of the deadly stops

Imagine it’s 12:07 p.m., and you’ve got three minutes left to make it on time to your seminar in Dwinelle Hall. You’re zipping down Telegraph Avenue, catching every green light. You feel as though you’ve got this in the bag. You reach your prime speed-walking rate — and boom! You hit the back of someone who abruptly stopped right in front of you to see what flavors TP Tea had to offer that day. It’s a truly hazardous circumstance, which is why you should not sharply stop in the middle of these sidewalks! Unless you’re looking to get bumped into by someone trying to make that 12:10 p.m. class, please step off to the side if you need to look at something catching your eye. It will most definitely save you from minor injury and subtle glares!

Rule 4: Be cautious of jaywalking

Berkeley is the land of jaywalkers. I believe that no one actually likes jaywalking, but when people find themselves in the pits of tardiness and speed, they tend to resort to it. The locations where jaywalking seems to occur the most are Bowditch Street and the intersection of Telegraph Avenue with Durant Avenue — the two areas right before campus where you may feel most vulnerable. Students might get antsy and not want to deal with inevitable stares from walking into a lecture late, so they think the light is red for them if there aren’t any cars coming. Those few extra minutes saved by jaywalking can start to look incredibly enticing. However, California law says you should stick to crosswalks, even if you are a fast-paced student trying to maximize what Telegraph Avenue has to offer.

Rule 5: Cherish Telegraph Avenue while you can

We’re not in college forever, and we’ll hold specific landmarks of Berkeley in our hearts forever. Telegraph Avenue shares itself with us every day on our way to class through its residents, vendors and culture. The experiences of rushing past shops and restaurants, sipping on boba teas and holding your date’s hand after food at Super Duper Burgers are things to hold dear and cherish for years following your time at UC Berkeley.

While you’re zipping down Telegraph Avenue in desperation to get to campus on time, remember to keep this guide in mind.

Contact Geneva Hopwood at [email protected].
LAST UPDATED

AUGUST 21, 2022


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