DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a bone to pick with pedestrians. I can't tell you how many times I have begun to walk up a flight of stairs only to discover that someone is walking down the side that I am walking up. As a child, I learned that you walk up on the right and down on the left. Is that still the proper way to use stairs? And when you are on an escalator or one of those moving walkways in airports, aren't you supposed to go to the right if you are moving slowly or want to stand still and let fast movers go on the left? Please tell me that this is true and that I'm not crazy. -- Up the Stairs, Chicago
DEAR UP THE STAIRS: The standard in America is that whether you are walking up or down a flight of steps, your right hand should be able to hold onto the handrail on your right. As you are walking down a flight of stairs, for example, if someone is walking up the same flight of stairs, that person should be passing you on your left and, therefore, not causing a collision.
It is true that if you want to pass someone on a staircase, whether it is moving or not, you pass on the left, just as one does in a vehicle.