Novelty Swedish street signs get pedestrians dancing

  • Published
Street sign in Haparanda, SwedenImage source, Swedish TV
Image caption,
Why stroll across the street when you could "duck walk" like a rock'n'roll icon?

A town in northern Sweden is encouraging pedestrians to hop, skip and even play air guitar like Chuck Berry as they cross the road, with a series of new street signs.

Haparanda Council says it's part of a scheme launched last year to rejuvenate the town centre. It includes new business incentives, playgrounds and a restaurant complete with a beach, but the signs have attracted the most public interest.

Therese Ostling, who runs the Town Makeover project, tells Swedish TV that the initiative also features direction signs for destinations near and far, including one pointing the way to the "Midnight Sun" and another towards "quality of life", but the pedestrian crossing signs are proving most popular. "They have got more attention than I thought - I see people taking photos of them every day, and sometimes they follow the instructions to jump, leap or whatever else the sign suggests," Ms Ostling says.

The idea came from local woman Nadja Lukin, who tells the Norrlandska Socialdemokraten newspaper she was inspired by something similar in Ireland. She wrote to the council, as "Haparanda has always dared to try something new", and officials responded enthusiastically with signs depicting jive dancing and Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks.

The makeover, which includes rebranding the centre as the Old Town, has brought new business into the once-rundown area and will continue for another year, but the most important impact of the signs has been to "make people smile", says Ms Ostling.

Image source, Swedish TV
Image caption,
Jive walking is encouraged on zebra crossings in Haparanda

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