desire line

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di.ZYR lyn


desire line ‎(plural desire lines)

  1. A path that pedestrians take informally, rather than taking a sidewalk or set route; e.g. a well-worn ribbon of dirt that one sees cutting across a patch of grass, or paths in the snow.
    • 1987. Thomas Frick, Rebuilding Central Park, Technology Review, August 1987:
      Study participants also drew charts of pedestrian traffic to take note of what are delightfully termed "desire lines"- paths actually made by walkers as opposed to those created on the drawing board.
    • 2003. Patricia Leigh Brown, "Whose Sidewalk Is It, Anyway?" The New York Times, January 5, 2003:
      In areas with no sidewalks, beaten-down paths in the grass, known as "desire lines" in planning-speak, indicate yearning, said John La Plante, the chief traffic engineer for T. Y. Lin International, an engineering firm.