By: Adriana Avila, Staff Reporter | Photos By: Scott M. Roberts, Staff & Jonathan Gamboa, Staff
“Alternative Transportation” is a special fall term series that looks at various means of transportation. Look for the series finale in issue seven.
Public Administration major Chris Hannemann said he used to walk up to ten miles a day because of the many benefits.
“Of all the people I grew up with, I was the skinniest,” Hannemann explained, “It helped me maintain weight and stay in shape.”
Whether it was for entertainment, shopping, school or work, Hannemann said he would walk, because there was no cost to it and plenty of health benefits. Hannemann said he stands just over six feet and has never weighed more than 165 pounds.
“If everything you’re dealing is within five to seven miles of where you live,” Hannemann said, “the benefit is you don’t have to worry about the cost of car insurance, the cost of gas and the cost of maintenance.”
When not driving, the daily struggle and lost time trying to find a parking space are gone.
“I never once looked for a parking space at either CNM or UNM,” Hannemann said, “What’s the point of looking for a parking space when you could just get there and go? It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Though walking has its perks, it does take a while to get to one’s destination.
“If you have a three mile walk to school you better leave at least 30 to 40 minutes in order to get there on time,” said Hannemann.
Walking is not as simple as walking out the door and heading down the sidewalk, said Hannemann.
He offered some safety concerns to keep in mind: Listening to music helps to pass the time, but it should not be so loud that it drowns out the sounds of the environment, he said.
“It can be the difference between a trip to the hospital and the arrival to the destination,” he said.
Plenty of water, reflective clothing and a flashlight are necessary while walking, he said. During hot weather, deodorant and body spray can be helpful to combat sweat and smell.
If traveling through a dangerous part of town, Hannemann said he suggests carrying some mace.
Walking is a penny saver but it is not always the best way to travel if going long distances.
“There are certain distances that aren’t exactly reasonable,” Hannemann said, “I can do five miles in 45 minutes — not a problem, but now I work 25 miles away from home so there’s no way I can actually get to work on time if I was walking.”
The first time walking somewhere new is always going to feel like it is taking forever, but the more the path is taken the faster it will feel, he said. After a while, a few miles will feel like nothing.
Do not take major streets if it can be avoided. Drivers do not pay enough attention to pedestrians , said Hannemann.
Even though Hannemann owns a car, he said he avoids using it if it is not necessary. He still walks to the grocery store, bookstores and the bar.
The pros and cons of walking differ but it all depends on the situation.
“You won’t feel like it’s worth it if you’re walking in the middle of a blizzard or when you have to walk to work and it is 100 degrees outside,” he said.
Hannemann said that with the Albuquerque climate, he does not understand why more people do not walk. People miss the little things when they are driving, he said. Walking makes it easier to experience the environment while travelling, he said.
“Wheels do make things easier, but it speeds up the pace of life,” Hannemann said, “Sometimes life needs to go a little more slowly.”