One week of commuting on foot because of CMU Carnival

This week, the Morewood Parking Lot, where I have an annual parking permit for commuting to work at Carnegie Mellon University, is being used for the annual CMU Spring Carnival, so this year I opted for the new possibility opened up by CMU Parking Services to volunteer to not park in my lot, in order to reduce demand for parking. In return, I get a $50 credit toward my parking fee.

(A photo from the CMU Carnival live webcam.)

So today I walked two miles to work and another two back home, taking about thirty minutes each way at a fairly brisk pace.

Why was I so eager to volunteer?

The pain of parking during Carnival week

I have been paying for parking in the Morewood Lot for over a decade (with only one year in which I parked in the East Campus Garage). Every year, parking during Carnival week is a nightmare. Since the lower lot is closed, the result is that the rest of the lot fills quickly and you end up having to park in the East Campus Garage, spending over five minutes (according to my actual measurements) to drive up to the top and be guided to park somewhere, if you’re lucky. I already hate parking in the East Campus Garage, for a variety of reasons, and the added congestion and time only makes the experience worse.

Why do I drive to and park at work at all?

I have, of course, walked (or run) to work occasionally in the past, but it was not a regular habit, given that I pay for an expensive parking spot. I like to drive to work because of the conveniences:

Goal: force myself to do more walking

I do some running approximately every other day, but I haven’t been doing much plain old walking (sadly, I have not even done long hikes in the woods recently). I decided it would be a good opportunity to see what happens (mentally and physically) if I walk two miles to work, and two miles back home, every day.

Why not run instead of walk?

I have run to work in the past, but only when I had a way to deal with the following issues:

Why not take the bus?

Since I work at CMU, I get “free” city bus service. I take the bus quite infrequently; there is a stop a block away from my home, so it is definitely always an option.

But I have hated buses all my life, since riding them as a kid in New York City, and riding them elsewhere. In high school, I often chose to walk rather than ride a bus. In college, I also chose to walk rather than ride a bus; sometimes I would even walk an entire hour to get from one end of campus to the next.

Why I don’t like buses:

Why not ride my bike?

To be frank, I think of bike riding in Pittsburgh as scary. Things are much, much better now than they used to be, but I just don’t feel comfortable riding my bike around.

Maybe some day I’ll change my mind, but not right now.

Should I try my old Razor kick scooter?

I have a Razor kick scooter that I bought over a decade ago when it suddenly became a big fad. I had plans to use it for various purposes (including working my leg muscles around a track), but actually never got around to using it.

I am considering trying it out to supplement walking to work, but have some reservations. We’ll see whether I try it out this week.

Some photos of today’s walk home

I feared that a thunderstorm might hit this evening (it did not), so I walked pretty quickly home.

Schenley Drive is the most direct way to get into Squirrel Hill, where I live. Amusingly, my boss passed me on his bike while I was walking along:

Residential Squirrel Hill arrives right after the golf course:

Going down Murray Avenue:


I felt great (if sweaty) after my quick walk home tonight. I have tended to feel tired when coming home from work. It may be that all I really need is a nice walk to give me some air and circulation before dinner time. I look forward to doing more walking the rest of this week.

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