Professors commute by pedal and foot

Professors choose to commute by pedal and foot year-round for numerous reason, including pleaser, practicality, health and sustainability. Photo by Morgan Schleif.
Professors choose to commute by pedal and foot year-round for numerous reason, including pleaser, practicality, health and sustainability. Photo by Morgan Schleif.

Alternative transportation  chosen for health and sustainability

Concordia physics instructor and lab manager Donald Brummond has been commuting by bicycle since the late 1970s, and he is only one of many professors who commute to and from campus by foot or pedal rather than by car.

Brummond chooses to commute by bike both for pleasure and out of concern for practicality and sustainability.

“You can ride well over a thousand miles with the energy contained in one gallon of gasoline,” Brummond said.

Brummond bikes to work even during the winter months.

“The worse the weather, the better it is,” Brummond said. “There’s less tourists out there.”

Brummond also said that after taking into account the time spent in traffic and searching for parking, riding his bike is usually faster than driving.

“If I’ve got time, I’ll take my car; if I’m in a hurry, I’ll ride my bike,” Brummond said.

The issues involved in transportation — parking in particular — are points of interest to Brummond because he previously served on the Transportation Working Group of the President’s Sustainability Task Force.

According to Brummond, there are around 2,500 parking permits issued to students and roughly 1,500 identified parking spaces on campus. Despite this data, Brummond said the issues with parking on campus are a little more complex than a simple lack of spaces.

“(It’s) in essence an issue of perception and entitlement,” Brummond said, via email. He added that adding parking spots is probably not a real solution, because “even if we were to pave the entire campus, parking will still be in the wrong place at the wrong time for too many people.”

Among Brummond’s fellow professors who commute non-traditionally is Chinese professor Tao Ming, who, up until a recent knee injury, made a point of walking to campus in all weather conditions.

“There’s several reasons for why I want to walk to work. The first reason is exercise: if you’re working here, (then) most of the time you’re staying in your office,” Ming said. “So the biggest motivation is just keeping myself healthy.”

English professor William Snyder, who also walks or bikes to campus year-round, does so partly to maintain his physical health, like Ming, and partly to conserve energy, like Brummond.

“I have a 1996 Honda Civic,” Snyder said. “And I have about 58,000 miles on it.”

Ming’s reasons for walking to work also echo, to a degree, Brummond’s statement on the nature of Concordia’s parking issues.

“Sometimes, us Chinese, we do not understand why American people have to park as close as possible every time they go to the gym. What’s the point?” Ming said. “Why not park your car a little bit further and then walk?”

Brummond, despite his concern for the state of parking on campus, has perhaps the closest parking spot of anyone.

“I have a wonderful parking place in my office,” Brummond said.


Austin Gerth

Austin Gerth is a member of Concordia's class of 2016. He edits the Opinion section. He has worked variously as a pizza cook, night-time dishwasher, caterer and water park attendant. He is a writing major, having determined through his experiences in the working world that he is ill-suited to manual labor. He enjoys ginger ale and no longer owns a poodle. He also writes for The COBBlog, and contributes freelance writing to MPR.

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