WalkSanDiego's Executive Director, Jim Stone, trekked from his home in Southeast San Diego to WalkSanDiego's downtown office.
Calories burned: 560.
Walking nearly six miles of city streets from home to work today, I was surprised by the lack of people I encountered: a total of 29 other walkers, 3 bicyclists, and a handful of folks at transit stops. For a city of more than 1.3 million people, the streets were deserted.
Somebody was cooking a breakfast on Elm Street that smelled awesome. And my thanks go out to the guy in the pickup truck on Market Street who was blasting out some Tejano tunes on his stereo. It really lifted my spirits and made me smile. Sometimes it's the little things than can make your day. - JS
I live one mile from where I work. I know this because I clocked it once with my car’s odometer.
I would love to walk every day, but I am a reporter who frequently has to cover stories all around town. And – let’s face it – modern society expects mobility. When your bosses want you to meet clients or (in my case) news sources face to face, it’s hard to tell them you can’t do it because you walked to work and they’re too far away. And yet I do walk when I can. My path is an amalgam of terrains and rights-of-way that will sound familiar to anyone who has walked any distance in San Diego.
I begin in a neighborhood called El Cerrito and end up at KPBS Radio/TV on the campus of San Diego State. Once I turn right, off of the street where I live, I head north on 54th Street and enter a deep canyon. The street I descend as I’m bound for work is so steep that going up it, on my way home, feels like climbing a ladder. But let’s get back on the way to work.
Once I emerge on the other side of the canyon, I have to take a right on Montezuma Road. It’s a typical San Diego four-lane throughway where cars travel up to 60 mph. During rush hour it’s stuffed with traffic and crossing it is scary. It’s one of those wide roads where you feel yourself in the gun sights of cars that may or may not actually see you.
Back in 2007, I was riding my bike at the corner of Montezuma and Collwood when I was hit by car and ended up in the trauma ward of Scripps Mercy Hospital. Let’s just say I have a history with this street.
Yet something happens on my walk to work after I cross 55th Street, headed east, and enter the part of Montezuma Road that nears SDSU. New apartment buildings rise on both sides of the street. Their front yards are landscaped with palm trees and birds of paradise.
A grass berm separates the road from me. The center of the road has a landscaped median. Suddenly, I notice the blue sky and the pretty college girls headed to their classes. Soon, I’m at work at KPBS, feeling energized and psychologically prepared for the day.
My walk isn’t easy and it’s not uniformly pleasant. Aside from crossing Balboa Park on your way downtown, it’s hard for me to imagine a walk in San Diego that would be entirely agreeable. But my walk to work shows how small things can make a big difference when it comes to encouraging people to walk, and making them feel safe on the streets.
It’s nice to imagine a world where we can get around on foot. We’d be in a lot better shape, for one thing. Talk to anyone who has lived in London or New York and they’re likely to tell you how fit they were, getting around using their feet and public transportation.
We’ve got a long way to go in San Diego, and we may never get that far. But here’s wishing you a happy Walk to Work Day. Do it too, if you can.
Susanna walked the farthest: 6-1/2 miles from North Park. Two employees from North Park – Susanna and Steve S. – started the morning at Caffe Clabria, then walked south down 30th Street and west down Upas Street to the World-Famous San Diego Zoo, where they met their boss Diana. The three walked through beautiful Balboa Park to the Starbucks near 5th Avenue and Laurel Street. There they were met by four other airport employees: Richard, Dan, Steve C. and Rebecca.
After “fuelling up” at Starbucks, the happy gang of seven Airport Authority employees made their way west down Kalmia Street – where they were treated to a spectacular, sweeping view of San Diego Bay and the airport – then south on Brant Street and west on Hawthorn Street, which took them to the pleasant bayfront walkway along the Embarcadero. This they followed all the way to their jobs at the Commuter Terminal at San Diego International Airport.
The walkers expressed uniformly positive reviews of the transformational experience:
• “I appreciated the fresh air, beautiful weather, and good friends. Great way to start the day.” –Richard
• “I felt invigorated and thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Good company and conversation made it seem so much shorter than it really was!” –Diana
• “I was amazed at how easy and pleasant the entire experience was. It was a real treat seeing so many little neighborhood stores and cafes up close. I look forward to doing it again soon!” –Susanna
• “The exercise was good for the body, the change of scenery good for the eyes, the coffee good refreshment, and the knowledge that we were making a (small) difference good for the environment.” –Dan
• “Walking 5-1/2 miles has never seemed so fun or so short a distance. Walking with friends and coworkers through a beautiful city on a beautiful, clear day—with strategic coffee stops along the way – made all the difference. I want to thank Kathleen from Walk San Diego for planting this seed and getting us motivated to walk to work today. During the walk, the idea came up to get airport employees together for a walk to work the first Friday of every month … We’re walkin!” –Steve
I recently read the article in the UT about walking from North Park to Mission Valley for work and I think it is a great example of what we take for granted these days. If we don't get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather our city of San Diego has to offer, we can't enjoy the quality of life that we all pay through the nose for right?
I made a career move a few years back and now am able to walk to work each and everyday. I grew tired of getting in my car, fighting traffic, fighting those crazy drivers who INSIST on cutting me off or not letting me merge. Now I now relish my morning commute. After enjoying a nice breakfast with my beautful wife and 2 cute little boys, I prepare for the big walk.
I get my steaming cup of coffee, slip into some sweat pants (or who are we kidding, maybe even stay in my pajamas!), do some light stretching and jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. Gotta find those flip-flops (or slippers if it is chilly). I head down our hallway, eyeing each piece of lego or toy with disdain (can't these 2 little animals clean up after themselves?), mosey onto the back deck, take a deep breath of fresh San Diego air, and continue towards the end of my deck. From there I have to make a choice: do I just continue down the convenient stairs (that I built myself), or do I feel frisky and jump down the 3 steps onto our lawn? Depends on the morning I guess. After determining if the sprinklers have gone off the night before, rendering the grass sopping wet (which may harm my lambskin slippers so I have to change them), I head back to my home office, slide open the door, bask in the awesomeness that is my official San Diego Chargers office chair, take a seat, and begin my work day. Those 15 seconds of being outside are invaluable and wouldn't trade it for anything.
Yes, I work from home, but it allows me to walk to work (my office) each and everyday and I highly recommend it to anyone, should you have the means. It is our choice.