The Walker – Thomas Vogl Advocates Walking to Work

Posted Friday January 15, 2010 by Jolynne

You may have read Meredith May’s article about Thomas Vogl in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, January 3, 2010 as part of the Ultra-Commuters issue. The following is a write-up that Thomas prepared for Walk San Francisco about his Walk to Work advocacy.

We Walk to Work on Wednesdays (and other days too)
by Thomas Vogl

I live in the Outer Sunset neighborhood and usually cycle to work, but one day I decided to try walking to work instead. It felt great, it was simple, and it made me really want to share the experience with others. So I told my housemates about my “walk to work” day, they liked the idea, and decided to give it a try. Entire streets we hadn’t noticed before revealed themselves to us, we met and conversed with new and interesting people along the way, it energized us, and we all agreed it felt good to just walk. We were grateful for having a healthy pair of legs and that gratitude flowed into our work day.

Because of these initial experiences I decided to walk to work more often and reached out to more people to join us. Since we started two months ago a mini movement has emerged: We’ve made a tradition of walking on Wednesday mornings. Some of start the day by meeting in a café and others join us enroute. We make our way towards City Hall where we split up because some of us have reached our destination while others must continue on.

…And So… (aka The Mission Statement)
I want to share the love of walking and inspire more people to consider walking as an innate right and a viable and enjoyable alternative to transport oneself to work. Walking is enjoyable, free, and healthy, and is even more fun when we walk to work together as “walking buddies”. Walking to work should be encouraged and promoted as an effective and efficient commuting alternative.

… There is More
Apart from the obvious benefits (it is free, good for the environment, an excellent work-out, and very reliable) I would like to share some of the other up-sides that I have experienced when I walk to work:

· Social Connections. Walking to work has given me a chance to spend some quality time chatting face to face with buddies, and making new friends. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see how many people have given me warm greetings and smiles for simply walking by
· Fresh Perspectives. Walking to work has allowed me to see new streets and pathways I would never have noticed before. Commuting in this fashion has given me a new way of seeing how other people live, work, and generally get around and in general is a great way to appreciate San Francisco even more

My Dream
· I see a multitude of Walk to Work neighborhood groups, greeting each other as they cross paths.
· I see an occasional Walk to Work celebration complete with marching band to help further inspire participants and to recruit new individuals to join us.
· I see Walk to Work becoming hip and cool, in the same way bicycling has.
· I see yearly “Walk to Work” Days in San Francisco, like the Bike-to-Work, with lots of people commuting by foot, and pausing at energizer stations for some fluids, encouragement, and camaraderie.
· I see a great increase in the membership of Walk SF as more citizens learn about the organization and its importance to the city.

What Next
I will be setting up an information booth in my office building (the old Hamm’s Brewery Building in Protero Hill) to let people know about my little mini movement. I will give them the opportunity to put their email and neighborhood onto a list so I can help them connect with one another and find walking buddies.

I wish you a happy Walk to Work Day!
Thomas Vogl

If you want to learn more about Walk to Work drop me a line at thomasvogl@hotmail.com