The Art of Comm Ave Navigation

After three years of walking hundreds of miles in and around Boston, “America’s Walking City”, you begin to develop a style and pace of walking. And like driving, every person has his own style, so here is a guide of who you need to avoid the next time you’re headed down Comm Ave.

Photo by Flickr User Streetsim

The Speed Walkers

Probably the most common pedestrian on Boston’s streets, these people walk so excessively fast that they appear to be doing a slow jog. They are skilled at maneuvering around signs, bus stations and other pedestrians. If you are not walking at their superhuman speed, then they will hover behind you until they get the opportunity to pass.

The speed walkers are also speed street-crossers- they do not obey stoplights, signs, or desperate pleas to not run into oncoming traffic at the BU Bridge intersection. But it is all worth it to get to their destination 80 seconds faster.

The Ambling Texters

Photo by Flickr User Karpov the wicked train

While not as dangerous as their driving counterparts, these pedestrians are still to be avoided. Depending on the level of concentration on their text, they may not look up until they are in the middle of an intersection or about to plow down a small child.

They also move at an obliviously slow pace peppered with frequent stops as they scroll through a long text or try to find the right word in T9. Their facial expressions following  a reaction to a text or the possibility that they might run into a stop sign or bus station make them worth watching.

The Freshmen Herd

Most frequently sighted on Ashford St. on the weekends, the herd consists of about five or six freshmen, usually girls, who cluster together and form a sidewalk blockade. They might link arms in an effort to stabilize themselves, making it very tempting to play red rover with them. They also frequently stop to take pictures, remove high heels or comfort a crying friend.

An important tip for dealing with these herds – stay out of the No Zones- left side, right side, front and back! (Thanks Driver’s Ed videos from the 90’s)When walking too close to the herd, there is the possibility of being run over or getting ralphed on because they are too oblivious. You have to wait for the right moment to pass, and when you do, make it quick.

The “Ralk” (Walk/Run)

This is one of the more awkward walks found on Comm Ave. It occurs when you are very late for something, say a train or a job interview, and you need to get there fast but you don’t want to break into a full run just yet. Instead, you walk quickly for about 100 yards, then break into a run for another 100 yards. The pattern repeats until you arrive at your destination or just give up.

The Awkward Encounter

You move to the left. So does he. You move to the right. He does too.  With each dodge you are moving closer to each other. Back to the left again. You smile, try to move past one more time, and cringe. It’s awkward.

The Guy Running Down Comm Ave

You can not talk about walking down Comm Ave without mentioning this guy. He is the king of Comm Ave and we are all his subjects. You could recognize his blue shorts, white tank top, and approximately 500 pounds of ankle, wrist and chest weights, from half a mile away. We are awestruck of his ability to never stop running, ever, even in blizzards.

His refusal to speak to anyone except the occasional “get the f outta my way”  only increases our admiration.  Where is he going? Does he have a job? When will he release a fitness training dvd? And why, does he never, ever stop running?

About Heather Vandenengel

Heather Vandenengel (CAS '11) is a campus writer for the Quad.

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