Marquette Wire

Slow walkers create annoyances down Wisconsin Avenue

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Heaps of people navigate Marquette’s campus on a daily basis, going different speeds down Wisconsin Ave. where slow walkers are a common source of anger.

Strolling down the street, in the distance you’ll hear an angry muttering along the lines of, “C’mon, walk faster already!” With the sidewalks only being so wide, students and other members of the Marquette community are forced to weave their way through the throngs of people in order to get where they are going on time.

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the average walking speed for humans is 3.1 miles per hour.  However, unless someone is driving a car next to you at that speed, it’s unlikely that anyone knows the exact speed that they are walking at. Instead, people either know whether they are walking fast or walking slowly. It seems as though the speed at which people walk at Marquette is directly related to how soon the next batch of classes start. When there is more than 10 minutes before class start time, people, as a group, tend to have an average speed that is observably slower and more calm. Once the hands of the clock move closer to the time when classes start, the average speed of the masses becomes quicker, with students attempting to make it to their classes with only a few minutes remaining before the scheduled start times.

“Somedays, you know, if I’m really in a hurry I walk fast, but somedays if I’m feeling kind of lazy and tired I’ll walk slow,” Tyler Durrett, a sophomore in the College of Communication said. “But I think for the most part I stay in the middle,” he said, referring to whether he walks at a fast pace or a slow pace.

Other students said that they walked at a similar pace, including Samiha Rahman, a freshman in the College of Communication.

“I’d consider myself pretty average,” Rahman said. “It depends on how other people are walking or who I’m behind.”

However, average depends on the time of day and the person.  An average walking speed for someone at noon could be a snails pace for someone rushing to class at 8 a.m.

While many students consider themselves people who walk at an average speed, some of the other people around Marquette walk at a different pace.

“When I’m walking for exercise I walk fast, or I’m late for something … otherwise I kind of meander,” John Schwantes, S.J. said.

Father Schwantes is the associate director of the Faber Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Marquette. When asked about encountering people walking slowly in front of him, Schwantes said, “I guess I try to figure out how I’m gonna pass them, on the left or the right.”

Students echoed Father Schantes’ statement. “Usually if I’m in a hurry I go around them and get a little annoyed by it,” Catherine Cunningham, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, said.

Passing people on the sidewalk at Marquette can be a hazardous activity. With a busy thoroughfare running parallel to the sidewalk, members of the Marquette community have become adept at darting between holes in the flock of people like dragonflies on the hunt for mosquitos. One misstep and a person could be in for what amounts to only a few seconds of having to slow their pace, but what to them must feel like an eternity.

Being on the receiving end of getting passed is the cause of some strong feelings for students.

“Honestly, it annoys me, but then I realize that I do that to people, but it does annoy me,” Cunningham said.

“I guess sometimes (it annoys me), depending on how quickly the person kinda walks past you and the look they give you,” Durrett said.

For some, however, getting past allows a moment of reflection and realization.

“I realize that I’m getting older when the young people walk faster than I do,” Father Schantes said.

Whether it’s walking fast, walking slow or walking at whatever is considered an average speed, everyone who has walked down Wisconsin Avenue has dealt with walking behind someone who is moving at a different speed, be it walking faster or walking slower. How members of the Marquette community react to that differs from person to person, but when someone is walking behind another person who is walking slowly, the general thought becomes one of distinct simplicity: Pass.

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