Cruising campus in a whole new way

Harvard’s parking monitors can now patrol campus via bicycles. Photo by Hytham Ashuraey

2 min read

Many of Harvard’s parking monitors are now using pedal power to patrol campus.  A new cycling program implemented by Transportation Services allows the monitors to ride bikes during their shifts as opposed to driving.  The benefits for the monitors, the community, and the environment are tremendous.

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, also known as MassBike, recently provided the employees with a three hour training in the classroom and in the field.  Those who have volunteered for the program will now be able to exercise while they work.  “I love the exercise,” said Parking Monitor Ray Gonzalez.  “But this is also a great way to keep people motivated.  Instead of the same routine all the time, it’s something different.  Some days you can be in the car and others you can be on the bike.”

In addition, the monitors can be better ambassadors for the University when they’re on bikes as opposed to sitting inside a car.  “This will enhance communication and strengthen their bond with the community, said Assistant Manager of Parking Operations Robin Pulsifer.”  “Our monitors spend a lot of time helping people who need directions because they’re lost or who want to know where the best places to park are.  Having them on bikes significantly improves their approachability factor.”

Of course, reducing the number of vehicles on the road will help the environment and lower Harvard’s greenhouse gas footprint.  “Our goal is to eventually install mini-computers on the bicycles so we can track the distances being covered,” said Associate Director for CommuterChoice Ben Hammer.  “We can use that information to calculate the environmental impact of the program.  Overall, we see this as a big win for everyone involved.”

If it proves successful, the bike strategy could be adopted by other employees, such as those in Mail Services, who are constantly traversing campus.  “There are a lot of possibilities and opportunities,” added Hammer.