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Meet Wake Forest’s bike-riding parking enforcement officer

kathy_kullman_wfu_sustainability

This is a guest post from the Office of Sustainability:

Wake Forest’s new parking enforcement officer, Kathy Kullman, is much like others in the Parking and Transportation Office.  She strives to be friendly and approachable throughout the day to those she meets on the job. But, there is something different about her.

What sets her apart is not hard to notice.  Her favorite means of getting around campus is human-powered. Kullman is often on a bicycle when she is on the job.

Kullman has committed to biking throughout a significant portion of her workday. After previously working as a bicycle patrol officer for a school in California, it was a “no-brainer” when Alex Crist, director of Parking and Transportation, asked about her preference on biking.

“Having a parking enforcement officer on a bike is great for our campus,” says Crist. “We are saving money on fuel, reducing our carbon footprint, and providing an invaluable resource of increased accessibility to our campus community.”

Parking enforcement officers can, unfortunately, generate negative perceptions at times. Enabling officers to patrol on a bike can help break down these barriers and increase engagement with community members. Kullman, who has been on her bike for approximately one month, recalls countless positive interactions with students, faculty and staff while biking. One such interaction involved a faculty member applauding her for her efforts.

“Being on a bike has provided a wonderful opportunity to take on the role of liaison for the Department of Parking and Transportation and for Wake Forest University,” says Kullman. “It’s easy to miss things while I’m in a vehicle, such as a lost wallet lying on the ground or a potential safety hazard. Being on a bike allows me to spot items like this more easily.”

Kullman also believes doing her job on a bike “sets a great example for living a more sustainable lifestyle and provides a great way to stay in shape.” Kullman currently spends approximately half of her shift on a bike and half in a vehicle, but with the weather becoming nicer–it’s her goal to be on the bike 99 percent of the time.

Matthew Burczyk, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the City of Winston Salem Department of Transportation, completed a shortened version of the League of American Bicyclists safety course with Kullman prior to her time spent on the bike. He discussed and demonstrated important safety issues and techniques to better prepare her for bicycle patrol shifts.

“I commend Wake Forest for taking the lead on this initiative, and encourage the city as well as other local colleges to do the same,” says Burczyk. “Between this and the campus-wide bike sharing program, Wake Forest is quite exemplary in enhancing our mission of encouraging active forms of transportation.”

The Office of Sustainability coordinates the Re-Cycle bike-sharing program, which enables students, faculty and staff to borrow a bike at no cost for either semester-long or short-term use.

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