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-   -   City Dwellers/Ppl that walk everywhere/bus riders (http://www.mothering.com/forum/7-finding-your-tribe/978637-city-dwellers-ppl-walk-everywhere-bus-riders.html)

HarperRose 10-06-2008 05:26 PM

I want to get some support from other City Dwellers that walk or bus wherever they need to go. We have 1 vehicle so when I need to make a groc store run, for instance, I wait for dh to get home. We live in a city not known for sidewalks and I have kids that aren't big on walking! But I'm seeing that it's becoming a necessity at times and I want to just get used to it. It's better for us, better for the environment, better for our budget.

So how do you guys do it? Do you meander when you walk (look for nature stuff, name license plates, sing songs)? Favorite routes? Do you go as quickly as you can? What's farthest you've walked one way?

What about riding the bus? We've never done that but the kids want to.

jocelyndale 10-06-2008 07:16 PM

I have a kid who strongly dislikes the car seat. I walk or bus on a daily basis, simply because that's what makes him happiest. He's 17mo, so I just keep up a running commentary and listen to his cues.

He *loves* the bus. Loves it. I keep an Ergo in the stroller so that I can sling him on the bus and fold the stroller.

Our town has sidewalks, so I tend to stick to those. I do sometimes hike local trails with kiddo on my back. I tend to make sure I have a friend with me for that, though, just for safety.

I'm going to try biking soon, too, but I'm a little worried about safety. Our town's drivers aren't exactly known for bike awareness.

I don't have a supermarket within reasonable walking distance on super hot days I would have to bus to it and I sometimes do for small things that don't require refrigeration. I've walked there, too, but it's 3.5miles along a busy road, so I can really only do it when it's not hot/humid, otherwise it's an asthmatic nightmare.

Back when I lived in DC and its suburbs, I had a four-wheeled cart (kinda like this) for hauling groceries back home. I took it on the bus, too, but only during non-peak hours.

I do walk all over town on a regular basis. My longest daily walk has been 10 miles, but it's usually between 2.5 and 6. Now that DS is heavier, I usually use the stroller for these walks. He likes the view. We stop at playgrounds and we visit certain shops and cafes.

carfreemama 10-06-2008 10:29 PM

So glad to find this thread! This is definitely my tribe!

we are, ahem, carfree.

We have 1 daughter who is 4.5 years. We also have a dog and a cat.

We bought our house about 1 1/2 years ago, specifically because it is on one of the few reliable bus routes in the city. We could not have afforded this house, or this neighbourhood, if we also had to keep up a car.

We grow where we are planted. We literally live in our neighbourhood. Dd goes to a preschool that is within walking distance. We go to community events. We shop downtown mostly, even though it is more expensive; that is, when we shop at all! I take the bus to the farmers' market every Saturday morning at 6:35 a.m. to buy our groceries.

I work from home, so no commute. Dh rides his bike; except during the worst of the snow, when he gets a bus pass.

I bought a fancy, expensive stroller with massive wheels and a weatherproof shield. It was the best purchase I ever made.

Occasionally, I have things delivered (like books), rather than take a long bus ride to a bookstore.

We walk a lot.

To get the dog out of the city, I barter bread and supper once a week in exchange for the services of a professional dog-walker.

People tease us about how we can afford to live in an expensive neighbourhood in the city; but we do not have a car, cell phone, cable TV, etceteras. It's very important to me that dd grows up without relying on a car to get her places.

Winter is coming and it CAN be a challenge.

I'm looking forward to meeting others going the car-free route!

choli 10-06-2008 10:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by carfreemama View Post
So glad to find this thread! This is definitely my tribe!

we are, ahem, carfree.

We have 1 daughter who is 4.5 years. We also have a dog and a cat.

We bought our house about 1 1/2 years ago, specifically because it is on one of the few reliable bus routes in the city. We could not have afforded this house, or this neighbourhood, if we also had to keep up a car.

We grow where we are planted. We literally live in our neighbourhood. Dd goes to a preschool that is within walking distance. We go to community events. We shop downtown mostly, even though it is more expensive; that is, when we shop at all! I take the bus to the farmers' market every Saturday morning at 6:35 a.m. to buy our groceries.

I work from home, so no commute. Dh rides his bike; except during the worst of the snow, when he gets a bus pass.

I bought a fancy, expensive stroller with massive wheels and a weatherproof shield. It was the best purchase I ever made.

Occasionally, I have things delivered (like books), rather than take a long bus ride to a bookstore.

We walk a lot.

To get the dog out of the city, I barter bread and supper once a week in exchange for the services of a professional dog-walker.

People tease us about how we can afford to live in an expensive neighbourhood in the city; but we do not have a car, cell phone, cable TV, etceteras. It's very important to me that dd grows up without relying on a car to get her places.

Winter is coming and it CAN be a challenge.

I'm looking forward to meeting others going the car-free route!
Pretty much the same here - we could live in a McMansion in the burbs for what we paid for our two bed condo in town, but it's SO worth it. I would hate for my kids to grow up having to be driven everywhere.

Fortunately, Boston is a very walking friendly town. I walk to work, the kids walk to school, DH works mostly from home and uses Zipcar on the odd days that he has to attend a meeting out of town.

I shop at the farmer market a block from my work twice a week, and pick up stuff at the supermarket on the way home other days, so we don't need a car to haul groceries.

HarperRose 10-07-2008 03:54 PM

Man, and here I am thinking, "There' no way I can walk more than 1 mile to the grocery store!"

The groc is 1 mile, school is 1/2 mile, dentist is 1/4 mile.

But I feel overwhelmed. I think largely because it's so hot for so much of the year (Texas) and I worry that some idiot driver will be distracted and plow into us.

choli 10-07-2008 03:55 PM

We generally consider anything under 6 miles round trip walkable.

Shonahsmom 10-07-2008 04:17 PM

I lived car-free as a single mom for 7+ years. DH already had a car when we married, so there is now one car in the family. DD and I still commute everyday via train, biking, walking and/or bus. As a family, if it's in walking distance, we walk (and we consider anything under about 3 miles one way walking distance). I go many weeks without riding in DH's car.

DD is almost nine now, so it's an embedded part of her lifestyle to walk/bike/take public trans. When she was little, it was often just go as fast as we could because we were trying to get to daycare and work on time.

I do feel like it's been an invaluable part of her upbringing. She knows her city well, knows the public trans system well, has spent many hours of her life waiting on busses and trains in the rain, extreme heat, snow and blistering cold, which offers many, may different types of life lessons from patience to knowing how to dress appropriately for weather conditions. It's also exposed her on a daily basis to many, many different people from all walks of life.

earthgirl 10-07-2008 05:39 PM

We're also car free. I'd say I walk about 95% of the time, I sometimes take the train/subway, and I only take the bus when I have to. When we went car free we got a BOB stroller b/c I needed something sturdy and something that would maneuver well in the snow and ice. DD (22 mos) likes her stroller, thankfully. I usually have a few books and she'll look at them until we get where we're going. (She's a future bibliophile!) We also sing, and point out stuff along the way. We are lucky b/c pretty much everything we need to get to, including our friends' houses, are within about 2 miles from us. We do grocery delivery for our staples b/c groceries + toddler + bus/ train is not so great. We have two markets/ healthfood stores within walking distance and that's where we get our produce, etc. Anyway, I think the key is living in a pedestrian friendly area. It makes all the difference in the world.

flapjack 10-07-2008 06:00 PM

We have one car, which goes to work 45 miles away each day. The kids and I use the bus for everything (groceries tend to get delivered) except when we walk, but my 2yo isn't a strong walker and she doesn't like the buggy. The furthest we tend to walk one-way is 2-3 miles- any more than that and too much of the day is taken up in travelling to actually get there.
Our bus service rocks, though. I can get anywhere in town on public transport, and we get an adult-and-kids day rider which will let me take the boys down to school and then the little ones and I can go a-gallivanting. Our record is 9 bus journeys in one day, but I'll beat that one day- we don't just stick around town, either, but sometimes get out into the countryside as well. Oh, and all of the buses around here have low-level floors so I can just wheel the buggy on.

calpurnia 10-08-2008 09:29 AM

That's us! We walk, bike, bus & get the tube everywhere. I love being able to live without a car - in fact I can't imagine living with a car, because I grew up in a one car household that my dad took off every morning 60 minutes away. We have a brilliant produce market 10 minutes walk away, where we do most of our food shopping, occasionally supplemented by a online shop to be delivered. None of our friends drive & all live somewhere within public transport links. DP bikes his commute. It just seems normal to us really, but then something like 70% of households in this city are carfree.

Actually, this would be the perfect place to ask my current question... My daughter really doesn't like the pram, which is fine for now 'cause I carry her everywhere in the Ergo (& I don't really like taking the pram on & off the tube, argh). But she's already 20lbs! I'm not going to be able to do this forever! Did any of your sling loving babes grow into liking the pram? Y'know, age one or two or something?

HarperRose 10-08-2008 01:07 PM

Well, after dh dropped off me, dd, and 11 mo old ds at school (I volunteer Wed mornings), I walked half a mile back home. It was quite pleasant! I would have liked to walk further, but had no reason to.

Oh, and I wore ds on my back while volunteering (library) but he sat in his stroller for the walk. I wear him when he needs me to, but put him in the stroller when I need to. He's 25 lbs.

tatermom 10-08-2008 01:24 PM

Wow, I'm so inspired by all of you! I've been wanting to get a bike seat or trailer and go car-free as many days as I can. I can't believe how far some of you walk on a regular basis!

Quote:
Originally Posted by calpurnia View Post
Actually, this would be the perfect place to ask my current question... My daughter really doesn't like the pram, which is fine for now 'cause I carry her everywhere in the Ergo (& I don't really like taking the pram on & off the tube, argh). But she's already 20lbs! I'm not going to be able to do this forever! Did any of your sling loving babes grow into liking the pram? Y'know, age one or two or something?
DS2 hated the stroller for the first 5 months or so, but now he loves it. The turning point seemed to be when he was old enough to sit up and look around, and also eat a snack off the tray, around 8 mos or so (he was a big eater from early on). Now he loves our strollers without a built in snack tray, too! Good thing, too, because he's always been a huge baby and I could never carry him long distances after the first few months!

earthgirl 10-08-2008 03:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by calpurnia View Post

Actually, this would be the perfect place to ask my current question... My daughter really doesn't like the pram, which is fine for now 'cause I carry her everywhere in the Ergo (& I don't really like taking the pram on & off the tube, argh). But she's already 20lbs! I'm not going to be able to do this forever! Did any of your sling loving babes grow into liking the pram? Y'know, age one or two or something?
DD really likes her stroller. But we didn't start using it regularly until she was close to 12 months. Also, she's a pretty mellow kid, so it may just be her go-with-the-flow personality.

AndrewsMother 10-08-2008 06:02 PM

Thanks for starting this tribe.

Before I married and moved to a semi rural area (not the burbs, but not the country) I walked EVERYWHERE or took the train. I walked just to walk. Once we moved I gained weight and relied on the car for EVERY trip. We moved to Houston last year and have shared a car since then. A car is needed in this city by all means. The public transportation system is awful and the weather humid.

I don't really ride the bus enough to be considred a true memeber of this tribe, but I definetly miss the lifestyle.

HarperRose 10-08-2008 10:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by piad View Post
Thanks for starting this tribe.

Before I married and moved to a semi rural area (not the burbs, but not the country) I walked EVERYWHERE or took the train. I walked just to walk. Once we moved I gained weight and relied on the car for EVERY trip. We moved to Houston last year and have shared a car since then. A car is needed in this city by all means. The public transportation system is awful and the weather humid.

I don't really ride the bus enough to be considred a true memeber of this tribe, but I definetly miss the lifestyle.
We're in San Antonio. It is not walk-friendly but we're making it work.

choli 10-08-2008 10:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justthatgirl View Post
Well, after dh dropped off me, dd, and 11 mo old ds at school (I volunteer Wed mornings), I walked half a mile back home. It was quite pleasant! I would have liked to walk further, but had no reason to.

You don't need a reason to walk! As well as walking 3 miles roundtrip to work, my family are big recreational walkers. Going for a walk beats going to the mall any day. We walk in town to window shop, walk along the river at the esplanade, walk to North End to sit in a cafe, walk to South End to go to the theater. Walk to Brookline for the hell of it, then walk back! I think it's so sad when people drive to the health club to walk or run on a treadmill. Life is right out there, walk into it! You'll be happier, healthier and have conversations that never would have taken place otherwise.

When I was a small kid, we lived in NY. My father loved to take us for walks. We used to walk over the George Washington Bridge a lot. He used to walk us till my little sisters were too tired to walk any more, then take the subway home. Happy memories.

Vancouver Mommy 10-08-2008 11:04 PM

This is me! I live in Vancouver, in a condo in the city (not downtown, but in the city). I lived without a car for 12 years and we only have one now because it is a perk of dp's job. We rarely drive it. I have a bus stop outside my door and we use the bus often. All our local buses are stroller accessible these days and my kids are great on public transit. My dd's favourite outing is a trip to Lonsdale Quay (bus, train AND the seabus). I have my groceries delivered by the local organic veggie/grocery dude and pick up the remainder of what I need at local markets.

We walk to playgroups, play gyms, farmers market and the park. We have a grocery store, dozens of restaurants and markets, pharmacy, movie theatre, community centre, bakery, butcher, library, coffee shop all within a few blocks of us. We used to belong to the car coop for the times we needed a vehicle. My longest walking day is Wednesday - we walk 16 blocks round trip to the playgroup then home for a nap, then 28 blocks round trip to the farmers market. In the evening I walk 10 blocks round trip to my yoga class.

I really believe in living locally and supporting local businesses. I buy my clothes and gifts in the neighbourhood and never go to the mall. We are also trying to get into a local housing coop. I know tons of moms in the neighbourhood and in the 3 years since dd was born have developed some wonderful friendships. I wouldn't move to the burbs for anything.

HarperRose 10-08-2008 11:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
You don't need a reason to walk!
OH, I know but the sidewalk ended! And any further would have been pizza hut, a gas station, some dance place & a spa, and then NOTHING for a mile. Not even a shoulder to walk on.

It's really irritating, actually. I think if I had more sidewalks I'd walk to more than just the school or grocery.

AndrewsMother 10-08-2008 11:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justthatgirl View Post
We're in San Antonio. It is not walk-friendly but we're making it work.
Hopefully DS will receive an acceptance to the school of our choice. If so we will plan on moving to a community near his school and the Market where we shop.
At the current time we live too far from my job and my schedule is NOT conducive to bus travel. I work 40 hours a week and attend school full time. I work in a suburban ghetto and there is no way that I will stand on a corner in that neighborhood at 8:00 at night. My husband works 10 miles from the closest bus stop and out son attends school in the opposite direction of our jobs. We spend the day criss crossing the city to get everyone where we need to be. Two nights out of the week DS and I go to Barnes and Noble until 10:30 and pick up DH at 10:45 before we head home.

Believe me, if I had a life that would allow me to spend less time driving, I would take full advantage. So until my day comes I have my fond memories of riding public transport.

HarperRose 10-09-2008 12:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by piad View Post
Hopefully DS will receive an acceptance to the school of our choice. If so we will plan on moving to a community near his school and the Market where we shop.
At the current time we live too far from my job and my schedule is NOT conducive to bus travel. I work 40 hours a week and attend school full time. I work in a suburban ghetto and there is no way that I will stand on a corner in that neighborhood at 8:00 at night. My husband works 10 miles from the closest bus stop and out son attends school in the opposite direction of our jobs. We spend the day criss crossing the city to get everyone where we need to be. Two nights out of the week DS and I go to Barnes and Noble until 10:30 and pick up DH at 10:45 before we head home.

Believe me, if I had a life that would allow me to spend less time driving, I would take full advantage. So until my day comes I have my fond memories of riding public transport.

Oh my goodness. Yeah, you gotta do what you gotta do.

We criss-cross the city, as well, often! Some things we just HAVE to have a car for! Church, chiropractor, work, groceries (if we have to go to WF, otherwise HEB is down the street), the gym, etc. All of that stuff is 5 miles away or further (chiro is about 20 mi away, still in the same city) and if we walked, it would be back roads, making it even farther than 20 mi.

Fortunately, the main stuff we need is right close (School, dentist, groceries) as well as Starbucks and several fast food restaurants.

I'd like to try the bus system, but it makes me nervous to travel w/o dh and w/o knowing how it all works. I've tried to figure it out so the kids and I could get to the gym somehow, but it's way too confusing and would take an hour and a half??? It doesn't seem right. Even an experienced bus-riding friend of mine says it shouldn't take that long. She'd ride all over the city! I should enlist her help.

oyinmama 10-09-2008 02:02 AM

hi mamas! it's been nice to read these stories. my perspective is a little bit different because dh and i just got our first car last december. ok full disclosure. we just got our first LICENSES last december. i was 31, he was 33, and i was 5 months pregnant, which is the main reason we did it. (it was hard to imagine bringing our newborn home on the backs of our bikes ) we have lived in brooklyn and long island and were very used to walking 1, 2, 3 miles or more at a time, taking lots of public transport and taxis, and riding our bikes all over the place. we live in baltimore now and the public transport systems are a touch frustrating for spoiled carfree new yorkers. our neighborhood was a dream though - our house is 1 mile away from the following amenities: a huge grocery store (although we did delivery for weekly stockups), a wonderful indoor gourmet market (veggies, soup/bakery/cafe, sushi bar, flower shop, italian specialty, wine bar!), four drug stores, a staples, a fabulous historic art deco movie theater, nice boutique shopping, and a bus line that takes us out of the city to a mall, and into the city right past a saturday farmer's market and the Y. we were here two solid years before we got [our first] car: did lots of amazon.com and catalog shopping for household or large scale things like our push mower or rugs. we worked out of our home. it was a wonderful area in which to be stranded. we love it here and lots of the local merchants know us well. it's nice to feel such an intrinsic part of the neighborhood in which you live.

in 6 months flat, everything changed: we moved the business out of our house, had our wonderful baby, and now commute every day. ok, it's a 15 minute commute but it's a commute nonetheless and our lifestyle has TOTALLY switched away from our beloved home-centeredness. but there are many things about it that are utterly amazing - we are learning more about the city, and i have been enjoying slowly expanding my experience of it as our sphere of comfort widens. for instance: we joined that Y we were always biking past, and will be taking the baby to swimming classes this winter.

east carolina 10-09-2008 06:24 AM

I live in a city with AWESOME public transport. We have trams, metro and buses and the city is expanding the lines instead of closing them. Also, train lines aften connect the various train stations of the city, so it's really easy to get around without a car here.

We live in the urban center, and parking is for permit holders only. Prices of gas and insurance, as well as just plain the price of a car is something that our family simply cannot afford. Nor do we want to considering where we live.

I SAHM, and I have three parks and playgrounds within walking distance. Grocery stores, convenience stores, markets are all easy to get to, I usually get a little something depending on what we did that day because lugging multiple heavy grocery bags is a PITA. DH also does grocery runs on his way home from work.

My DH commutes all over the city for work (he's an English teacher for a private language school). He often teaches people at their workplace and so far he's always figured out a way to get where he needs to with public transport. Cars just aren't part of our paradigm.

Of course, we only have one DC and we do talk about moving out of the center where the air is cleaner, and depending on that, we would have to reevaluate the car situation. But bus and train services from the suburbs is really excellent, so I doubt a car is in our near or distant future.

It's been great reading your stories. Being car free has been really great for us! But I think European metropolises are different, so maybe we've had it easy.

calpurnia 10-09-2008 07:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by east carolina View Post
It's been great reading your stories. Being car free has been really great for us! But I think European metropolises are different, so maybe we've had it easy.
Yeah. I can't imagine not being able to walk because the sidewalk ends. Although obviously I'd say pavement.

knittinanny 10-09-2008 07:26 AM

: This is us, too! We live in London now where the public transport/walking/cycling system is pretty good, but we were car-free for several years in Atlanta before moving here. We're starting to TTC in March and we have no plans to buy a car (or get UK drivers' licenses even). We are probably going to buy a Christiana or Bakfiets bike though.

I would like for our lives to be more 'home-centered' but right now I work across town, so I cycle 8.5 miles each way daily. Our favorite HFS is about 10 miles from our house, and we cycle there once a month and stock up on things.

earthgirl 10-09-2008 02:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justthatgirl View Post
We're in San Antonio. It is not walk-friendly but we're making it work.
I feel for you. I'm originally from Dallas. I don't think there's a town in Texas that is pedestrian friendly. Even Austin's not that great about it. You get major points for trying this in such a car friendly area!

HarperRose 10-09-2008 03:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthgirl View Post
I feel for you. I'm originally from Dallas. I don't think there's a town in Texas that is pedestrian friendly. Even Austin's not that great about it. You get major points for trying this in such a car friendly area!
Thanks!

It's just too dangerous and scary to walk w/o a sidewalk. And I think the lack of sidewalk is really stupid. If we lived downtown we'd have plenty of sidewalks, but we're on the edge of the city, where, I guess, they assume we all drive.

AndrewsMother 10-10-2008 09:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justthatgirl View Post
Thanks!

It's just too dangerous and scary to walk w/o a sidewalk. And I think the lack of sidewalk is really stupid. If we lived downtown we'd have plenty of sidewalks, but we're on the edge of the city, where, I guess, they assume we all drive.
Side walks in Texas? So that you walkers can reduce the amount of fuel purchased and out of the states coffers? Why anyone want something as ridiculous as sidewalks in their neigborhood?

mimim 10-10-2008 09:17 AM

No car for me. I've never even had a driver's license. I've lived in very walkable neighborhoods with easy public transportation access my whole life.

I can walk to the grocery store, schools, work, book store, yoga studio, toy store, restaurants, etc. There is a train line less than a 1/2 mile away that goes straight downtown and 5 bus lines that go all over the city even closer. I use my bicycle (and kiddie trailer) most of the time to get places that are farther than a mile or two.

I give tons of credit to families who live without a car in areas that aren't so friendly to human powered transportation.

Channelle 10-11-2008 11:45 AM

No car for me either, it is all busses, walking, and if I have to taxi's. I don't have a license. My partner does, but we just don't own a car. The bus system here is really bad though! I used to live in a larger city, and just got used to the good bus system. The busses here only run every hour and a half, they don't start until 10 AM, and they stop at 5 PM. They also don't travel to very many places in the city, only through the middle main streets. To get to work, we have to leave 2 hours early, catch one bus that drops us off at the downtown bus station, where all the busses leave from. Then we get another bus that drops us off about halfway to our work, and then we catch another bus that drops us off about 3-4 blocks from our work, where we walk the rest of the way! Whew!

east carolina 10-11-2008 01:29 PM

Hey Texas mamas! You rock for making car free work for you!

Some of the sidewalks here are in really bad shape and some kind of stop and start, but really, most streets and side streets have plenty of sidewalk space no matter where you are in the city. What we do have is crazy motorists. Since the car explosion here, people think that now that they can afford (or not) fast cars, they can tear through the city going 100 miles an hour. Crossing busy streets can be kinda scary sometimes and the number of pedestrian deaths each year is really sad. But it's still more dangerous to drive.

That's another benefit of being car-free, cutting down on your chances of being in a car accident. Okay, I hope I don't kill the thread with this gloomy talk


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