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Thread: No Car, no Kids

  1. #1
    Davidson Fixed
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    No Car, no Kids

    I'd like to see how many people in this group are car-free and have kids. Also, a lot of posts I see are in the northern climates where profuse sweating is not a problem. But here in Austin, it's HOT in August. I still ride my bike to work, but I also have a truck I use. Living with kids, I can't see a way to live without a car. I can bike them to work, but other issues, such as music lessons, etc, would be impossible without a car.

    I commend all of you who are car free. Seriously. It must feel really good.

  2. #2
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    How old are your kids? How far away are music lessons?

  3. #3
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    it's great living without a car, even better living without kids

    sorry couldn't resist. i agree with you -- but it's choosing the neigbhorhood that makes it or breaks it.

    downtown denver (congress park) where i live there's a decent amount of couples with kids, the elementary schools are nearby, high school is close, and shopping is close by (cherry creek mall is near, grocery stores, etc). also easy access to hospitals, doctors, good bus routes and cab services - and close to recreation, i.e. stadiums, many parks, etc, and can alway rent a car to go to the mountains.

    living in a planned community or burbs i think it would be VERY difficult, just due to the sheer distance. walking across the parking lot of a shopping center or big box area of retailers is the equivalent to walking from my house to my grocery store, .8 miles away

    but of course to have the semi urban lifestyle i have you need the money, a house costs lots more in near a park in a good gentrified neigbhorhood than it does in the burbs, or new communities

    my solution? cities are realizing car-free has advantages. Bel-Mar in Lakewood, Stapleton in Denver (both in Denver), are suburban developments that encourage porches, walking, have stores and shopping nearby, so a car within that environment isn't always needed. Where as Cul-de-Sac ville it's almost ALWAYS needed, otherwise you're walking thru culverts, ditches, etc, just to get to a store you can see.

    my solution? Try going SEMI car free. of course a car is needed for those far awawy baseball games or ski trips - but if you can, do your errands by bike. - video store, dry cleaners, see how much time you save by not going from huge parking lot to parking lot, and waiting at enormous intersections

    my 2 cents

  4. #4
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    oh my 3rd cent - if you have two cars: SELL ONE CAR

    this is a PERFECT way to enjoy savings of insurance, car payments, gas, but keep the convenience of a car if needed. takes a little planning and logistics, but it can be done.

    my significant other and i share a car, i bike to work and am mostly car free, but use our car if needed. (snowy night, weekend getaways). once a month or so there might be a conflict where we both need a car, but i'll just rent one for the day

    selling ONE car has been the best financial decision we've ever made, debts are paid, and the vacation fund filling up.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by plarson
    I'd like to see how many people in this group are car-free and have kids. Also, a lot of posts I see are in the northern climates where profuse sweating is not a problem. But here in Austin, it's HOT in August. I still ride my bike to work, but I also have a truck I use. Living with kids, I can't see a way to live without a car. I can bike them to work, but other issues, such as music lessons, etc, would be impossible without a car.

    I commend all of you who are car free. Seriously. It must feel really good.
    My girlfriend adopted a baby a few years ago and still says she'll get a car but hasn't yet. In the kid's pre-school is a carfree couple with two children. Another couple in our apartment building has one kid in elementary school and no car. Another single mom in the building raised a son without a car. My girlfriend seems to find gymnastics, swimming, pre-school, regular school next week, ballet later this fall, doctor visits, kids theater programs, concerts, library story telling, all without a car. We've had hot and humid again this summer and we get snow in the winter. Yesterday she took the kid on the bike to playgroup in the morning, lunch visit out in the suburbs, swimming halfway back home, then an evening party. I don't see how a car would enhance the kids life. In the winter she uses one of those clear plastic stroller covers to protect the kid from the snow and rain in the bike seat. She also wraps a wool blanket in addition to the snowsuit since the kid isn't exercising back there. When I pick the kid up from pre-school there is usually another bike there. Parents are busy so they don't get on internet bike forums much, they're over on the "Urban Mom" forum for their city if anything because that is their focus. My girlfriend, for example has disconnected from her home internet since adopting, she's too busy out doing stuff with the kid.

  6. #6
    Dare to be weird!
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    We've built cities where music teachers can no longer simply set aside their parlors, put a sign in their yard, and give lessons. Even if they did, our cities no longer support the idea that kids should be able to get around safely by themselves in their own neighborhoods. The main reason all this happened is that we as a society designed everything exclusively for automobiles. Some of us here want to rethink that decision.

  7. #7
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy
    We've built cities where music teachers can no longer simply set aside their parlors, put a sign in their yard, and give lessons. Even if they did, our cities no longer support the idea that kids should be able to get around safely by themselves in their own neighborhoods. The main reason all this happened is that we as a society designed everything exclusively for automobiles. Some of us here want to rethink that decision.
    if they did put a sign in their front yard their HOA would make the take it down or sue them.

  8. #8
    winter is comming BenyBen's Avatar
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    Well I recently found out that I will be a daddy.

    Since I've been carfree way before, I always chose locations that are close to public transit, health care, grocerie store. And there is a school less then 2 minutes walk away.

    Perhaps the new kid will make me rethink the car-free thing, but we both don't want to deal with the additional stresses and time constraint that the car creates. Besides I'd rather invest the money I'd spend on a car to buy the necessaries for the baby.

  9. #9
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    No car and a 3-year old here. Wife has no license, even.

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    When I was little my dad drove off to work each day leaving Mom and us kids with no car, there were no problems. Everything was walking distance, or accessable by bus. Karate lessons? Up at the school, walking distance. Scouts? Ukulele lessons? Guiter lessons? Bluebirds? PTA meetings? All walkable, the "rec" center the oldest of us went to was a bus ride I think, I'm not sure where it was, the rest of us had plenty of places to do our "rec" stuff.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by plarson
    Also, a lot of posts I see are in the northern climates where profuse sweating is not a problem. But here in Austin, it's HOT in August.
    On the profuse sweating thing, I live in a climate that is hot nine months of the year, and humid virtually all the time. I deal with it by spraying some extra deodorant when required. I don't even use the shower I have at work.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  12. #12
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    I have nephews I care for, which makes it more difficult to do stuff without a car, but they're getting used to walking. They complained a lot in the beginning, but now they don't mind our walks.

    Koffee

  13. #13
    Senior Member zoogirl's Avatar
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    We had no car until the boys were seven and nine and it's just died so we're totally car-free again. We've only got the one at home now, though. He's sixteen.

    I really don't mind car-free. My licence expired years ago and I don't plan to replace it. Hubby mostly only used it for groceries and laundry. He's between jobs right now, but looking locally. My job is a short ride or a fair walk. The kid gets picked up for work and isn't planning on returning to school, which is probably the best option at the moment. He's dyslexic and gone about as far with school as he can handle. The frustration vs continued learning balance has been reached. Besides, he's actually improved his reading skills on his own this year, far beyond the point he'd reached in the classroom. But I digress...

    When the boys were little, I simply walked and strollered them everywhere. The few places that I couldn't walk to were easily accessed by transit. Now Josh sometimes rides with me while my husband either walks or busses it. For large item or major grocery shopping or laundry, we simply take a cab. It's only about five bucks. For things like going to the church retreat, I just catch a ride with someone.

    Today, since I was off, I figured I'd check out the stores up around Kingsway and Boundry, on the Burnaby/Vancouver border. I live in Whalley. I went on the Triumph.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    zoogirl,

    We are car-free for the most part and I also have a sixteen yr old living at home.

    Our car got totalled back in March but is still drivable. The license tags just expired but we can't renew them unless we get the exhaust fixed so it can pass E-check (ran over a big log in the road last winter and tore up the pipe). I'm trying not to put money into a car that is wrecked.

    I "escorted" the wife to the doctor this morning. We rode our bikes. Haven't driven the car since Thurs. and won't drive it until next Thurs. Our credit union is about the only place that's a real pain to get to, but we're working on that!
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  15. #15
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    Not a parent, but I know in many reasonably designed cities with effective public transit, a very large number of people were practically car free until just these last few decades. My mom's family in NYC got a car but still barely ever drove, and she never got her license until she moved out of the city to Virginia, land of suburban sprawl.

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    I am a single parent with a 3 year old, and it is not really possible to go car free. I have been trying to figure out how I could, but there are too many problems. Her doctor is 15 miles away for starters. I work at different job sites around the city, starting at 7 am. Her daycare is 5 miles the opposite direction from any jobsite. I would have to leave the house at 4am to get to work on time. I also wouldn't get home until 6pm, and that's just too long away from my baby for me.

    I suppose if I lived downtown (instead of just outside the city, not quite suburbs) and work, daycare, school, and doctor were all within 2-3 miles it would be no problem. As it stands, I don't see how I would be able to do it.

  17. #17
    Former Adrenaline Junkie Wuneyeddog's Avatar
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    My biggest prohibition to being car free is my wife. She has no bicycle and hasn't ridden one in years. I'm trying to find the cash to buy her one and get her into it. I just had to replace my stolen bicycle, though, so we just spent all of our free cash. I would go without a car in a heartbeat right now (despite the 30-mile commute), but I can't do it to her.
    Without order nothing can exist - without chaos nothing can evolve -- Anonymous

  18. #18
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    You must really love your wife to put up with her car addiction. Seriously, my elderly parents can't drive anymore, I hate cars (except for tiny, compact European models) and the cost of gas and maintanance furthers my resolve against car ownership.

    I would not be too hard on your wife's choice of transportation. She might feel trapped like many here in this forum maintaining these overpriced and overbearing modes of transport. The best way of encouraging her in riding a bike is to keep and ride yours all the time it is practical. When she is ready, purchase a used one if available (that's what I did) and help her get started. Then purchase a new one that will suit her needs and keep her old one for a beater. You should keep at least 2 bikes-a beater and a good one-for your own transportation needs.

  19. #19
    Fatties Fit Fine carless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy
    We've built cities where music teachers can no longer simply set aside their parlors, put a sign in their yard, and give lessons. Even if they did, our cities no longer support the idea that kids should be able to get around safely by themselves in their own neighborhoods. The main reason all this happened is that we as a society designed everything exclusively for automobiles. Some of us here want to rethink that decision.
    http://www.kunstler.com/
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  20. #20
    carfree
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    I have two kids (grade school age). School is a six mile commute by bus for them. I do all the shopping (and chair the "make shopping lists" meetings) and transport the stuff home on the trailer while my wifette and the kids take the bus. A/C is for the weak.
    We don't live in the "white-flight" part of Tucson, that's for the rich. From where I live there are three markets within a 2 mile radius and despite the crappy hours, when the bus does run it's one of the best in the country. Of course Tucson is an almost text-book example of a car-only town that's slowly expanding to fill all available space. What I've noticed are the leapfrogging developments are growing strip-malls, schools, and other infrastructure. So in some instances, being rural to Tucson may not be as harsh as it was even 10 years ago.

    Rural and bikefree can a harsh existence. Even in other countries rural folk tend to have vehicles whereas people who live in the cities use bicycles. My employer, who's been to Holland on several occasions, tells me stories about seeing people riding their bicycles with their kids standing on the back-rack and holding onto their parent's shoulders.

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