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  1. #1
    Junior Member KimberlyL's Avatar
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    If you use transit, how far do you walk to get to it?

    So this is the required "thinking about car lite" post. midwestern smallish town suburb mom of two little kids. Thinking of getting rid of one car. Hubby drives 50 miles one way commute, so have to have at least the one, although he's working up an argument for telecommuting. But that's another post. We're out of the main part of town, so no public transit here per se, but the closest bus stop that is IN town is about 2 miles away. How feasible is it to walk there with a 5 year old and an 8 year old to catch the bus if weather would prevent us from riding our bikes on in to where we need to go? How long would you all imagine this might take? I know, we probably need to do a dry run just to see, and we will do that, but am curious for those of you car free if you walk to get to a transit stop, how far is reasonable, especially if you have kids.

    Thanks so much!
    Kim

  2. #2
    Dare to be weird!
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimberlyL View Post
    How feasible is it to walk there with a 5 year old and an 8 year old to catch the bus if weather would prevent us from riding our bikes on in to where we need to go? How long would you all imagine this might take?
    I used to take my kids out walking all the time. I think an 8 year old can probably walk two miles if he/she is used to walking. I'm not so sure about a 5 year old. I'd figure about a 2 mph pace for a typical 8 year old, remember they have to take twice as many steps as an adult for the same distance.

    The key is to walk with them on a regular basis. Make it a pleasant experience, never to the point of pain, part of daily life if possible. Point out interesting things. Stop and let them play where it's appropriate. They will remember it.

    Some kind of push cart for them to ride on when they get tired might be nice, too.

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    Apartment in LA was across the street and then one block. Apartment here in Madison is across the street and then one block. If I'm taking transit it's because I'm sick, the trip is longer than I can bike (currently, 30 or more miles in a day hits the too long button), or the weather is bad enough that I want a professional handling the roads. I would not be able to resist cars very well without the bus being close enough to bail me out.

    If I'm slogging through snow with a load of groceries, a 4 mile walk is *long*. Even if the kids can handle it, I'd be pretty tired. Last winter, grocery trips in snow were a sure way to make sure I had a good 1-2 hour nap. Carrying a 40lb backpack through a foot or so of snow or on a sidewalk ice sheet takes more energy than you might think... and with a family of 4 it'll be needed fairly often. If you'll only ever be going to the bus stop unloaded and coming back unloaded, it might work better.

    Some situations really do call for a car. Depending on why you need to get to the bus, you might be in one of 'em.

  4. #4
    uke
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    Back in college, I rarely took the train, but when I did, it was a 20-minute walk from my dorm. At the end of each semester, I'd make the trip while carrying stuff home for the winter, and the excitement of going home was enough to get me there. But it was a bother to make the trip, and the distance was part of why I quit a job that required me to walk there and back (40 minute round trip).

    In your case, I wouldn't recommend walking for 2 miles with children. As Torrilin said above, some situations do call for a car, and you shouldn't push yourself to be car-free/lite if it would put your kids under duress. I'd say any walk with children should be no longer in minutes than the child's age in years, if said child will have to walk under his or her own power.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    Back in college, I rarely took the train, but when I did, it was a 20-minute walk from my dorm. At the end of each semester, I'd make the trip while carrying stuff home for the winter, and the excitement of going home was enough to get me there. But it was a bother to make the trip, and the distance was part of why I quit a job that required me to walk there and back (40 minute round trip).
    20 minutes? Come on! Does that even qualify as a walk? I hope you are being ironic here, making fun of Americans inability to walk even the shortest of distances. We used to live 2 km or so from the metro, and my 75 year old grandmother walked that distance and back about 3 days a week, with a cane. A good sized portion of the neighbourhood walked that distance everyday to take the metro to work, and this was in one of the poshest areas in Sweden.

  6. #6
    Steel snob by accident iwegian's Avatar
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    don't want to hijack, but can you bring your bike on the bus?

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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    I'd say any walk with children should be no longer in minutes than the child's age in years, if said child will have to walk under his or her own power.
    Then at 2 mph an 8 year old could be expected to walk about one and a half blocks from home and back. I'm disappointed to hear that this is the current rule of thumb. Why when I was a kid ... hmm, I'd better stop there, I'm showing my age.

    Edit to add: The following link cites a legal definition of walking distance for children in the UK (not the US!) as follows:

    Walking distance is defined in law as up to 2 miles for children under 8 years of age and up to 3 miles for older children. It is always assumed that a child will be accompanied as necessary.
    http://www.cs.herefordshire.gov.uk/p...D=68&GRP_ID=15
    Last edited by Platy; 08-07-08 at 04:01 PM. Reason: Add more information

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    From home:1 mile to light rail and about a 1/2 mile to bus.
    From Work: I work at the corner of a transport hub for bus and rail -so I have it made for now.
    I love to commute and ride. Keeping a positive focus.

    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...UFk/weight.png

  9. #9
    Peace, Love, Bikes
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    in about a month, 300-400 ft.
    Andrew

    Life On Two Wheels

    Car free, one day at a time...

  10. #10
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Is the transit system where you live worth the walk? I mean, if you walk two miles with the kids to the transit stop, then wait for a bus in a system with limited service, it might be more trouble than it's worth.

    Where I live, the transit is pretty easy and convenient. I can catch the bus to work at the stop across the street, and arrive at work 20 minutes after the bus picks me up. If I need to go other places, there's a transit center two blocks from my house, with buses that go pretty much everywhere in the region. (I almost always just use the bike, though, because it's way more fun, and then I don't have to adjust my schedule to when the buses run.)
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  11. #11
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimberlyL View Post
    So this is the required "thinking about car lite" post. midwestern smallish town suburb mom of two little kids. Thinking of getting rid of one car. Hubby drives 50 miles one way commute, so have to have at least the one, although he's working up an argument for telecommuting. But that's another post. We're out of the main part of town, so no public transit here per se, but the closest bus stop that is IN town is about 2 miles away. How feasible is it to walk there with a 5 year old and an 8 year old to catch the bus if weather would prevent us from riding our bikes on in to where we need to go? How long would you all imagine this might take? I know, we probably need to do a dry run just to see, and we will do that, but am curious for those of you car free if you walk to get to a transit stop, how far is reasonable, especially if you have kids.

    Thanks so much!
    Kim
    You should approach it with a spirit of adventure. Get the kids geared up for a 2-mile hike to the bus stop, pack a lunch, leave early, stop to play on the way... turn the whole thing into an outing.

    Then.. when you've done the trip, try to evaluate how do-able it is... even, as Bragi suggests, is the bus worth the effort?

    I guess I have no idea if this is do-able. But I did walk similar distances with my children when they were under 10 years old. I just remember if any of them were as young as 5.

    Still, I don't think you'll ever know how do-able it is until you give it a try.

  12. #12
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    Maybe the kids could use skates, Razr type scooters, those shoes with little wheels in the sole...?

  13. #13
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    +1 on the "Adventure" test. Mine is a little different situation, but to get time with my kids and give them some exercise I walk with them pre-dawn. We've been doing three miles 3 - 4 days a week for years now (3.5 mile trail on Saturday). My youngest is 13 and started with us when her older siblings started cross-country. When we pay attention we go 4+ mph. Now this is without bagage (unless you count the dogs), so 3 to 3.5 might be a good guestimate. It's great time to talk with the kids -- we've only done a few walks in silence out of hundreds of others where the walk was shorter than the conversation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimberlyL View Post
    How feasible is it to walk there with a 5 year old and an 8 year old to catch the bus if weather would prevent us from riding our bikes on in to where we need to go? How long would you all imagine this might take? I know, we probably need to do a dry run just to see, and we will do that, but am curious for those of you car free if you walk to get to a transit stop, how far is reasonable, especially if you have kids.

    Thanks so much!
    Kim
    Kim

    All you really need is a folding baby buggy for two! I see loads of women in the malls with the Maclaren strollers all the time. They bring these dual buggys on the train, lightrail and bus. In fact, half the time, the kids want walk instead of being carted around. They're a little expensive but you'll recover the costs in two months from not driving.

    It's highly doable but I think it's more important that you learn how to use a bus schedule. Most bus schedules are online today and you should plan to reach the bus stop at least 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I would give the trip about an hour walking so that you have time to fold the buggy at the stop. Also, get the plastic cover in case it rains.

    Heck! With the Instep buggy, you can run to the bus stop!

    The bus will allow the Maclaren stroller by law. In fact, the stroller is easier to get inside the bus than a folding bike!

    http://www.strollers.com/csn-product...FQiNHgodBB1Drg
    Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 08-07-08 at 09:10 PM.

  15. #15
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    My family is car free. We've been doing it from the get go, so we bought a home that is a five minute walk to the bus stop and near a bike path as well. The kids (5 and 8) have been car free their whole lives so walking to them is just something we do. Two miles is doable with kids, especially if you make it enjoyable. We tend to talk and play games along the way when we are walking. It passes the time more pleasantly. I would guess that 2 miles would take 50-60 minutes at a stroll. If your kids are into racing each other, you can get there faster.

    Also is there a place to lock your bikes near the bus stop, so that you could bike part way and bus the remainder. Walking in inclement weather isn't much more enjoyable than biking in inclement weather for me.

  16. #16
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uke View Post
    I'd say any walk with children should be no longer in minutes than the child's age in years, if said child will have to walk under his or her own power.
    What was that child obesity epidemic thing I keep hearing about?
    Stomping as lightly as I can...

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    I have a 19 month old and a four year old. While both of them are very capable of walking 2 miles (we frequently go for long walks), we have to go at a slow pace or be very frustrated. This pace would not work well for me to make the bus schedule work out well. We would also have to do battle with appointments...dentist, checkups, playdates, it would be hard to get to those things at the correct time, without being extremely early. In my area there are less than hourly stops in most places. I don't know many 5-8 years olds that could handle a long walk, ride the bus, walk to the location you are going, wait, then repeat.


    My four year old doesn't like to ride in the stroller, so I highly doubt you will be able to get your children in one, plus I would bet they are too big.

    My final reason for not using our bus system is that in this area, there are a high rate of people using the bus system who have been in jail for violent crimes and around here those people have a hard time getting jobs and thus cars. Could I manage the whole bus thing with my kids and groceries? Probably, but I feel it is a safety issue for me. Being a short mama with two little kids would make me an easy target and as much as I like to play tough, I know that most adult males could out-muscle me without much effort.

    I live in a rural area and while the bus system doesn't work for me, there are many things that are nice and make it worthwhile. I keep goats and chickens in my backyard. Grow as much organic produce as I can. Use cloth diapers on my babies and proudly hang them to dry on my chain link fence for all my neighbors to see. I make goat milk yogurt from my goats milk and give it to my neighbors. So I am doing my little part to keep God's great earth "green."

  18. #18
    Junior Member KimberlyL's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses guys! My kids are used to walking, and I guess I know they can walk 2 miles. My concerns though are basically that we would ONLY do this if we couldn't bike, which would mean if the roads were covered with snow/ice or it was thunderstorming out or something, which in turn would mean it would be even harder to walk. And also, how long it would take to get there. I don't think taking the bikes on the bus will work for us, because the website says no bikes inside the bus, no bike rack from 12/1 to 4/1, which is most likely when this scenario would arise and when there are bike racks, they only hold two bikes, and we would have two and a half with the TAB.

    Also, we're not going to go car free. At least not at this point in our lives. I love the idea of getting rid of one of them though, and just being a one car family. With both parents working, and both often travelling for work, this could be a challenge! So I suppose if the riding situation were terrible out we could always have whichever of us has the car drive to school/daycare that day or at least drive the two miles to the bus stop. Just trying to figure out all the logistics. Both cars now are paid off, so at least have no payments, but the other costs are there, financial/environmental and otherwise.

    Next time we move I'm going to be certain we're on a bus line and close to the bike path and whatever other things we can get near without needing a car, but moving for us is out of the cards for at least another couple of years. I was until recently in a place where having the bigger/better/fancier everything was what I thought was important. The past year have brought a lot of changes in my life, and car lite is one I'd really like to implement...

    Thanks!
    Kim

  19. #19
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    As an aside, kids often skip. Skipping was researched; it is an instinctive gait that in bipeds of human shape below a certain weight (I think #120 pounds or so) allows for a higher speed with more efficiency than walking fast would allow for. The thought was that in the ultra-olden days, when tribes of people would migrate, the kids would keep up by skipping.
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimberlyL View Post
    So this is the required "thinking about car lite" post. midwestern smallish town suburb mom of two little kids. Thinking of getting rid of one car. ... The closest bus stop that is IN town is about 2 miles away. How feasible is it to walk there with a 5 year old and an 8 year old to catch the bus if weather would prevent us from riding our bikes on in to where we need to go? ...


    Almost anything can be reasonable, providing they get into it gradually. I have walked to and from church (6.5 km away) with my daughters quite a few times. When the youngest one was 5 or 6, she was able to walk the whole distance, but it worked better if I carried her on my shoulders for a few blocks at some point. In other words, she didn't walk the whole 6.5 km time two, but rather four times 2.5-3 km. At that time, my oldest one, who is four years older, had no problems walking the entire distance, except she resented if I carried her younger sibling but not her. Speed wise, I walk at 6 km/h and my oldest daughter has kept up with me ever since she turned 10; my youngest one walks at 3.5-4 km/h.

    Another issue to consider is that walking the child with heavy boots and winter garnments is quite another story.

    Two other points:

    1. If your husband can get a partial telecommute, you might do your shopping on days you have the car.

    2. If you plan on riding a lot, you may invest in a three-seater bike. It's expensive, but less than a car!
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  21. #21
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I remember walking many places with my mother from a very young age, and also taking the bus with her, as my father drove the only car to work. This was a lot of fun. Sometimes I got tired, but that's OK. Getting tired is good for people, young and old.

    I don't see walking the 2 miles as a problem. The notion that children can only walk for 5 or 8 minutes is absurd--even by internet forum standards.

    However, walking the 2 miles in heavy rain or snow could be a problem. I would worry most about visibility, and about having a clear walking surface in winter. Do you have sidewalks to walk on? Are they cleared in the winter? If not, the city needs to put those in for you, although that will cost you and your neighbors some money.

    You should try calling the bus company about extending the line for 2 miles. It would help if you have a neighborhood group to help you put some pressure on them to extend the line. Also, try asking neighbors if they would sign a petition indicating their interest in riding the bus. Unfortunately, this is a difficult time for many transit companies due th high fuel prices. Too bad you didn't try to get the line extended a year or two ago.

    Other things to think about would be taking a cab to the bus stop, or arranging some kind of car sharing with a neighbor.


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