Walking up the hill to a preschool meet-and-greet this morning we witnessed the first of the season’s auto laziness in bloom — the lady with the mercedes who lives on 29th but drives to the school on 34th (and she actually parked on 33rd… meaning she drove FOUR blocks) was apparently all geared up for another school year via car.
We watched an endless auto parade all last year. At a time of global warming, high gas prices, traffic from hell, peak oil, and a childhood obesity epidemic it’s beyond me how people justify driving their kids less than a half mile to school.
Mostly we observed and kept our mouths shut, but still heard plenty of excuses: “I have somewhere to go after this” or “my kids don’t like to walk” or “it’s raining,” or… (insert excuse of the day).
I think people are guilted into confessing something when they see non-driver out there day after day (oddly enough, nice days inspire the most excuses). I’ll admit some reasons are valid — I’ve been there myself. But when you see the same people loading their kids into the car every day as you walk by their house, see them at drop-off, and then see them pull up at home as you walk by toward your house five blocks further from school, you just have to call bullsh!t.
So duly inspired by the first day of school tomorrow I decided to create a group on Facebook called: “Hey Seattle: Park that damn SUV and take your kids to school on a bike.” I have no expectations for this group. Mostly it’s an outlet for me one step above screaming “get out of your car, a**hole!”
Luckily Anne has talked about beginning a campaign at our local elementary (Bryant, near Seattle’s University District) to see if we can get some more locals to park and walk or bike. I’m sure her methods will be less polarizing, more inviting (can you believe she vetoed my slogan idea: “One less fat kid: Bike to school.”), and ultimately more successful. For now, though, this is all I’ve got.
How about you? Wanna walk or ride to school tomorrow?
Nice blog concept, I saw a comment on bike hugger and discovered your blog.
Have you heard about a walking school bus or the Safe Routes to School program? The walking school bus is just that, a group of kids walking to school together with an adult “driver” responsible for picking up kids at their home and accompanying them to school and back safely. The Safe Route to School program is an initiative to provide safe routes to school via foot or bicycle. The walking school bus idea might be apart of the SRS program. Might be some good info to present to your school.
Good luck in your efforts and keep on cycling!
Thanks Dan. I have heard of walking school buses (cool idea), but I hadn’t heard of the Safe Routes to School program.
Both seem like they’d be reasonable options — especially since all of these people are driving anyway. There should be no shortage of supervising adults.
I’ll do some checking into it (actually, Anne will probably be doing that. I’m mostly in charge of complaining! 😉
Check with your local bicycling organization about SRS. I know in my home state the Iowa Bicycle Coalition (statewide org) is hiring for a SRS director, so it might be worth checking it out to see if they have prepared info to present to the school.
BTW, there is a great article about a group of 10 year old kids biking to school in my local rag today. Here’s a nice quote: “The boys love it, but I think it may actually be doing something positive outside of their circle,” said Coaldrake, a member of the school board. “I was at a gathering and a mom came up to me and said, ‘I had to fight my daughter to wear a helmet before, but now she says that all those fifth-graders who ride to school together wear theirs, so she puts it on.’ Des Moines Register article
That’s great. Let’s use peer pressure in a positive manner! BTW, we had a great first two days of school on the xtracycle. I’ll get a post up on it tonight!