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Question for those who don't usually walk (or cycle) to school

(67 Posts)
zebraZ Wed 15-Jun-05 11:39:56

Not to make anyone defensive, am genuinely curious. I live 12-15 min. walk to school and almost all of my neighbours drive it, most of the time. We are trying to encourage more parents to walk to our local school, and since they don't answer surveys, perhaps you gals will!!

Why not? What, if anything, would encourage you to walk more often?

TwinSetAndPearls Wed 15-Jun-05 11:45:36

I walk with dd and we enjoy it ( aboiut 15 minute walk) but I don't have a car so it is not the noble act it seems. At times it is stressful getting out of the house on time as everything seems to go wrong at the last minute so we are then rushing about, if we drove would have another ten minutes. Although i think we would still have the last minute chaos just ten minutes later.

If the weather is horrible, like today, it must be tempting to get in a car. My dd can be a bit lazy at times, last weeks she fooled me into thinking she had hurt her leg so I called a taxi only to notice she swopped her limp as she walked into school! But walking with a child who keeps saying "I am tired" "I don't want to walk is quite draining."

On a Friday my dp collects dd from school and he always drives, he just says why walk when there is a car.

Tortington Wed 15-Jun-05 11:46:09

not being able to park when i got there - literally no where to stop so you would have to put your hazards on and bung your kids out and hope they got inside ok.

for thsoe parents who for some reason live outside a 12 - 15 min walk area they could ave special passes.

however - what about us working mums who throw our kids out at primary school and then wheelspin off to work? they couldnt walk for half an hour or they wouldnt have their jobs.

anyone in senior school should walk.

i dont know the answer.

maybe the kids get extra busy bee points for walking - you know how competitive junior school is.

perhaps walking children get an exalted status - like a the "red" table the red table gets free apples at break time and get sto go to lunch early!!!!


Lonelymum Wed 15-Jun-05 11:50:34

At the moment I drive as we live 2 miles from the school and it would be impossible to walk that distance (and back) with ds3 and get anything else done in the monring. We will soon be moving very close to the school which I am looking forward to a lot as in our old home we lived near enough to walk and I miss the fresh air in the morning. The only times I would drive in those days were:

a) if it was raining very hard
b) if we had to go on to somewhere else straight afterwards
c) when I was pg and had bad pelvic pain and couldn't walk any distance.

I think more people should walk to school and support your campaign. I find I used to talk to my children more at that time than I do in the car (well, we had longer to talk I supoose I mean) and also, when the children got older and stopped walking with me, I used to enjoy the social contact with other mothers.

zebraZ Wed 15-Jun-05 11:52:19

I know people who have to shoot off to work can't realistically change their habits... but sometimes I notice the same moms in my area who just drove up to school driving back home 5-10 minutes later, seems odd.

Could you drop your child a bit further from the school, Custardo, and let them walk the last stretch on their own? Would that feel realistic? Our school wants to minimise traffic right in front of the gates, too, for safety reasons.

Lonelymum Wed 15-Jun-05 11:52:19

(In addition to the environmeantal considerations of course!)

Gwenick Wed 15-Jun-05 11:52:46

I know a few of our local schools (mainly primary) have set up walking buses. The parents drop the kids off at set 'points' away from the school and they're supervised walking to school.

MandM Wed 15-Jun-05 11:54:23

Dd doesn't start school until September, but I already know that I will be driving her there, even though it is walkable, although about 25-30 mins. each way. The main reason is because of having to go straight on to work afterwards. It would be pointless to walk all the way there and then all the way home again just to pick up the car.

Having said that, if I had time off, or was working at home some days and the weather was nice enough, I would make the effort to get up in time to be able to walk, as I try and walk as many places as possible, purely for personal fitness/calorie burning really!!!!

Not sure what the answer is, and for working mums/dads, don't think there is much of an alternative.

zebraZ Wed 15-Jun-05 11:54:57

Do you think walking buses are realistic? Seems a bit of a faff, to me. waiting around for someone else. If you're in a hurry, or if it's pissing down, you wouldn't want to.

Plus you'd miss the goss with the other mums at the gates.

MandM Wed 15-Jun-05 11:55:42

Gwenick - that sounds like a brilliant idea.

Gwenick Wed 15-Jun-05 11:56:56

zebra - they've been very popular here, and reduces congestion around the school - thus making is safer. I'm not sure 'exactly' how it works - but I believe the 'supervisor' (not sure who that is) is at the 'bus stop' in good time, - you can also drop your kid off 'on route'/.

Gwenick Wed 15-Jun-05 12:01:20

just found the walking bus website

Tortington Wed 15-Jun-05 12:08:34

i was wondering whether you could strike up a deal with your local bus company to give mums and kids a cheaper fare. would this be something the PTA woul look into? in exchange you offerpublicity in all your newsletters and have their logo on publicity events, and have a big article in local paper and free paper.

you could pave the way!!!

zebraZ Wed 15-Jun-05 12:11:10

Nice thought, but bus service isn't realistic where we live. Plus the main school entrance is down a really narrow road. They're only hoping for a 4% increase in walking (over car journeys). This is what the County Council think is realistic. So... very small ambitions, really.

Miaou Wed 15-Jun-05 12:17:52

Would love to walk my kids to school, and it's less than a mile away too, but that mile is along a 60mile speed limit narrow country road with no pavement! Fortunately the school provides a minibus to pick up/return the kids, and it goes from just outside our house, and for free. So fortunately I don't have to take them to school in the car.

As I am writing this I am just thinking that my experiences are hardly relevant - there are only 20 children in the whole school so not exactly a congestion problem anyway!

okapi Wed 15-Jun-05 12:23:36

I, along with most of the parents at ds1's school, park in a free car park about 0.25 of a mile from the school and walk from there.

I also do a lift share on a couple of days with another mum who lives near me.

When the kids are both at school and a bit older, we might be able to walk from home (they're 6 and 3) but it's too far for now.

Tortington Wed 15-Jun-05 12:25:05

i definatley think some incentive scheme like a priority car space for those mums and dads who bring in children other than their own.

mandyc66 Wed 15-Jun-05 12:51:36

I would love to walk to school but its just a bit too far and when you need to drop of in more than one place its difficult. thinking of going to a school nearer with the 2 little ones when there time comes!

happymerryberries Wed 15-Jun-05 13:20:06

It is simply too far. The kids school is 3 miles from us, it takes 15 mins in the car, not on a bus route. On top of that I have to go from dropping them to work which is 3 miles further away. I couldn't walk them to school and work.

happymerryberries Wed 15-Jun-05 13:21:20

When they are older there is a bus, which they will take.

mandyc66 Wed 15-Jun-05 13:39:47

my 3 older ones will all be at high school in summer so they might not want lifts!

geekgrrl Wed 15-Jun-05 13:52:34

they have the same problem at our school - it's been helped somewhat by a new initiative of providing a safe parking area a bit away from the school and the children receiving a stamp every time they walk.

Once they've got a certain number of stamps they get a sticker - this has been particularly effective with the younger children (pester power!).

All this was done in conjunction with the council who also sent someone to do a special assembly on walking to school.

There are some very persistent offenders - we live next to a US military base and some of its residents clearly feel that UK rules don't apply to them - several parents park on the zigzags every day and leave their engines running whilst they go into school to drop their children off (WTF?!). The school has started to have police or traffic warden presence regularly to cut down on this, as letters from the school had zero effect.

I live close but at the moment usually have to drive as my dd2 attends a SN nursery 30 minutes away which starts 30 minutes after dd1's school, so it's all a bit of a mad dash anyway, but I always try to park reasonably far away from the entrance, although I usually leave dd2 and ds in the car so have to be quick.

stripey Wed 15-Jun-05 13:59:02

ds1 is at afternoon nursery ATM and we do walk a few times a week but I do drive quite often too.

Several reasons sometimes I need to go somewhere after dropping him off or do the shopping. He is there for a total of 2h 15mins so there isn't much time.

If I walk ds2 often wants to get out and walk which can be tricky. On 2 or 3 occassions ds1 has run across a road while I am trying to hold onto him and push ds1 and quite often he runs ahead crossing over driveways and often falling over then I have an injured 4 year old and a buggy to push. I must admit he has been a lot better lately though.

Basically for me with the age my 2 are (4.5 & 2.5) it is just easier to drive and there is a new car park practically next to the school which it is possible to park in - I never obstruct the road or park on yellow lines. I do feel guilty about driving so much but I also feel it is safer for my children. I will definitely walk when ds1 starts Reception in Sept as there is it would probably take 3 times longer to drive in rush hour trafic. I would probably still drive to collect him though as I think he would be to exhausted to walk home after a full day - at least initially.

feelingold Wed 15-Jun-05 14:07:32

It is simply too far away. If my kids were in a good walking mood it would take about 50 minutes to walk (longer if tired). I do however try to park away from school which means we walk for about 10 minutes which I find is a good compromise (sometimes I park a little further away and bring their scooters). I wish I did live nearer so I could walk everyday.
I also see some mums (and dads) taking their kids in the car (and then going straight home again) who could walk it in 5 or 10 minutes (I am sorry but this is just pure lazines IMO).

pixel Wed 15-Jun-05 14:14:00

I used to walk my dd to and from school every day whatever the weather and it took 20 to 30 minutes. I really enjoyed it and was a lot slimmer than I am now (!)especially as I also had a heavy pram to push. Unfortunately the rent was just too expensive for us to live in the area any more so we have had to move away but didn't want dd to have to change schools - so we drive and I'm still lucky if I can do it in 20-30 mins! It's only for a while though as when she goes to secondary school it will be very close to our new house.

I still park several streets away from the school and walk her in though, I can't bear people who sit outside the gates with their engines running.

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