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Old 02-07-2013, 05:06 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
lol but kidnappings can happen anywhere, but is much less likely to occur during the day with a lot of people around. the broadway tunnel in boulder connects an elementary school with a medical center. a lot of college students from the nearby UC campus also make use of the tunnel and pass through it all day long. a child walking alone by themself after dark might be a different story but its not much of a concern during the day.

to me a 5 yo is too young anyway to let them go anywhere by themself even during the day without being accompanied on the way by an adult or an older child. for me around 8 or 9 would be the minimum age to let them go anywhere alone.
I don't know which tunnel in Boulder you're talking about. There are no real "medical centers" there. CU students tend to be very self-absorbed, and might not even notice an elementary kid getting abducted.

The point is, if you let your child ride their bike to school through the tunnel in my neighborhood, they are likely to be alone. Kids go to school at the "same but different" time. I just don't like that, and I'm not usually concerned about abduction. I'd rather my kids rode on the road. Even after the tunnel was built, I told my kids to ride on the road. I personally felt it was much safer. Also, a mountain lion was using it to get back and forth from his (her?) haunts, and it has a tendency to flood, although that hasn't been a problem in a few years since it doesn't rain any more.

Yeah, 5 year olds shouldn't be going anywhere by themselves. Maybe that's why they get driven. The parents don't want to walk, and they have to then walk back as well. When my kids were little, they had a school bus. After the tunnel was dug, they discontinued the bus and said the kids could walk safely. It'd be nice if they'd have a "patrol boy" or someone stationed there.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Ypsilanti
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Five year olds at the most are in Kindergarten right?
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I don't know which tunnel in Boulder you're talking about. There are no real "medical centers" there.

oops I meant the Memorial Center. (which is the center of student life at CU where students go to eat and hang out on the campus).
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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I guess the obstacles depend on the age. For 5-8 year olds (roughly), you wouldn't want them to walk alone, so it's mostly a question of whether someone can walk with them, whether it's one of their parents, an older sibling, or neighbours. Having "walking school buses" would definitely help, but for that to work well, you need to have a quite high percentage of kids walking.

For kids roughly in the 9-13 year old range, they should be fine walking alone and crossing minor residential streets. It's mostly a question of whether they'd need to cross major roads, although as I showed above that's not necessary for most kids going to public elementary schools in London, Ontario, and most other places in Canada are similar.

For kids in the 14-18 year old range, they should be ok crossing busy roads too. The main issue there will distance, since high schools are bigger and therefore further apart. However, I would say that in Canada, most kids live around 1-2 miles from school, which is still walkable, living more than 3 miles from a public high school would be quite unusual, even in suburban areas. I lived 1 mile away and walked or biked unless the weather was really bad.

I think the main reasons why kids don't walk is:

-it's more common for both parents to work and not have time to walk their kids to school
-imo, neighbourhood ties are weaker, both in cities and suburbs, since people move around more and often work long hours and often well outside their community, which would make it less likely that a parent on the same block can walk the kids, and kids will be less likely to know each other too (TV and video games don't help with that) and less likely to walk together
-fewer kids walk to school, so fewer kids walk to school because they have no one to walk with and making sure kids have a safe walk to school is less of a priority since fewer kids do it (a bit of a vicious cycle)
-parents are more protective and kids are less independent
-driving to school is pretty convenient (although sometimes you can have pretty bad traffic jams near schools) combined with laziness
-schools are a bit further than they used to be, which is not just a function of lower density neighbourhoods but at least as important (esp in Canada) is bigger schools
-generally, a culture that cars own the road, in the very early days of cars, people could walk and play in any part of the road, so pretty much all accidents were blamed on the driver not being careful enough (according to this video, starting around 14:00:
CNU 20 - Why Did We Stop Walking & How Do We Start Again? - YouTube)
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post

I think the main reasons why kids don't walk is:

-it's more common for both parents to work and not have time to walk their kids to school
-imo, neighbourhood ties are weaker, both in cities and suburbs, since people move around more and often work long hours and often well outside their community, which would make it less likely that a parent on the same block can walk the kids, and kids will be less likely to know each other too (TV and video games don't help with that) and less likely to walk together
-fewer kids walk to school, so fewer kids walk to school because they have no one to walk with and making sure kids have a safe walk to school is less of a priority since fewer kids do it (a bit of a vicious cycle)
-parents are more protective and kids are less independent
-driving to school is pretty convenient (although sometimes you can have pretty bad traffic jams near schools) combined with laziness
-schools are a bit further than they used to be, which is not just a function of lower density neighbourhoods but at least as important (esp in Canada) is bigger schools
-generally, a culture that cars own the road, in the very early days of cars, people could walk and play in any part of the road, so pretty much all accidents were blamed on the driver not being careful enough (according to this video, starting around 14:00:


only 12% of Canadian children are walking to school but its probably a lot higher in the more urban areas of the country. and sure enough that appears to be the case at least in Toronto. its a bit curious that the speaker Jennifer Keesmaat didn't seem to make a distinction between urban and suburban area schools in her Ted lecture.


Quote:
The best news that came out of the report is that Toronto does not seem to have experienced a dramatic decline in the number of children who walk to school. The team’s study found that an average of 70 percent of children regularly walked to school, while only 26 percent were getting to school by car. The team also found that levels of walking were relatively consistant across the city. The only area where children tend to walk less is in new wealthier neighbourhoods in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough. Also encouraging is that around 90 percent of parents believed that their neighbourhoods are easy to walk around.

What Happened to Walking to School? | Amalgamated
I'm not surprised because I see kids in downtown Toronto walking to and from school all the time, despite the colder weather there. a lot of them will use the underground PATH tunnels as part of their route to school, where they can, to get out of the weather. there seems to be an incredible concentration of public and private schools serving the downtown area so you're almost never much more than a stone's throw away from one. the high density of schools makes the walking distances to them so short and convenient that its feasible for a lot of kids to walk to school even in winter.


the big and small purple dots on the map represent public and private schools in the downtown Toronto area. some are colleges but I'd say maybe half or more are grade schools (elementary and junior high schools), a very rough estimate I obtained simply by randomly clicking on the purple dots and seeing the name of the school pop up.

toronto elementary school - Google Maps

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Old 02-08-2013, 07:27 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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I walked to school in the winter living in the suburbs too. I'm not sure I ever got driven to my middle school actually, although I did get driven to high school a bit more often since it was about twice as far, but usually only if it was <10F or really pouring rain. Typical winter weather around here isn't such a big deal, as long as you have boots, a hat and winter coat.

I'm a little surprised you saw kids walking to school in the PATH (university students is another thing), I didn't notice any. The PATH mostly served the financial district, which has no schools and hardly any residential population. There are schools on either side of the Financial district, so I don't really see why you'd have to cross it.

The post I made about London was to show that suburban areas should be ok for walking to school too. I would say that about 70% of London's built up area is pretty typical Canadian suburbia (the rest being pre-WWII). You can see the built up area quite clearly on my map of London, unlike many American cities, the transition between suburban and rural is pretty adrupt and clear cut without the scattering of large lot estates in between. You should be able to see that the outer suburban areas of London are about as well covered by schools as the inner pre-WWII areas.

This is Jennifer Keesmat's neighbourhood, where she said few kids walk to school, it was built mostly between 1900 and 1930.
toronto elementary school - Google Maps

In that article it says about 65% of Canadians live within a 30 minute walk of a school. Considering 80% of Canadians live in urban/suburban areas (as opposed to rural), that means probably a very large majority of Canadians living in urban/suburban areas live within a 30 minute walk of school. I suspect for those who live further, it's mostly high schools. 35% of Canadians walk to school according to the Toronto Star article referenced in your article. That's a lot more than 12%, and it does seem closer to how things were based on my experiences.

The other thing I forgot to mention is that probably a lot of kids don't walk because they don't go to the closest school. Since my father is French Canadian, they wanted me to go to a French school, but there are very few francophones in the Toronto area (I lived in the suburb of Brampton), so that means going to a school more than 4 miles away, even though there was a school a 5 minute walk down the street from our house. In the neighbourhood I lived in as a teenager (in another Toronto suburb), there's a boy who goes to a private school way out in the country. If you just wanted to send your kid to a Catholic school, those are usually still not too far, especially elementary schools, but if you want to send your kid to a school with a special program or what not, that could be pretty far away. There were also a couple kids at my school whose parents moved to neighbourhoods pretty far away but continued going to my school so that they could stay with their friends.

This study was mentioned in your article.
http://physical.utoronto.ca/docs/pro...T.pdf?sfvrsn=0


Surprisingly, the walking rates are pretty low for downtown Toronto, but quite high for the late 19th/early 20th century neighbourhoods of Toronto. They're also quite high for the post-WWII blue collar type suburbs in North Etobicoke, Scarborough, Jane Finch, Bramalea. I'm not sure how good the neighbourhood level data is though.

This neighbourhood supposedly has a walk rate of over 75%: Donlea Crescent to Walkers Line - Google Maps
While surrounding neighbourhoods that look almost exactly the same, but maybe 10 years newer are under 25%.
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:23 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,834,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
I guess the obstacles depend on the age. For 5-8 year olds (roughly), you wouldn't want them to walk alone, so it's mostly a question of whether someone can walk with them, whether it's one of their parents, an older sibling, or neighbours.
I walked to school, myself, when I was that age, before they put in a bus.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
I walked to school in the winter living in the suburbs too. I'm not sure I ever got driven to my middle school actually, although I did get driven to high school a bit more often since it was about twice as far, but usually only if it was <10F or really pouring rain. Typical winter weather around here isn't such a big deal, as long as you have boots, a hat and winter coat.

I'm a little surprised you saw kids walking to school in the PATH (university students is another thing), I didn't notice any. The PATH mostly served the financial district, which has no schools and hardly any residential population. There are schools on either side of the Financial district, so I don't really see why you'd have to cross it.

I used to see young school kids wearing backpacks roaming through the Path on occasion. which in hindsight might be mistaken for kids walking home from school. they might of been there on a school field trip or something or just hanging out there after school. the Path is a shopping mall after all and shopping malls tend to attract a lot of of young people. or they might be there for after school activities such as dance lessons, music lessons at the music store, taking karate lessons, or whatever.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:33 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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This upstate NY school district didn't allow children to bike and walk (if I read it right) until recently.

The Fight to Let Kids Ride to School | Bicycling Magazine

Interesting article on it and the fight to overturn its rule.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
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I walked 1 1/2 miles to school from 1st grade on. We walked as a group and were chaperoned by older kids.

It was a time of much greater personal interaction and cooperation.
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