Thursday, February 4, 2010

Going the Distance

As the girls and I walked to the library last weekend (well, I walked and they rode their kick scooters) I was once again reminded of how wonderful it is that we are within walking distance of so many useful locations.

Here's a quick list:
  • my office
  • our preferred pharmacy
  • the (amazing) public library
  • local natural food co-op (I'm a card-carrying member)
  • farmer's market (April through November)
  • grocery store (not the best, but a grocery store nonetheless)
  • veterinarian (great guy)
  • optometrist (nice folks)
  • school (in a pinch...the distance is far enough and there are several major streets to cross so we normally drive the girls to school)
  • neighborhood park
  • hair saloon (Kelly's the best!)
  • bank branch (a real bank, not just an ATM)
  • hospital (TMOTH has walked to/from more than one appointment)
  • two of the girls' best friends
  • many restaurants (burgers, Mexican, Chinese, sandwiches, pizza, Indian...)
That's quite a list! Since our city does not have an expansive public transportation system, it is so nice to have the walking option. Of course, this means we do not live in a suburban housing development but instead live near the center of town. What we earn in convenience we pay for by living in an older house (double-edged sword) and a smaller yard (also a double-edged sword).

It would be great if TMOTH's work was within walking distance, and a better grocery store would be ideal. What wonderful places do you live within walking distance of, or wish you could walk to whenever your heart desired?

--Rational Mama


  1. Some of the places we CAN walk to:

    - library
    - grocery store (not a good one)
    - produce stand
    - several convenience stores
    - several city parks
    - health food store
    - many restaurants
    - local hardware store and general store
    - thrift store
    - bike store
    - children's museum
    - department store
    - several specialty stores
    - consignment store
    - several ATMs
    - farmer's market (in season)
    - hair salon

    Places I wish I could walk to:

    - the Hubster's workplace
    - Costco
    - good grocery stores
    - our credit union
    - the other thrift stores
    - the Fleet Farm store
    - all of our city parks
    - our church meetinghouse
    - fabric store
    - dr & dentist
    - hospital (although it would be an easy bike ride)
    - Target

    BTW - I can't believe how similar our lifestyles are! We deliberately chose to buy an old home in our city's center to be closely located to most places. Downside is that the house was built in the 1880s and is drafty and old. Upside is walking access to much of what we need!

  2. Hmmm...your list is pretty much the same as mine, with a few exceptions. Hair Salon, bank, optometrist. We also like to walk to WU and Dairy Queen when the weather permits. We can and have walked to the vet, but often drive when we have to take the kitties.

    Work and school are definitely not reasonable walks for anyone here unfortunately.

  3. I gave up driving in April. I'm 2 minutes walk away from an electric railroad with a train every 15 minutes into Liverpool, half an hour away. I work from home so don't need to commute. Everything is within walking distance: lousy supermarket, library, book store, gym, rail and bus stations, doctor's surgery, post office, barber, liquor store... For everything else I either get the train or do it online.

    I'd quite like to have a choice of supermarkets, but other than that I don't miss driving in gridlock and certainly don't miss the costs. Ready for these costs, Americans? Gas locally is $1.71 a liter (I think that's about $6.25 a gallon). A decent car is about $14,000 to buy and $265 a year in road tax. Compulsory insurance was $625 a year. Parking in most places is about $2.50 an hour. On $25,000 a year, I'm working in order to pay for a car that I'd only use to go to the hypermarket once a week.

    Besides, I prefer walking now. Working from home means that my daily walk to a store is the only time I'm not surrounded by the same four walls. I'd hate to get out of the house and into an enclosed tin can in order to spend even more time couped up! British public transport is pretty bad by European standards (we sold the buses in the 80s and the trains in the 90s and since then the service has gone down while the subsidy and fares have gone through the roof, a mistake that the rest of the EU hasn't made yet) but if you're prepared to walk a bit and get wet now and again, it's a better way to travel.

  4. Kari - Yes! The more I read on your blog the more I think we are very much like minds. It would be great to be within walking distance of a craft store, but it's probably a good thing that the Target store is one the other side of town. If it was within walking distance I'm afraid I'd be tempting to purchase too much too often.

    RJGRaham - thanks for sharing transportation thoughts from your end of the world. Having a car is no doubt a major expense, although I think it's more so with your circumstances. I wish our city had better public transport - in the early 1900s our city had one of the best cable car systems west of the Mississippi. Alas, once the transition was made to buses and then private transportation (personal cars) it all went down the drains (or, to the scrap heap). Sometimes I toy with the idea of being a one car family, but with both TMOTH and myself working outside the home the logistics of it all makes my head all squishy.

  5. I'm very lucky in this respect. Not only does Edinburgh have an excellent public transport system (I never have to wait more than 5 minutes for a bus into town, but within 3 minutes' walk I can reach:

    3 grocery stores
    2 pharmacies
    Community centre
    2 churches
    Clothing shops
    Family-friendly pub (great for cheap meals out)
    More things than I can remember...

    Within "normal" walking distance there's a great public library, lots of restaurants, a riverside district (wonderful for walks when my son was a baby), a large shopping mall with cinema etc., the Royal Yacht Britannia...but I tend to get a bus to those, as walking distance tends to be defined differently when you have a rotten pain condition. ;-) It would take the average person about 30 minutes to walk into Edinburgh City Centre from our front door. We don't have a car.

    I'm very spoiled where I live. On the downside, we have no yard as we live in an apartment - it's all a balance, isn't it?

    The more I read of your blog, the more I admire all of you. Your stoic outlook and positivity would've been invaluable during the years of rationing! I'd love to do a similar thing myself as we do try to be conscious and eco-friendly as a family...but as you noted elsewhere, in the UK rationing and shortages were far more severe, and it probably wouldn't be very practical until my little boy's a bit older and able to understand such an experiment.

    Sorry for the essay! :-D