Some of you have some fabulous commutes. Rather than watch the stress-filled minutes and hours tick by stuck in traffic, you go outside, get exercise, and connect with your community.
Think car-free parenting is a drag? Babies like smiling at other passengers on the bus way more than they like being restrained in a rear-facing car seat. Photo: Mommy Bluebird
I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of your commuter tales over the last few days, since we launched our Commuter Idyll contest. It’s our response to WTOP’s “Commuter Idle” contest for the worst commute in the DC area, with its prize of $1,000 in gas money. We’d rather focus on the positive: the wonderful daily transportation routines you can have when you get out of your car.
We did have one overall favorite, which we’ll post tomorrow, but there were so many that deserve mention. Here are some ancillary awards:
Katie from the DC suburbs won my heart with her story of taking her 10-month-old son to daycare on the bus. “He loves the bus, and despite the fact that he can’t talk yet, he manages to make lots of friends,” she writes. “As soon as he sees the bus coming down the road, he starts squealing and kicking his legs, and once we get on, he just charms everyone on the bus by smiling and chattering away at all of them.”
“The other day, someone started snapping out a beat, and my little guy was just dancing along,” she said. “I seriously thought maybe someone was about to break into song, like we were in a musical or something.” Sure beats strapping him in to a car seat in the back where you can’t even see him.
Plus, waiting at the stop gives them some nice outdoor time. After dropping her son off at daycare, Katie continues on to work on the bus or walks – a healthy 30 minutes of exercise.
Runner-Up: Most Family-Friendly
Parents of young children will also appreciate this story from reader “TalF.” He had been driving his commute from Riverdale, New York, to his job in New Jersey, but that could take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. The transit connections weren’t great either. Then last summer, he started cycling 45 minutes down the Hudson River Greenway to the 39th Street ferry, where it was 10 minutes across the river to New Jersey. He even biked the commute through the winter.
“So far it has been great!” TalF wrote. “I’ve lost weight and, paradoxically, feel like I have more energy for dealing with a newborn at night.”
Best of all, he and his wife have been able to sell one of their cars, saving them a bundle they can now spend on their little bundle.
Best Use of Rational Transportation Economics
We’ve got to hand it to Pancake for making his decisions based on rational economics. The Center for Neighborhood Technology has pioneered the H+T model for evaluating household expenses – Housing + Transportation, that is. Pancake says he pays more to live in the city because the cost of owning a car or taking public transportation into the city every day can erase the savings of marginally cheaper housing in the suburbs. He walks or bike-shares to his job that’s just over a mile from home. “Some days, I even come home for lunch for a nap,” Pancake writes. “That availability alone makes my form of transportation (my legs) well worth the extra money expelled in rent.”