Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Kids are made for driving around

Capture-06-09-00002From the Bellingham Herald.

On various national e-lists, I write often about how children increasingly have a much reduced span of control, that they aren't allowed to bike or walk much, etc. Recently, I seem to recall that the Post had a story about a girl selling Girl Scout cookies in her neighborhood, and how her mother asked each household to call her after she left their house to go call on the next house. (I can't seem to find the story.)

The Bellingham Herald reports on a study of this issue, by a graduate geography student, in "Few students walk or bike to middle school." From the article:

Cari McMullin, a graduate student in geography at Western Washington University, found just under 15 percent of all students walked or biked. That's a little over one in three children living within 1 mile, assuming none of the walkers and bikers came from farther away. McMullin and two volunteers tracked how students arrived at schools over three days. She looked at middle-schoolers because they are old enough to walk and bike alone but not to drive.

McMullin's numbers match a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report that said about 16 percent of American children ages 5 to 15 walked or biked to school in 2001 - down from 48 percent in 1969. Among children living within a mile of school, the percentage plunged from nearly 90 percent in 1969 to 31 percent in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The article includes tables listing the results of the four middle schools study and the mobility mode chosen: walk; bike; car; or school bus. For all but one of the schools, more students arrived by car than school bus.

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