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Real Life, Real Moms: Car-Free Living

Not having dependable vehicles is making me think.

Chantilly is not a very walkable town. I’ve found this out the hard way.

My family has been struggling with automobile problems the past few weeks. Both my minivan and The Husband’s sedan had been making weird noises, operating strangely, malfunctioning, or all of the above. Despite extra time spent in our favorite , we continue to be plagued with problems.

Coinciding with our car difficulties, I have also started an exercise regimen because, well, because sitting flat on my bottom wasn’t getting the weight off!  For the past six weeks, I have been forcing myself to roll out of bed bright and early each morning. A brisk 2-3 mile walk in our neighborhood has gotten me going, which is never a bad thing.

It is during this time that I’ve considered the possibility of walking more to do my errands. We already walk to the schools, library and pool.  It is conceivable to walk to do my shopping as well; within two miles in either direction are majors centers with various shopping options.  My neighborhood is laid out in such a way that it is possible to avoid the main drag (Route 50 Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway) for the most part to either Greenbriar Shopping Center or to the Metrotech shopping area.

Even so, I would be forced to walk along Route 50 for at least part of the way. Route 50 is not particularly friendly to pedestrians despite paved sidewalks. Crossing Route 50, even at designated crosswalks, is a harrowing experience. I do not feel safe walking along a road where streams of cars whiz by at 50 miles per hour (or more!). I am also not willing to have my children walk with me on such a road.

I realize that our suburban area is designed to move a lot of cars as efficiently as possible, and our roads do so (more or less). My time with one or zero cars has made me lament the lack of walkable roads to shopping areas and between neighborhoods.  

Guess I’ll have to just stick with my daily walks around the ‘hood.

Anne Lutz Fernandez August 23, 2011 at 12:48 PM
Don't give up, Michelle! Pushing for safer walking, especially crosswalks, will help not just you but the many others like you who wish they could walk more and walk more safely.

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