September 6, 2017

Kids On Transit — Story With Traction

In a definitive demonstration of traction, this Vancouver story has steadily climbed the media ladder, and now has made the Op-Ed pages of the dear old Globe and Mail.
Hint:  the writer (Naomi Buck) is as perplexed, outraged and disgusted as I am.

School is back and with it, the angry snarl of cars that surround our schools every morning at drop-off. Double- and triple-parked, riding up on curbs and private driveways, three-point-turning with abandon, drop-off at Canadian schools serves as Exhibit A in the case against both transportation planning and responsible parenting.
So it seems particularly perverse that a Vancouver father who has spent two years training his children to take the city bus to school on their own has been ordered by British Columbia’s Ministry of Children and Family Development to discontinue the practice.  . .
Adrian Crook, the father, has taken exception to this ruling and so he should. Parents such as him are not the problem – they are the solution. Mr. Crook is a sustainability advocate and car-less by choice. He doesn’t want to belong to the throngs of Canadian families who drive their children three blocks to school in SUVs in the name of safety. He sees the wrongheadedness of protecting his own children, while making the streets less safe for others’; the inanity of contributing to debilitating congestion when the city provides a safe and viable alternative.

It seems to me that Mr. Crook’s sin is obvious.  He’s not driving his kids to school in a car.  (Thanks, Adanac, for the insight).
The decision’s operative background narrative certainly seems to be something like this:  “The only safe places are your home, your car, and the mall.  Oh yeah, and perhaps Mar-a-Lago.  The rest of the world is full of murders and rapists.  I know this because my TV told me. And oh please, don’t quote any fake safety and crime stats from those silly police chiefs and such. What do they know? “

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  1. Parents don’t fear for kids’ safety nearly as much as they fear being judged by other parents.This is a common problem. The Province needs to cover its butt in case something happens to Mr. Crook’s kids.
    It’s tempting to blame the Ministry, but consider that should something untoward happen to them while riding the bus, the Ministry and Translink and Mr. Crook will all be blamed by the internet’s professional finger-waggers. Bureaucrats are different than most people. They’d rather be blamed for something they didn’t do than for something they did.
    It’s good that people are talking about this – and hopefully angry. There’s a balance to take with kids between teaching them to manage risk and (eventually) foster sound judgement. We are not hitting it.

    1. I agree, ministry is convenient scapegoat but they are just reacting to judgemental parents & press. Hopefully this will spur a rethink.
      Shame we don’t have the same sense of outrage when a kid dies in a car, all buckled up. It’s always, “just a tragic accident”, and “nothing could be done.”

  2. No actually being home alone under 10 is not considered safe. IMHO kids are safer on a bus, surrounded and observed by adults.

  3. I walked my kids to school the .9 km every day, and back, about 1,500 times. It’s the best way to “get the wiggles out”. It was exercise with richness of experience and bonding. Used the car maybe 20 times – in the rain – it was a treat for them.
    Seeing the jockeying for parking by motorist parents – crazy.
    The crazy part is that school teachers park comfortably feet from the door, while thousands of parents go through parking hell. That’s just wrong – the employees lording it over the employers.

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