Travels With Child : http://www.travelswithchild.org

Local Treks

Friday, 08 February 2008

Going Public

765px-strafford_pennsylvania_train_station.jpgCities with excellent public transportation have my heart.

For trying to get around cheaply (environmentally, as well as financially), and without a car,  New York, Washington DC, and Philadelphia are fantastic. As  an added benefit, riding the train or subway can be its own form of entertainment. 

Philadelphia's regional rail system, SEPTA, connects all of the first-ring suburbs to downtown with trains that run hourly, and more frequently during rush hours.  The wooden stations (like the one above) that line the tracks on many of the routes are quite beautiful, and many are being well maintained.  Downtown, three major stops - 30th Street Station (the AMTRAK connector), Suburban Station, and Market East - put everyone within walking distance of major attractions like the Please Touch Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Franklin Institute, and more.  Plus, there are zip-cars for hire near most, if not all of the stations.

DC's METRO is similarly phenomenal - and the downtown stops line up well with major hotels and museums.  The escalators' descent to a number of stops is quite steep and visually stunning - and the METRO's design makes for a great conversation about perspective.  Electronic kiosks sell tickets and require something close to advanced math skills.

New York's Subway and regional rail systems keeps the city moving - though the press of people sometimes makes me favor walking or cabs more.  I'm looking forward to doing more there - the folks at MommyPoppins have an amazing kids' guide to New York's underground that I want to take for a spin.

water-taxi.jpgAnd Baltimore (Annapolis too) - The blue-capped Water Taxis are both a treat and the absolute best way to get around the neighborhoods that ring the Inner Harbor.  Beyond that, you're on your own with buses - apparently getting people up to the Walters and the BMA isn't such a priority for the city - cabs are available though.

There are a few basic rules when we go:

  • either hold hands, be carried, or we leave the platform.  I don't mind missing our ride in order to keep my heart from leaping out of my body. Find the yellow line and stand well back from it.

  • be kind to other passengers and to the conductors.  Keep our feet off the seats, pack our trash out with us, and store our folded up stroller out of the aisle.

  • sit.  When she was small, riding in my lap was fine.  Now that she's bigger, she's convinced that she can see more out the large windows by standing up.  No way josie.

  • listen.  Help listen to hear our stop called.

  • look.  The passing scenery (even in tunnels) is part of what makes each city unique.
  • get off carefully.  Make sure we have everything, and have a plan for how we'll get off, that we've discussed and agreed upon, before we need to go.
Posted in Americas : Toddler by Fran W. at 11:24 AMPermalink

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