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The Importance of Child Care Within Walking Distance

In honor of International Walk to School Day, we're going to look at a post from Minnesota's Twin Cities about what you might call Wouldn't It Be Great If You Could Walk Your Kid to Preschool Day.

Streetsblog Network member Net Density makes the excellent point that for parents of preschool-age children, having child care within a quarter-mile of their homes can be the make-or-break factor in whether they choose an active commute (by foot, bike, or transit).

After some impressive number-crunching, the blog's author comes up with the conclusion that only between 13 and 16 percent of people in Minneapolis-St. Paul live within that distance of adequate child care options. Which makes for a planning challenge:

2CCBlocks_300x231.jpgMost people don’t make housing decisions based on child care access, so depending on what you can afford, and where you want to locate, good child care access may or may not be available in your area.

So as planners and policy makers trying to leverage the multiple benefits of a non-auto commute (health, environmental, social), what role do we have in trying to improve this access? Or, in other words, how can we address this barrier and allow more people to get active? What tools can we use to do so?

Anyone out there want to step forward with some ideas? We're listening.

More from the network: Cincy Streetcar Blog has an excellent photo essay that makes a case against Issue 9, an anti-passenger rail initiative on the ballot in that city this fall. Bicycle Ambassadors demonstrates some justified pride about Philadelphia's bike commute numbers. And Portlandize takes on the question of who pays for bike infrastructure -- and auto infrastructure.