The view with the sunrise behind you is often quite nice as well.
It is very cool to be able to walk to the dentist (extra cool today, my cheeks were burning by the time I got there). In fact, all of the local schools are within a half mile of our home, and several stores, little restaurants, and the post office are not a lot further. It's one of the reasons why my husband and I liked the location - "The kids can walk to school!" we cheered.
Which brings me to today's defense of walking. A nod of thanks to my blogger cousin who brought it up, and led me to a heated discussion on his blog from a while back. It amused me that the name of his essay was "let kids walk to school." In our house, it has never been a question of "let" them walk, it's a battle to MAKE them walk.
There are some walkers, but precious few relative to the number who could walk in 20 minutes or less. The fact of the matter is, ours is a heavily automotive society. It has become so ingrained in our culture that the idea of walking doesn't even come up. Sometimes even if you want to walk somewhere, there aren't sidewalks around to make it safe.
In this particular, cities are far healthier than suburbs. There is a lot more walking in a city, even if it's just walking to and from a subway station. In the suburbs, you only have to walk from your door to the car. And EVERYBODY drives.
When kids have to be in school for extracurriculars before the bus comes the default is the car, not the feet. If we refused to give them a ride, they would inevitably hitch a ride with someone else. Then, of course, you look bad because you're "making" some other parent drive all the time. In fact, MANY parents opt to drive no matter the schedule because they're not even comfortable with their kids riding the bus.
As far as safety goes - I sympathize with the parental worries about traffic hazards and evildoers. I have felt it too. But they are worries one must fight. You have to recognize the fact that they are FAR more likely to perish while you drive them to a trumpet lesson, or from getting cancer. You can't avoid death by keeping them from living.
If you have educated your child well, accompanied them once or twice (shortly after moving here I found one of my kids on her way to the next town, in the opposite direction of home), then you need to take a deep breath and let go. You might even sneak through the woods behind them now and again to make sure they're okay, just don't transmit your fears and worries to them! Caution and smarts, yes; worry and fear, no. How proud and confident they feel once they taste independence!
Well, I rant too much. It is a fraught subject. Suffice it to say that I firmly believe we should all be walking every day. And please note that I am as guilty as the next person. If I can have an extra ten or fifteen minutes at home, I'll often take it and drive to a school event rather than walk. The idea of adding TIME to get from here to there is unconscionable. The car is an embedded national habit, like TV and fast food, and we need to be weaned off of it.