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Family Life in a Walkable City

Sheila McGraw
Sheila McGraw June 6, 2017 Sheila McGraw is a former Property & Development Services Program Director at Arlington Transportation Partners.
ATP Takeaway: Arlington, Virginia is a great place for families, offering great schools, community, safety, and many transit options to live a car-free or car-lite lifestyle.

For Arlington Transportation Partners’ Pinky, her husband, and their pre-teen son, Arlington is an obvious choice to call home as it offers the lifestyle they were looking for. Boasting a great school district, a real sense of community, and a hub of people and activities within walking distance, the Advani family reaps the benefits of living in a city and the world this opens up to them.



The Advanis are weekend adventurers in their own backyard, which they mostly do without a car—not because they don’t have one, but because they don’t need it to get around comfortably. As a family, they take advantage of the great biking trail network that Arlington has to offer.

Ditch the Car for More Quality Time

Sidharth (Sid) has been benefiting from a life in the city, one where he didn’t have to grow up living in a car-seat. Opting to take transit instead of their car allows Pinky and Sid to have quality time together where she can devote 100% of her attention to him and truly take part in the journey. Whether they are riding on the Metro to go watch the planes take off at the National Airport, biking on the Arlington loop, or simply walking home, they get to grow closer to each other and their city.

Pinky would run from work or home along the Custis trail to Sid’s school every Friday. From there, they would wander the 1.5 miles back home, taking anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. What Pinky loved about their Friday ritual was the time and experiences they got to share. Going home from school was so much more than just getting from point A to B, it was about the journey.


Form Family Traditions that Improve Your Health

As a family, they all enjoy riding side-by-side with the wind in their hair until they spot other cyclists ahead. When they have to share the trail with others, Pinky yells, “Sandwich!” upon which they form into their single-file formation, with her husband leading the way and Pinky trailing the back, and their son sandwiched in between them.

It is no coincidence that Sid set the goal to achieve his Boy Scouts Cycling merit badge which requires the completion of a 50-mile trip. The whole family took part in the training and completed the 50+ mile ride together. Along this journey, they discovered how fun and rewarding it is to take on adventure in your own backyard.


Better Walkability Means a Happy Community

Pinky loves that she has everything within walking distance of where she lives. This accessibility of being able to walk to the library, soccer practice and their favorite pizza place has been hugely rewarding. Being out and active, Pinky feels that Arlington offers a sense of community—one that she wants to be a part of. She wants to be a part of making it more walkable and safe.

You can contribute to that as well. Whether you're biking and walking for fitness reasons, or just enjoying time outdoors, you should check out BikeArlington's resources for new bikers, and download WalkArlington's Walkabouts booklet & maps. If you're planning on switching up your commute and biking to work, ATP can help you plan your travels. 


Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/ for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Bike, Bus, Walking, Active Transportation, Behavior, Residential


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