Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dodge the Child Pickup Line: Save Gas, Time, Sanity

Those of you who have kids in private school have probably figured this out already, but the drop-off and pick-up protocol for kids at school (and, in our case, summer camp) are like Kafkaesque lines of parental torture. There are rules, lots of them (no arriving before a particular time, no getting out of the car, numbers prominently displayed in windshield), and little reward. So little reward. The average wait time in these lines appears to be approximately seventeen years. Considering that idling is such a waste of gas and produces the same emissions as actually getting someplace and that idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than turning off your car and restarting it, it's a colossal drain of not only your brains, which will be pouring out all over the car, but of a nonrenewable resource. (great info on idling at OrganicPicks found via GreenBeanDreams)

So a tip for those of you headed to the next session of camp or to a school with a drop-off line in the fall? As usual, I was slow to realize the obvious, easy, and eco-friendly choice, so you probably already figured this out when you went to grade school yourself. If not? Here's what I decided to do (along with a couple dozen other parents who saw the folly of the long and winding road to the camper pickup door). Skip the line. Turn my car off. Walk my kid right up to the door. Park my car. Walk my ownself up the hill to get her. Heck, I realized I could be 20 minutes late to pick her up, and still I'd be the first to scoop her up to take her home! Walking up that one hill gave me bonus exercise, to boot.

I love it when the greener choice is also a sanity and timesaver. Hope you're having a great summer.



*Photo courtesy of sxc.

12 comments:

Green Bean said...

And it provides some exercise which, if you are like me, is in short supply! Don't you love it when you a solution is that simple.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately some schools are not so keen on this because they have arrangements with their neighors to limit parking by parents. :-(

MamaBird said...

Green Bean - yes, I love it when life works out so simply.

Anonymous - such a bummer - obviously you can't always do the simple thing...and I can see how neighbors might not like the parking. I am so lucky that we can walk to my kid's school!

Melanie said...

There are pick-up rules? Windshield numbers? Lines?

I am a babe in the woods, truly.

Anonymous said...

Riding your bike (when convenient) saves even more gas!!

Of course I tend to 'reuse' all that saved gas by driving 15 miles to my favorite local trail...

Hope you're not melting in DC summer -- It's been quite beautiful in the northern rockies of late

XO Alfie

Laura/CenterDownHome said...

I know I'm getting old, because I haven't had to wait in one of these lines for so long, that I found myself thinking, "Child Pick Up Line? Does Mamabird mean, like one of those old guys you warn your kids about? "Little girl, can you help me find my lost puppy?" Shudder.

wrekehavoc said...

omg, the lineup at BC's camp is unbelievable. pickup time is 3:30-3:45,and people start lining up at 3, which makes the line unreal by 3:30. we're talking hundreds of kids being picked up!

what i do, as there really aren't places to park nearby: i come late -- like 3:40. by that time, most of the traffic has come and gone. i whip in and get my girl, who complains a little that she's one of the last girls in her group to go home.

but she gets over it fast, and off we go :-)

cool solution, mamaB!

Nora Bee said...

It is a win-win, isn't it? Good thinking!

Kate said...

The little things all really add up....also, if your school is has a lot of neighborhoods nearby, but not enough sidewalks (you can tell we don't live in a city), there are federal grant dollars available to put paths in place. The program is Safe Routes to School, and I think you can just google it.

Anonymous said...

Odd that you've hit big waits -- the pick-up line is one of our favorite things about the camp that H. spent some time at (now he and W. are both at the camp at the school) -- they whisk the kids in and out of the car, and there was no wait at all.

Rob

Liz said...

Imagining having to wait in that line makes me even happier that cars are illegal where I live! Yikes - I can't imagine having to sit and wait all that time. Walking up to get her makes perfect sense to me!

Andrea said...

I did the preschool pickup line because it was a 25 minute drive just to get there (we live out a ways), but I planned it so I would be one of the first in line. I just turned off the car and read a cookbook while waiting. Rolled down the windows when it was hot, and pulled on a blanket when it was cold. No biggie!

It was great to see you again at BlogHer!