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A Stroller on TriMet MAX: Please Park Here

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For the past several years, we have used the urbanMamas community to discuss, collect, and share feedback on the TriMet system and how it has (and how it hasn't) worked for parents taking transit with their children.  There was that great conversation "Is TriMet family friendly?"  One question many parents have wondered: where should I park my stroller when I board the MAX?  I don't take MAX with a stroller often, but - when I do - I will often just roll on and lock my wheels in the middle of the car because it can so hard to try to maneuver anywhere else.  There was the instance, too, when the MAX once screeched to a halt and my sleeping babe strapped-in-stroller was toppled and chucked a few feet down the car.

As an extension of our online conversations, we have had ongoing conversations with TriMet management and staff, in person, to discuss ways that we can make the system more family-friendly, more family-welcoming.

Well, they have taken some steps.  While arguably not the biggest institutional update, they added a visual that lets us know where we should roll with our babes in strollers.  Previously, the area near the bike hooks displayed a visual that only invited bikes to hang in that area.  Now, apparently, bikes, luggage, and strollers are all eligible occupants of the area.

I like it.  I think I will feel a little less ambiguous or aimless when I board MAX when I see signage that tells me where I might like to situate.  There is hearty conversation over at bikeportland.org regarding the new signs.

What do you think?  Do the signs make a difference?  Are they a good attempt to promote more riding among families?  Do these new visuals matter to you?

Comments

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Thanks for highlighting this, uM, and I'm thrilled to see these signs. Progress! As you say, not exactly a revolution, but a step. Or a stroller stride..... Also a very positive sign that our advocacy is working. There are plenty of frequent TriMet users with kids who need an allowed space to park their strollers. Great news, great work everybody - including Trimet.

yikes! just a reminder, take babies out of their strollers on buses and high-floor max trains. http://trimet.org/howtoride/kids.htm

i'm not sure if the visual makes a difference to me, i'm a daily trimet rider. i would still yield the bike hook to a person with a bike since it seems harder to find a good spot for a bike than a stroller.

I once had a crazy man scream at me in front of my terrified children, that I was not allowed to put the stroller where the bikes, went, and he banged the picture of the bikes as he yelled that the space was for bikes only. Not a soul, and the max was packed, did anything to defend me and it was actually a fairly awful experience. I had just been traveling in a really family friendly city (Stockholm) and the contrast was amazing and I remember thinking it was a ridiculous commentary on our city that a woman can't find a place to put a stroller on public transportation. I think this is a step in the right direction!

Marissa, thanks for pointing that out & linking to TriMet's family friendly section. TriMet actually wrote and created the family-friendly section after our earliest talks with them, as previously "family friendly riding" was nowhere to be found on their site. Another success in our eyes.

Wow, the vitrol over at Bike Portland is pretty astounding.

Kit, the behavior you describe is certainly a bit extreme, but I think it's fair enough to point out that Tri-Met is VERY strict about the fact that bikes ONLY belong in the bike area. I can understand someone being upset about having others take space that is not only designated for them, but is, in fact, the only option they have.

In my opinion, the most important part of taking TriMet (no matter who you are) is being courteous and considerate. This becomes harder when you're traveling with kids, but it is totally doable -- it just takes a little planning. When I know I'll be taking TriMet with my two-year-old (and we absolutely have to have the stroller) I make sure I bring our smaller, easily collapsable stroller. We get to the stop a few minutes early so that I can get her out and get the stroller folded up before our bus or train arrives. On the Max, there are lots of places to stash a folded up stroller. I still take up more room than I'd like to, but my experience has been that, if you are obviously trying your best to be considerate of others, people will cut you some slack. Since I try so hard to be a courteous passenger, it drives me crazy to see someone push on their gigantic stroller and "lock my wheels in the middle of the car." It is incredibly rude! Just because you have a baby doesn't give you the right to inconvenience everyone else and you make the rest of us traveling with kids look bad! So, ultimately, I don't think its necessary for TriMet to provide a special place for huge strollers -- just bring a collapsable stroller and you can go almost anywhere.

(And, for heaven's sake, don't leave your child in her stroller on a moving bus or train! It is TriMet policy that you take her out -- not to mention, common sense.)

I actually had no idea that it was Tri-Met policy to take a child our of their stoller when riding. I have ridden on max with my child once. I left her in the stroller. It seemed to me much safer than trying to hold a squirming toddler and hold on myself at the same time. I put the brakes on the stroller, and held on tight to it the whole time.

It was a packed max, and basically a really difficult experience. So, the long and the short of it is, I generally have a choice about driving or taking public tansportation, and I will likely not chose to take public transportation with children again, until mine are older.

I'm a proud dad of a now 3 1/2 year old that I take on public transportation all the time. I also ride my bike.

Personally I wish they would not have changed the signs. As another commenter put it - there are few places where you can put a bike; encouraging other people to use these spaces for other purposes is really a bad idea -- especially when those other uses (luggage, strollers, standing, etc) are not limited to the area of the hooks.

When it came to buying a stroller, I made a conscious decision to purchase one that would fold appropriately for public transportation (i.e. umbrella fold, not SUV fold). I would fold the stroller before bus/MAX arrival, and carry the stroller in one arm; and my fare + son in the other arm. Upon entering the bus/MAX I put the stroller underneath the folding seats. If under-seat storage was not available then I would hold it vertically between my legs.

This worked quite well, as long as you have an appropriate stroller.

if you're on a low-floor max (without stairs at the doors), it is not required to take your kids out of their stroller. i agree that it seems safer and like common sense, but it's not a trimet rule for that type of vehicles. we have been pretty much exclusively on trimet since my son turned two, and i also liked to get to the stop and pull him out of his stroller before the bus or max arrived so i wasn't the a-hole holding up the trip. now he is 5 so he walks on by himself. we are expecting a second child this year and we plan to do more baby wearing and less stroller lugging.

@kit as for the nut job that tried to keep your stroller out of the bike area, that sucks. please know that there aren't a lot of trimet riders who would act like that. if the train was packed, there must've been an event or it was rush hour? i personally have stood up for other mamas and usually people are totally helpful. maybe that dude had just intimidated those who might've stepped in. i dunno. i know it's difficult, but don't let one rotten apple spoil the whole bunch.

In Chicago, the CTA allows you to bring unfolded strollers on buses and trains when it isn't crowded. If the vehicle is crowded, they may ask parents to fold the stroller.

Their video about strollers -
http://www.youtube.com/CTAConnections#p/u/8/41AK1YjR7Ho

one mama's account of strollers on public transit in various cities. it was interesting to compare & contrast:
http://daily.sightline.org/2012/01/10/your-wheels-on-the-bus/?utm_source=Sightline+Newsletters&utm_campaign=58e1cd34bd-SightlineWeekly&utm_medium=email

Purchasing a stroller for your child can be extremely difficult particularly in case that the infant in your uterus is your first kid and you don't have any idea what to purchase and where to get the stroller for your child.

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