Reader Steve Gibson responds to In Defense of Seattle's Kid-Friendliness.
A rough interpretation of how the author says he and his family were treated in Seattle.
"My son was born in Seattle and we moved to St. Louis when he was almost three, after spending 10 years in West Seattle and Kirkland.
"Funny that the author thinks that the fact that no one would want to live in St. Louis city with kids is notable. Seeing that St. Louis city is only about 15% of the area population, that's like saying you wouldn't live in downtown or the central district with kids.
"If you do, you send your kids to a private school, just like the 25% of people in the St. Louis metro area that do regardless of whether their public school is highly rated or not. And you can afford to send them to a private school - since your 4 bedroom house cost about half of what it would in Seattle. Oh, and that comes with a nice yard and neighbors who also have kids.""Frankly, a major reason why my wife and I left Seattle was that it was very unfriendly to families. The neighborhood parks were always dirty and unclean and a wasteland for playground equipment (wherever you went). You also never knew what kind of paraphenalia they would pick up off the ground.
"People would scowl at my son for anything he would do at whatever coffee shop or grocery store I was at, or have waiters be visibly irritated when we came through the door. Daycare was very expensive and cramped and people spent so much time in their cars in traffic jams you had no family time.
"Even if you got home at 6:30, you had to take a half an hour to calm down from the commute. That gives you maybe an hour with your kids before bedtime starts.
"Comparing that to St. Louis, where there are ten parks within 2 miles with magnitudes better playground equipment (even waterparks - the public pool and a local YMCA have waterslides) and many, many kid-friendly things to do that don't cost very much, if anything at all. The Zoo is free and better than Woodland Park in my opinion. Same with the St. Louis Science Center.
"And there is a kids event almost every weekend from April to October. And it takes 20 minutes to get just about anywhere, including time to park, which is usually free. And people go to all these places all the time with their kids and have a good time. Not "quality time" but plain old have a good time kind of time.
"But the main thing is cultural - people expect that you have kids and no one treats you with contempt because you are a breeder, like they seemed to do in Seattle. Kids are everywhere here and no one bats an eye.
"Bottom line, make fun of the Midwest all you want, but moving here was the best thing I could do for my family. I have three more hours a day with my kids (every day) since I am not in traffic, the people are friendlier and most like kids and don't treat them with contempt. In comparision, Seattle is just about the bottom of the list for raising a family. All stress and no reward."