Strollers are overrunning Old Town


By Mike Ford, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

I think it’s about time that people begin dialing back this stroller issue a little. Everywhere I go, I see parents wheeling around children that are clearly old enough to walk, taking up entirely too much space with Humvee-sized strollers.

They block the sidewalks, aisles and doorways in stores and in restaurants, the Market Square and so on. And they have no shame about taking up more than their fair share of the planet, either.

I was in a Mexican restaurant and the parents just parked their giant stroller right in the passageway, wedging it between two tables, effectively cutting off access to the restrooms. In a coffee shop, a woman did the same thing before sitting her toddler, in diapers, on the table. She acted like everyone liked to eat off a table where a dirty diaper had been sitting.

I know that there are a lot of rude people in Old Town, but this is pushing the limit. Didn’t First Lady Michelle Obama say children are too fat and need exercise? Ditch the stroller and make them walk like mankind has been doing for centuries.

Exercise some good manners and let the rest of us get around you without having to turn sideways, bump into the stroller (which earns us dirty looks), bump into you, and generally be hassled just because you are teaching your children to be lazy. You can always take them to a late-night movie later where they will scream and cry if you want to be inconsiderate and rude.




  1. Why stop at strollers? Do you know what else is clogging up the sidewalks and precious access to restrooms? Old people, people with a BMI over 25+, tourists and people who walk too slow. It’s time for Alexandria to take a stand, a healthy stand, and demand that for the sanity and waistlines of our citizens and children, people stop entering public spaces if you have the following: kids, strollers, more than one dog, more than one handbag, a camera and dirty hands (because who wants to brush up against that).

    I commend our brave citizen, Mike Ford, for saying what all of us are thinking; forget patience (kids don’t need that lesson), forget empathy (I wonder if that Mom had something else on her mind than a hypoallergenic diaper touch a pristine coffee shop table), forget that you were once a small child, who may have inconvenienced adults. I need to get what I need now and if I don’t get it, I am going to write a literary tantrum.

  2. I think we need to address a different Old Town issue here, one that is just “under the surface” but is rarely spoken about – yes, I’m talking about dogs in strollers. How many times have I bent down to say hello to a small baby in a stroller only to find out that it was a dog? How many Old Town dogs are getting fat because they are not walking. It is well known in dog “circles” that dogs whine. They whine about all sorts of things – treats, going-out-back, treats, etc. We should not give in to this whining and let dogs push us around and demand that we push them around. Let’s stop the dog stroller movement now.

    On the hypoallergenic diaper. I agree, I don’t know what the beef is with such diapers on eating surfaces – such diapers, “loaded” or otherwise, are not a worry as long as they mitigate my hay fever. I think we should adjust our cultural sensitivities as some cultures don’t use diapers at all. For example, I believe some Chinese parents utilize “split-pants” (please Google) to teach toilet training. This may be something that the City Council could undertake, right after they consider the resolution to condemn the latest violence in Iraq and certain farming practices.

    • Hey, its a free country and thats what i like about it, so people are free to write and speak as they want unlike Russia and many other places. That said, if you can’t come up with a more intelligent retort than ‘douchebag’ then your no better/

  3. I have…wait for it…a double stroller!!! Can you believe it??? It takes up the entire sidewalk.

    And this is by far the most ridiculous LTE I’ve ever read.

    We use our stroller daily to take our two-year-old and one-year-old to parks, cafes, restaurants and shops up and down King Street and around Alexandria from our house in Rosemont. My children aren’t lazy – they just simply can’t walk as far as adults. That’s why strollers were invented.

    You sound like an old person. Or you don’t have kids. Or both. Get over it.

  4. Do you feel the same way about people who need to use motorized scooters, walkers, or wheelchairs to get around Old Town? Have you ever tried pushing a stroller around Old Town with a toddler inside? The sidewalks are so uneven, I feel like I need to use all-terrain tires on my stroller. Would you rather I carry around my child in a papoose on my back and then use my arms to carry my child’s snacks, water and change of clothing? Don’t you think that would take up more space on the sidewalk? I think that there are more important things for you to complain about. I see an uncomfortable encounter of a strollercade of outraged infants, toddlers and parents coming your way.

  5. Regarding strollers, dogs in strollers, dogs on leashes, etc.

    Though I laughed when I read the letter in the paper, to a point, I had to agree. The same complaint can be said about people with dogs who love to keep them on extendable leashes and then get mad when asked to rein in the leash. I do not care if Fifi/Fido is nice. If your dog is scaring my kid or is in my way, then move your pooch.

    I have been a parent with two kids in a stroller. I also am a dog owner. When my kids were in a stroller (or one was walking and one was “strolling”) my husband and I paid close attention to whether or not we were slowing down others, and did our best to stay out of the way. Now, we do the same with our dog.

    Too many parents and dog owners have taken on a my-way-or-the-highway mentality. Before anyone jumps on the bandwagon of “my children are not the same as dogs,” I completely agree.

    This is a community. Everyone has different needs and expectations. Being a good neighbor is key. Fold up your stroller or tuck it away the best that you can. Keep Fifi or Fido on a short leash. Stop taking requests as a personal affront. It is not about you.

    Every citizen with grown kids has been in your shoes. We found ways to make ourselves less obtrusive during the two-three years when our kids needed be on wheels. In my opinion, the Fifi/Fido owners are more obtrusive because their pets’ leash needs do not change.

    Stroller-parents, this is a temporary issue. In a few years, you will be equally irritated by strollers, unruly kids in restaurants, etc. It is a process of evolution. With that, the “parents” of Fifi and Fido will be around for the ages. Does anyone else recall the great battle over dog access to the water at Windmill Hill Park?

  6. Hold on- there is a valid point about strollers blocking aisles, exits, etc. It’s a safety hazard. A little courtesy goes a long way. Leave strollers outside, as one would a bicycle. Things with dirty wheels do not belong indoors. And don’t put diapers on an eating surface. You wouldn’t sit on a restaurant table in your underwear. Keep your small children on your lap. Yes, I am a parent and I love little kids. I’ve been there.