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Old 05-21-2009, 12:05 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,942,054 times
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Your T tipster's info is off; the 101 bus route follows a parabolic line between Malden Center and Wellington. It runs to the southwest out of Malden, then at Medford Square turns southeastward. You would have to make a transfer in Medford Square, but either the 94 or 96 bus would then take you to and along the eastern boundary of the Tufts campus.
More often than not, the buses adhere pretty closely to their schedules. What I'd be on the lookout for is any long lag time between the 101 and the other routes, and for reduction in service frequency during off-peak times. A good number of the "suburban" lines only operate hourly after 7 PM or so, but the 89 is somewhat better throughout the day.
All of this translates into a commute lasting roughly a half hour to 45 minutes, or in some cases - say after 10 at night - considerably longer. So keep your laptop with you for getting work done.
The Medford Hillside and West Medford neighborhoods, as well as East Arlington, are a manageable walking distance from campus and would have rentals available at fairly reasonable rates. The aforementioned 94 bus line traverses these sections of Medford, while the 96 runs east from campus to Main St thence to Medford Square. The 89 originates at Alewife Brook Parkway, on the Somerville/Arlington boundary, a "hop skip and jump" from East Arlington. All three routes converge at the Powderhouse rotary that marks the start of Tufts' real estate, with the 94 and 96 continuing right to Davis Square.
Those sections of Medford and Arlington are considerably quieter then Malden Center, so might prove more suitable for a 3-year-old eager to play and wander around outside.
Visit mbta.com for bus schedules and maps. You'll notice that you can even plot a Point A to Point B commute on that site.
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:08 AM
Location: Boston area
68 posts, read 156,066 times
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I'm from Malden originally. Sad to say, heroin addiction has really taken hold there. I lived near the Malden Station for about a half a year, and was disgusted with the trash and needles I'd find while walking my dogs - ironically, I never had/have that problem here in Lynn (I'm in the Diamond District - what I think is the nicest part of the city).

It's so very sad to me - my son has been to way too many funerals for former classmates.

I do visit occasionally, and I feel perfectly safe walking around the square, though. I'm looking for an apartment now (def. getting out of Lynn), and would go back in a heartbeat if I felt that this would turn around. I love the multi-cultural aspect of the area, and there are SO many really neat restaurants in Malden, now.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:00 PM
45 posts, read 252,370 times
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We've just returned from a quick weekend visit and we're still not sure what to do. The area around Tufts (West Somerville and Hillside) is quiet and nice (though we're not sure how much this would change during the school year). It's a bit away from the "action" from what we can tell, 1+ mile from Teele/Davis and Medford Square. There are some shops on Boston Ave. that have the basics. The main advantage would be proximity to campus and a nice, quiet neighborhood.

The Malden neighborhood where we would be renting didn't seem all that different. The house is incredible - working fireplace and all. Once you get to Malden Center, it does become more urban - nothing that made us fear for lives like in North Philadelphia (though we didn't really have too much time to walk around). This area seems to be in transition but the question is in which direction?

We're not really under the gun to sign a lease since one is owned by the family of a good friend and they're not in a rush to rent, while the other is faculty housing. Our current lease does end in August so we would like to decide by September! Argh.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:20 PM
406 posts, read 1,320,146 times
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Hey, I have good friends from Northeast Philly!

I've said my piece, but as far as which direction, I know that I've met with 5 real estate agents in the past 2 weeks and 4 of them said something to the effect of "Thank GOD you didn't buy in Malden...properties there are worth half what they were 3 years ago".

Again, it's fine, but I think you'll get a better family vibe in the Tufts area. And that far off from campus, it shouldn't be too raucous. We're actually in Davis Square very often (our toddler is now addicted to burritos from Anna's Taqueria...got one tonight in fact!) and even during the school year it never feels too raucous to me...it's no Allston. Parking can be a pain right in the square, but otherwise there are just generally more people around during the school year, especially during the warmer months.

I'm sure you'll be fine whatever you decide.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:10 PM
Location: Glenside, PA
48 posts, read 158,281 times
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Dont worry repanda, Northeast Philly (perfectly fine) and North Philly (bad) are two vastly different animals.

But that's neither here nor there.

Just to weigh in with my two cents on Malden, whether or not it ends up being right for you cowcat. We've lived here for 10 months smack dab in Malden Center, only a block away from the T station, and safety is not a concern for us. The police station is right across the street from the T station and in our relatively short time here I've never so much as been asked for spare change. While I'm sure there are drug addicts around, I can't attest to seeing needles on the streets or in parks, much less on a regular basis. I do agree that the parks leave MUCH to be desired, and yeah they probably wouldn't be the first choice to have a young child rolling around in the grass there (we have an infant), although I don't consider them terrible by any stretch. The Fellsmere Pond (west of the Center) in particular is nice to walk around.

If your question is which direction the city is heading, my opinion would be that it is heading in a positive direction. There are a handful of newish "luxury" apartment buildings in the Center which market to young families and Tufts students, and the city I believe is planning on using stimulus cash to make improvements to Pleasant St (the main commercial street right off Malden Sq), and a new Senior Center and a Mass. Dept of Education building have just recently been completed on Pleasant St. With a few "hip" restaurants around as well, it's clear that people are investing in this neighborhood.

Is it my dream neighborhood? No, not as it exists today. But, like you, this is a short-term situation for us before we buy somewhere, and it certainly meets our present needs. Whether or not you choose Malden or the faculty housing, you might look into Zipcar (I swear I dont work for them), the car-sharing company. Members have access to any car in the system, scattered throughout all the neighborhoods of Boston and several suburbs, and Malden as well as the Tufts area are pretty well covered with available cars. Very easy to use and very convenient. It might be a nice supplement to the single car your family owns.

Anyway, hope that helps at all. Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:25 AM
406 posts, read 1,320,146 times
Reputation: 233
nikmasteed--I meant that as a "Hey, neat, my friends are from that area" sort of tone, not a "Hey, don't talk about my friends' hometown" tone.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:24 PM
45 posts, read 252,370 times
Reputation: 27
Both of you have been a big help. I think this one will come down to the wire since it's really an apples to oranges comparison despite being only a couple miles apart. We can imagine being happy about many things with either, and at the same time being unhappy about certain things, often in diametrical opposition. It's difficult to say at this point what strengths we would value above others and what cons we would particularly despise - cost, proximity to T, proximity to work, playgrounds, shopping, restaurants, etc. - without experiencing it firsthand. Any highly-educated, young professionals in their late 20s with a 3 year old ever ponder the two and break down what ended being the most important factors?
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