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Old 06-28-2009, 08:03 PM
 
157 posts, read 407,548 times
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hello all

My wife and I will relocate to Boston area later this summer. I will be doing PhD and she will be working at downtown area. We plan to buy a condo/apartment

We've been living in Ohio for a long time, we both have a car and can not live without them for one single day. so My question is: what kind of transportation shall we use after we move to Boston? shall we rely on the T for daily commute to school/work or keep the cars and drive? what are up and downs?
---We have no kids and do want to enjoy the urban life style. (excited to move out from Ohio)

This might be a silly question to a lot of you, but please feel free to drop down any comments, or if there is already a thread about this, please redirect!

thanks tons.
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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For many people, a major part of the urban lifestyle is living car-free. There are some parts of the city where having a car isn't a problem (parts of Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville, South Boston, Jamaica Plain), but there are other areas where it is an enormous pain, if not impossible (Beacon Hill, Back Bay, North End, South End). Here are the cons: Parking is the main issue. In many neighborhoods, you would have to rent a parking spot, which gets very expensive. Additionally, car insurance in MA is known to be higher than in other states. Finally, Boston drivers can be terrible and navigating in the city can be really difficult. Pros: Certain neighborhoods are more accommodating to car owners and if parking is included it's great! I honestly haven't met a single couple living in Boston proper without kids who have two cars! Essentially, anything you could think of doing in the city doesn't require a car. For the times when you might need one (like making big furniture purchases or driving out of state for a day trip) Zipcar is a great option!

That said, your public transit options depend on where you'll be going to school and where you want to live. The neighborhood you choose will depend largely on your budget, what kind of place you want (apartment in a large building, or in a multi-family home), and what kind of "vibe" you are looking for. T ridership is huge and the system extends well beyond the city limits, so many people rely on it for the daily commute and even as their only source of transportation.
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,681 posts, read 11,896,336 times
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Many people opt to get rid of their cars when moving into the inner city neighborhoods of Boston. Between the severe parking problems, the very high insurance rates and the crime its just not worth the bother. With that said its a matter of choice. Some prefer to own cars, but I think without a personal parking space its back again to the car becoming a burden.

I guess what you need to do is figure where your residence is going to be and where your daily duties will be and go from there. Is your bldg going to provide you with a parking space? Are you going to be forced to rent or purchase a parking spot. Let me tell you people pay thousands of dollars to purchase a parking space because of the lack of them. In many ways taking public transit which is so abundant and even walking in many respects beats the travel time in a car. I would really think it thru if owning a car in Boston is worth your time and money. Of course its nice to have one for errands and shopping outside the city. Its nice to have one for a drive to the suburbs or the Cape or New Hampshire, but its the daily grind of owning one in such a difficult inner city setting such as Boston is.

If you do decide to go carless in Boston you can always rent as many people do when they are going to need a car.

Also I don't know if your familiar with the unique car insurance environment of Massachusetts. Most major companies will not operate in the state because the insurance rates and rules are heavily regulated by the state. Most likely your current insurer will not insure you in Mass, and in Boston itself it is very common to pay over $2000 a year for car insurance. There just is next to nothing for competion and the rates are reflective of that lack of competion. The rates are regulated by the state, and that is why most companies will not operate in the state, not even Geico. I believe there has been some changes in how the state is dealing with the insurance, but relatives have told me so far only Progressive has shown up.

Get yourself a Charlie Pass and ride the plentiful transit that Boston has, it will be easier and alot cheaper than worrying about car ownership in the Boston environment.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:13 AM
 
157 posts, read 407,548 times
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RemiJP and Jimrob1, thanks for your info. it's great help!

We are kinda leaning towards the inner areas of the city (Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, JP). How long is a typical commute time to downtown if we live close to a train station? Also, is there any general difference between living north or south of the Charles river? Is there certain "bad area" to avoid?

Lastly, about the cars, looks like the most we can do is keeping one car. And that scary insurance situation---how feasible is it to keep our Ohio sticker/insurance policy while we live there?

Thanks again!
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:37 AM
 
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You are probably going to have to switch over to Massachusetts tags/stickers simply because in many of the inner areas of metro Boston, "resident" parking stickers are required to park on the street. And for those, you need to have MA registration, etc.

The length of your commute really depends on where you are, where you're going, how far from the station, which station, what time of day, etc...could be 10 minutes, could be more like 40. It all just depends.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:35 AM
 
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I've lived in Cambridge, Back Bay and JP. In Cambridge, my wife and I shared one car and used it a couple times a month for day trips or trips to Target, etc. We sold it when we moved to the Back Bay and used Zip Car when needed. We bought a car again after about a year in JP and are glad to have the option to go the beach, go hiking, etc. without thinking about Zipcar fees. Parking is also much easier in JP than Cambridge or Back Bay. As a previous poster mentioned, there is no need to have two cars, our one car sits unused most of the time.

As far as the time of our commutes to downtown Boston, back bay was about 15 minutes via the Green Line (or a 30 minute walk), JP is about 20 minutes on the Orange Line, and Cambridge was 20-30 minutes on Red Line. These times include walking to the T, so it obviously depends on how far of a walk you have and which stop you get on. Somerville can be a real pain and take forever if you aren't a close walk to the Red Line, it can take 45 minutes + to commute 2 miles in rush hour (bus to train). In Brookline you'll have to rent a parking spot because there is no overnight parking. It can take a long time depending on where you get on the Green Line, also you have to wait outside for the train. I would go with JP, Cambridge or Brookline.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:02 AM
 
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Will your wife actually be working Downtown? Keep in mind that is the name for a specific neighborhood; it's not used as generally as it often is in smaller cities/towns (where it describes the major urban core). So your commute questions do depend on if she is actually working Downtown, or someplace like Copley Square.I'm another car-free person who gets around via the T, Zipcar, walking and the occasional cab. I do not miss having a car one bit.What is your budget for housing and what sort of amenities do you require? That is going to dictate your options more than anything.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:50 AM
 
157 posts, read 407,548 times
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redpanda, jad, Cantabridgienne, again thanks for the replies.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabridgienne View Post
What is your budget for housing and what sort of amenities do you require? That is going to dictate your options more than anything.
I agree this is the huge factor... I wanted to go step by step, our budget is probably around 350-400k, and hoping to get something like 2br with 1.5-2 bath, (some nice condo or apartment, we don't have kids so school district dont matter), what do you guys think? Does condo/apt in JP usually come with a parking spot? Jad looks like you have lot of experience living in the inner areas... how much did your place cost in each area? What is the majority condo/apt like? low raise, high raise?

any feedback is appreciated! thanks

Last edited by zoo_x; 06-29-2009 at 12:19 PM..
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,681 posts, read 11,896,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoo_x View Post
RemiJP and Jimrob1, thanks for your info. it's great help!

We are kinda leaning towards the inner areas of the city (Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, JP). How long is a typical commute time to downtown if we live close to a train station? Also, is there any general difference between living north or south of the Charles river? Is there certain "bad area" to avoid?

Lastly, about the cars, looks like the most we can do is keeping one car. And that scary insurance situation---how feasible is it to keep our Ohio sticker/insurance policy while we live there?

Thanks again!
You can keep your Ohio plates and insurance for I guess 30 days after you take residence. With the large amount of out of state plates I have seen in Boston with all the students, its anyone's guess how its enforced.

As mentioned you will need to get those resident stickers to park on the street in the neighborhood you live in. I know for me I could not stand to own a car in Boston, but that's me. I think you are going to have to play it by ear, and see how it works for you and your wife. Definitely going to one car is a smart move, than having to deal with two cars. Try out the one car, and see how all of this dealing with a car in Boston will work for the both of you.

The insurance companies at least the two main ones seem to be Commerce and Arbella Insurance. There are a few others but definitely not the big boys such as State Farm, Allstate and its competitors. You can take care of the insurance once you are in town a month or so. I wouldn't worry about not being uninsured in Mass as you settle in. Definitely ask your present Insurer about their recommendations for changing over to a Mass Insurance company. It will all work out, people move into Boston from all over the country and the world every day.

Best of Luck. There's alot to see and do in Boston and New England you will enjoy it.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:28 PM
 
284 posts, read 1,022,020 times
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Many apartments in Jamaica Plain come with a parking spot, but not all. It's really common for parking to be very, very tight though, much like a puzzle. We gave a copy of our key to our neighbor in case we had to block them in.
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