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View Poll Results: Should I Stay in NoVA or Move to Pittsburgh? Why?
Pittsburgh 38 62.30%
NoVA 23 37.70%
Voters: 61. You may not vote on this poll

Old 10-31-2010, 01:31 PM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,617 posts, read 65,648,793 times
Reputation: 15060


I've personally lived in Fairfax County, VA for the past year-and-a-half and am in the process of relocating to Pittsburgh, but many Pittsburgh transplants to NoVA have advised me both on and off this sub-forum NOT to do it. I have been very unhappy living here in NoVA for the following reasons:

1.) There is no "bang-for-your-buck" factor. I pay nearly $1,200/month for a 1-BR apartment 20 miles outside The District in a "family-oriented" Stepford-feeling suburb. This apartment was built around 1970 and has maintenance-related issues out the wazoo. On a limited salary it has been very trying to justify paying over 50% of my net income to keep a shabby roof over my head, and I refuse to consider compromising my privacy to get roommates just to live in suburban sprawl that can be found anywhere else in America.

2.) Congestion. I live 7 miles from my office, but it can (and often does) take me 45 minutes to one hour to get there. My parents came down to visit Columbus Day Weekend, and we were stuck in two very long traffic jams on the WEEKEND. NoVA has the nation's second-worst gridlock, and there are sub-par measures being taken to address this as the population here continues to swell. Improvements cost money, and there are many "tea party" NIMBYs here who refuse to entertain tax increases, even for direly-needed infrastructural improvements that would curb congestion, lowering stress levels, improving health, and giving people more time to spend with loved ones. My own suburb is finally getting a Metrorail line in a few years, but it should have had one 20 years ago.

3.) Quality of people. NoVA is probably the most well-educated and "worldly" part of the country. I'm undereducated with a Bachelor of Science degree and plan to pursue my Master's Degree next year. People here are very articulate and can speak intelligently about any important issue. However, being such a "smart" area has also attracted many selfish and DRIVEN people here, many of whom are so obssessed and stressed over their own personal career growth that they care very little about anyone but themselves and would think nothing of throwing their next of kin under a bus to get themselves ahead in life. I was the victim of this here several times already, and instead of listening to people here in NoVA who tell me I need to "grow a thicker skin" or become MORE "dog-eat-dog" I've decided I don't want to compromise my own ethical values in how I view and treat others just to get somewhere---anywhere---in my life. I know a lot of white-collars here who look down on blue-collars. I know a lot of white-collars here who claim to be "progressive" but harbor latent racist views. I'm from a blue-collar area and always had blue-collar friends, so I don't like to be around people who look down upon those who don't have a college degree, and there are quite a few of those types here. One can be educated without being conceited, but many in NoVA didn't get that memo.

4.) Cost-of-housing. With my dream home, a small 2-BR/1-BA older home with character on a small lot, typically costing $400,000+ in decent neighborhoods in NoVA, how can a permanently single middle-class person ever hope to purchase it in a decent timeframe? I have two friends who have each just bought outdated 1-BR condos in sketchy neighborhoods, likely hoping to keep trading up over the years as they build equity and are finally able to afford buying their "dream" homes, but why wait until age 35 or 40, for example, to buy decent housing as a non-affluent single person when you can buy a nice home at age 25 in many other cities?

5.) Sprawl. There is no "local flavor" here. The area is rapidly-growing and very transient in nature, and, therefore, it has no roots. There are tons of cul-de-sacs that are named after the trees that the homes lining them replaced during their construction, big-box stores surrounded by seas of asphalt, very wide roadways, strip malls, etc. A few "faux" town centers (i.e. Reston Town Center, Dulles Town Center, Fairfax Corner, etc.) have been built here to try to replicate the "downtown of yesteryear" and serve as a community focal point, but all fail miserably to deliver that. I suppose more than anything I resent the lack of "community cohesion" here. Most just move here for a job. That's it.

With that being said I've done extensive research into Pittsburgh and find that, overall, while it, too, has these same five problems in its metro area, all are evident at a FRACTION of the magnitude that they exist here in NoVA.

1.) I can earn nearly the same salary in Pittsburgh as I can in NoVA, and yet the cost-of-living is much lower, which means I would improve my overall standard-of-living.

2.) "Traffic" to Pittsburghers is whining about having to sit for a few minutes at the entrance to a tunnel. I've NEVER been stuck in traffic in Pittsburgh that was anything remotely near to what we endure in NoVA.

3.) Pittsburghers are more "salt of the earth" types. It's a historically blue-collar city that now has roughly 1/3 college graduates, so it has struck a better balance between both. You have some elitist windbags in some East End neighborhoods and some homophobic inbred "yinzers" in some of the more distressed neighborhoods, but by and large most people I've met fall into a healthy spectrum in the middle---"live and let live", able to talk about foreign affairs while also painting their faces half-black and half-yellow for a Steelers party, etc. It seems like the type of place where I would belong. I never found a niche in NoVA, and in the end I just felt unwanted, detested, and very much alone.

4.) My dream house in the city of Pittsburgh is only $94,500. Crafton Heights, Pa 15205 home with no address listed - Homes for Sale - MLS #843788 - Realtor.com® Someone find me a home like this in NoVA for that price. Go ahead. Show me. That price gets you a questionable 1-BR condo here.

5.) Pittsburgh has a horrible urban sprawl epidemic, too (see Cranberry Township), but most suburbs (i.e. Sewickley, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Baldwin, Wilkinsburg, Sharpsburg, Avalon, Coraopolis, Beaver, etc.) have walkable elements to them whereas the few NoVA suburbs that have this are all very cost-prohibitive (i.e. Vienna, Falls Church, Arlington, Alexandria). When I think of NoVA I think of Tysons Corner. That doesn't sit well with me.

Can anyone please tell me why I should not move to Pittsburgh? The people who grew up there and then moved to NoVA all seem to love NoVA and HATE Pittsburgh (a few on this forum and several in real life I've spoken to about my plans). What am I missing? If I can make a comparable salary and improve my standard of living via a much lower cost-of-living, find more down-to-earth people who aren't so career-, status-, and image-conscious, afford my own dream home at age 25 vs. age 35-40 in NoVA, live in a walkable and sustainable urban neighborhood vs. a sprawling mess, etc., then why shouldn't I?

Last edited by CaseyB; 11-04-2010 at 01:17 PM.. Reason: discussing moderation
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:30 PM
Location: East Coast of the United States
15,665 posts, read 18,211,833 times
Reputation: 11164
NoVa's location in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is one good reason to prefer NoVa. I do like Pittsburgh. It's a nice and scenic Appalachian city. However, Washington, D.C. is simply a larger (twice as large) and higher tier city than Pittsburgh. And the D.C. metro area's close proximity to Baltimore is a whole other desireable feature. These are just a few advantages of staying in NovA and are some things to consider.

Last edited by BigCityDreamer; 10-31-2010 at 10:04 PM..
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:56 AM
3,164 posts, read 5,984,814 times
Reputation: 1264
Of course I didn't read the entire post, it's much too long, but I definitely vote for Pittsburgh. You're miserable in NOVA, so why stay? Didn't your job get transferred there? Wouldn't that mean that you have to move there, or find a new job?
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:27 AM
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,052,123 times
Reputation: 42834
Although I personally prefer Northern Virginia, there's no way I'd suggest you cancel your move to Pittsburgh.

You've been talking about moving to Pittsburgh for more than a year, so you've had ample time to think about this. You've repeatedly stated how unhappy you are in VA and repeatedly posted your arguments about why you'd feel more comfortable in Pittsburgh. Read one of your old threads if you're getting a last minute case of cold feet. If you never make this move you'll always wonder what it would have been like.

Most importantly, the gears have already been put in motion. You're committed to a job transfer that was made weeks ago. If you change your plans now you'll tick your boss off and hurt your future employment.

So don't change your plans now. Make the move, and here's hoping Pittsburgh is a better fit for you.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:11 PM
Location: Gainesville, VA
1,259 posts, read 4,955,580 times
Reputation: 718
Move... move far far away.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:15 PM
Location: East Coast of the United States
15,665 posts, read 18,211,833 times
Reputation: 11164
Don't be miserable no matter where you live.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:44 PM
2,531 posts, read 5,321,556 times
Reputation: 1263
Yes, please make that move. You've made it quite clear how miserable and unhappy you are in Northern VA in thread after thread after thread after thread, and when people made suggestions about finding a roommate or finding other neighborhoods so you could move closer towards the District, you balked and made borderline racial comments. So I think you'll be much happier somewhere else. Hopefully, you'll find what you're looking for in Pittsburgh. But remember, wherever you go, there you are.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:52 PM
Location: Morgantown, WV
978 posts, read 1,861,512 times
Reputation: 958
It's a good move, Pittsburgh is pretty much the exact opposite of NOVA in terms of the average person and what it is overall. It's nowhere near as cosmopolitan and the ammenities will take a dive...but it sounds like you know what you're doing and that you're looking for what Pittsburgh offers. The only real problem is that you're probably going to at some point become frustrated with the "Yinzers" who are truly some 5 decades behind the times, and the city's traffic is bad mainly because construction takes place 24/7 12 months a year and our roadways are very antiqued and overall crazy due to the topography. There will never be a time when you can simply point your car in the dirrection of a place that you would like to go and arrive at said location just by driving in its dirrection...it's total insanity and a burden for anybody who's new to the area. Other than that, yeah you sound like you'd be very happy with Pittsburgh. It's a nice place and very non-cookie cutter and without big city hassels if that makes any sense. Salary wise, a 350 SQFT hole in the wall rental in NOVA located some 15 miles from DC equals a 2.5 story/garage 2,500+ SQFT home in downtown Pittsburgh. If you're making anything comparable, you could easily go from scraping by in NOVA to living it up in Pittsburgh.

Last edited by TelecasterBlues; 11-01-2010 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:16 PM
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,253,389 times
Reputation: 18984
Well I voted for you to continue with your move, especially since you've already made so many arrangements. Don't derail your move to Pittsburgh or worry about what other people on city-data think. Nova is my idea of paradise, but Pittsburgh may be paradise for someone else. It's a nice city and you'll be fine. The worst that can happen is you'll find out it isn't quite what you may have idealized it to be (but few things are). If you hate it you can always move somewhere else. Give it a try.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:33 PM
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
12,994 posts, read 17,117,737 times
Reputation: 14300
Pittsburgh is like Philadelphia in two ways:

1. It's a city in Pennsylvania.
2. Many of its natives share an irrational self-loathing streak.

I've seriously never seen anything like it in any other state. If those people want to find a nasty phenomenon that's exclusive to Pennsylvania, then they need to look in the goddamn mirror. (Of course, they have too much phony pride to ever do that.)
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