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Old 01-12-2012, 10:13 AM
 
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Hi

My girlfriend will move to KC in February for 5 months (a work sabatical) and she has the option of an apartment on Madison Avenue in what looks to be the Westpoint area of KCMO. We are not from the US, let alone KC, so if anyone could give any advice on this neighbourhood in terms of safety for a girl living alone etc that would be greatly appreciated. I have read a couple of comments on other forums about stabbings and shootings in this area which doesn't sound too promising but a central location is otherwise attractive. Other options provided by her company's agent is in Zona Rosa and also Stonepost Ranch, West 136th, Overland Park. Any comments on these areas would also be fantastic. Many thanks
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
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It's Westport and it's one of the biggest destination neighborhoods in Kansas City. It's a walkable neighborhood filled with great bars, several good restaurants and neighborhood amenities like a grocery store and hardware store within walking distance. The apartments on Madison, City Place, are well kept and secure and centrally located to everything the neighborhood has to offer. A dear friend of mine lived alone there when she was living in the Kansas City area and she never had any problems at all. I too lived in Wesport though in a different complex and with my male SO.

As with any destination neighborhood, there will be some crime, but violent crime like you posted is really quite rare. If walkability and central location are important, Westport is definitely tops on the list. Zona Rosa and South Overland Park will both be significantly more suburban in nature than Wesport. It'll really come down to where she's most comfortable, but if I were working in the center city anywhere I wouldn't want to live in South OP -- traffic can be pretty difficult on 35 (though depending on where you're living now and what you're used to it's hard to say how you'd find it). Zona Rosa has some nice suburban shopping and is easy distance to the airport, but it will be a significant morning commute to the city if she has to do that.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:33 AM
 
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Brilliant, thanks very much for the quick reply - although you'd think I could at least get the name of the neighbourhood right! I believe the apartments are called 45 Madison and seem to lie in the middle of a triangle between West Plaza and Plaza Westport and Country Club Plaza (as far as google maps tells me). So to you this would be a relatively safe area which offers a lot in terms of cafes/bars/entertainment etc (we currently live in Berlin so it's not like we're not used to seeing some levels of crime)? She'll actually be working in Shawnee Mission - if most of the traffic is heading into the city center how long do you think a rush hour commute from Madison Avenue to Shawnee Mission might take? And would Zona Rosa or South Overland Park present any better/worse a commute? Again, thanks in advance for any advice you can offer
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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45 Madison is between/West side of Plaza/Westport and is a reasonably safe area for city living - closer to Plaza than Westport actually. My single sister lived near that apt building with no issues. Car breakins can happen if you leave something in car but I believe 45 Madision has garages for every unit. As a whole anywhere in US, a single girl does need to be more aware of surroundings/situation living in the city compared to the burbs. Another older sister lived in Berlin for 7 years then came to KC and lived on the Plaza for a few years. She didn't feel unsafe in KC and didn't have a car, which was more challenging than safety concerns but doable since she worked/lived in city core.

There are a lot of touristy restaurants/cafes/movies/bookstore and plenty of shopping on the Plaza just a few blocks walk and a good number of ethnic eats, pubs, indie movies in Westport. Westport can have issues late at night (after 11PM on weekends) but is fine otherwise. I also live between Westport/Plaza - great location with access to both.

The two suburban locations mentioned are pretty far away from Shawnee Mission and are highly car dependent for anything to do. If she wants suburbia, would go for 135th otherwise.

A car will definitely be needed if working in Shawnee Mission. Here's a city guide for context along the Main St bus line. 45 Madison is about 6 or so blocks W of the Plaza stop in the below diagram, and 2 blocks North.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1238514/pics/bus/maxmwk.gif

Also see..
http://www.countryclubplaza.com/
http://www.westportkc.com/all.php#eats

Last edited by xenokc; 01-12-2012 at 11:24 AM..
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
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Oh I do know which apartments those are then -- a little farther walk from Westport proper.

If I were going to work in Shawnee Mission that would immediately knock the Zona Rosa property out of contention for me unless I just straight fell in love with the place and felt I could be happy no where else. That would be a significant commute. The one from South Overland Park would still be nothing to scoff at and the Westport location is definitely the easiest -- it's hard to say exactly how long because Shawnee Mission encompasses a huge area. Anywhere from 10-30 minutes would be about right.


Will she have a chance to visit before deciding or is this one of those sigh-unseen kind of things?
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:27 AM
 
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xenokc, many thanks for your response and for the city guide. It sounds like Madison may be the best option all round given what's on the doorstep as well as it's proximity to where she'll be working. She will have a car but the 20 mile commute from Zona Rosa doesn't sound ideal and it's really a question of whether Overland Park would provide enough to do nearby in evenings etc. So around Plaza/Westport is there a lot on offer in terms of smaller, independent shops, cafes, cinemas, theatre or, if not, which other parts of town might have these? And is Westport one of the better areas for bars and general nightlife?

aragx6, unfortunately she won't have the chance to view any of the apartments ahead of moving in so in some ways it's a bit of a gamble. At the same time it's only for 5 months so if the apartment itself isn't the best that isn't such a big problem - knowing that the surrounding area is safe and offers a few different things to do within walking distance is definitely more important. You also say that it's a bit further away from 'Westport proper' - within which streets does Westport itself lie? Is it what's labelled on google maps as Old Westport (kinda between Summit and Broadway and W39th and W43rd?)

Also, would either of you say that any of the surrounding neighbourhoods such as Volker, Valentine, South Plaza offer something different from Plaza/Westport and would be worth a visit?
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
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The "heart" of Westport is right around the intersection of Westport Rd. and Pennsylvania -- that's where the most bars, restauarants etc. will be. There's a nice little indie movie theater right there called the Tivoli. Essentially nothing in Westport is a chain (except a new frozen yogurt place) so if she prefers independent stuff, Westport is a great place to be. The Plaza offers more of the chain experience -- like PF Chang's and the Cheesecake Factory.

Volker is my 'hood. It's got a fun vibe and is walking distance (or a very easy bike ride) from Westport. Room 39 on 39th St has excellent brunches and even when we lived in Westport there were many a Saturday we headed up this way. The rental stock is, as a rule, much more "vintage"

South Plaza has beautiful homes and a fair amount of rentals near UMKC, but not a ton of interesting retail. Valentine also has lovely (often huge) homes but the area doesn't have much within walking distance and is a touch sketchier and there are more run-down apartments.

Frankly, my guess is she'd be wildly bored out in Overland Park by herself. You're right; there isn't much to do and she'll have to drive everywhere.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:18 PM
 
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Sounds like she'll tend to hang out in Westport or W39th rather than Plaza but Plaza is still good for coffee/bookstore/movies and some shopping depending on her tastes. Xroads downtown is a large gallery district but doesn't have a concentrated daily energy. Some good restaurants in the area to check out. Most of the theatre/performance type events are spread from downtown to midtown. The guide I posted points some of it out. KC is significantly smaller than Berlin - won't have near that degree of nightlife or activities.
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:22 PM
 
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Guys, thanks very much for all your help. I think the decision's been made. I already checked out the website of the Tivoli which looks good (they have a movie on right now from my favourite Finnish director but I guess it won't be on by the time I come to visit :-( ) The tips for gallery districts etc are also appreciated and, although I'm sure it won't have the same level of nightlife as Berlin (I'm not sure where does to be honest), at least it'll be good to be close to what's on offer.

Cheers
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
12,064 posts, read 27,207,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajws77 View Post
Guys, thanks very much for all your help. I think the decision's been made. I already checked out the website of the Tivoli which looks good (they have a movie on right now from my favourite Finnish director but I guess it won't be on by the time I come to visit :-( ) The tips for gallery districts etc are also appreciated and, although I'm sure it won't have the same level of nightlife as Berlin (I'm not sure where does to be honest), at least it'll be good to be close to what's on offer.

Cheers
Definitely not, but it's not a bad place to blow five months nonetheless. Let us knwo if and when you want specific suggestions of good places to eat, drink and play!
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