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Old 10-30-2010, 08:21 AM
 
6 posts, read 10,289 times
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So I'm sure this question has been posed time and time again on this forum but I need some suggestions on neighborhoods in the DC metro area, preferably NoVA, for my family to embark on our new beginning.

My husband and I are mid 30s with two preteen sons. We are moving mainly for him to pursue career opportunities within the federal gov't--he's prior military and disabled vet but also for a change of scenery--I'm a former NYC gal and sick of smalltown NC life (or lack thereof). We are both college graduates but feel our opportunities for career growth are limited in this area.

My position can transfer to Fairfax VA and he's had several interviews in the area but recently got an offer for a position in College Park MD. We are deciding whether to accept. Just wanted to know from the natives...are there any communities in between these areas where we concentrate our housing search that makes logical sense given the distance of our tentative jobs. I am so concerned about commute/travel time, kids schools, finding a place around $2K month (not more than $2200) in a decent neighborhood but also close to some sort of entertainment/night life. (we're still young at heart and like to have fun). Please help with any suggestions!! Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,005 posts, read 3,530,751 times
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It is a long way between Fairfax VA and College Park MD and the communities half way are very expensive (Bethesda & Potomac MD and Great Falls & McLean VA). To find a place in your price range one of you will have a very easy commute and the other will be very long. In MD look at Silver Spring & Kensington and in VA look at Falls Church and Annandale.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:46 AM
 
6 posts, read 10,289 times
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Thanks for your response, J. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out the logistics. Sadly, It just doesn't appear to be an adequate solution if he accepts the position in College Park. I will look at the areas you suggested though. Thanks again.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:31 AM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,781,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JfromReston View Post
It is a long way between Fairfax VA and College Park MD and the communities half way are very expensive (Bethesda & Potomac MD and Great Falls & McLean VA). To find a place in your price range one of you will have a very easy commute and the other will be very long. In MD look at Silver Spring & Kensington and in VA look at Falls Church and Annandale.
These areas are all on the west side of the beltway. They are very expensive and the opposite side of College Park.

OP, where is your job in Fairfax? Is it closer to the east side vs west?

If so, you might want to check out parts of Arlington or Alexandria, anything that will place you close to that 295 North corridor. On the MD side, check out Mitchellville for newer construction and Hyattsville and Riverdale for older houses (also closer to DC if you want the social activities). You may even want to look at parts of NE DC as well as the east side on Capitol Hill and Eastern Market. I'm not that familiar with living in these areas (have friends who live there) so try posting on the DC and/or MD Forum.

Either way, it's going to be difficult for the one who has to commute the longest. Good luck!
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,363,474 times
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Your husband doesn't want to commute on the top side of the Beltway, from the American Legion Bridge to College Park in the morning, as he would first have to contend with Tysons Corner traffic in Virginia. Moreover, for you going to Fairfax, it would be a nightmare to deal with the Beltway from Maryland, either direction, because Tysons traffic on the Inner Loop will build at 395, or at least Braddock Road, in the morning; and coming from Montgomery County via the American Legion Bridge is also very difficult to get through Tysons Corner. For your husband, I would recommend looking to take the Wilson Bridge from Alexandria to get to College Park as the traffic usually flows well on that route, aside from the slow-down between 395 and Eisenhower Avenue, which is more of a rolling-slow type of traffic.

I would not recommend NE DC if you are looking for good schools, and some of the Maryland districts closer to College Park do have more than their share of problems, especially when compared to Montgomery and Fairfax Counties.

For a single-family house, it might be difficult to find a rental in range closer to Alexandria, along the George Washington Parkway or Fort Hunt, but you could go a little further out, and have an easier commute to Fairfax, if you were to look in North or West Springfield, portions of Annandale that are west of the Beltway and between Braddock and Little River Turnpike. Also, neighborhoods like Kings Park would be considerations, and parts of Burke in Lake Braddock District as they are closer to the Beltway for the CP commute, but if you found one in Robinson District and can deal with the extra few minutes, or your husband could, it would be fine, too.

You would definitely find a decent townhouse in this area, and could also find some single-family homes. These are suburban areas, however, but they are not terribly far from DC, Alexandria, Tysons, Fairfax, Falls Church, and Arlington for entertainment/restaurants, especially at off-peak times when there is little traffic.

Depending upon the time of your husband's commute -- if he has flex hours, earlier is better on that route -- it would take beween 40 minutes to an hour and a half. If you are closer to the Beltway, it would take less time, especially along Braddock Road as it can get slow. Living on the north side of Braddock, between Braddock and Little River Turnpike affords the option of taking Guinea or Wakefield Chapel Roads to Little River Turnpike. This can even be faster if your house were located closer to Braddock Road, because of the volume of traffic on Braddock.
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:31 AM
 
10,598 posts, read 12,102,611 times
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To give each of you a "fair shake" in the commuting arena, I would probably focus my search on communities that will allow your husband to jump on 495 around the Wilson Bridge area (which will also allow him to use 295 North if he wants to try going through DC to get to College Park.

I know many people who use 295 North in morning from Maryland to come into town and it gets pretty darn bad by 6:30. Once he gets past the exits for the Navy Yard, though, it opens up and he would have a clear shut up to College Park. He could also take the Beltway around to College Park. These areas would be in Alexandria, Ft. Hunt, and some Telegraph Road neighborhoods but you don't want to go too far off the main roads or you will add a lot of time to the commute. For you, it wouldn't be as great as living in Springfield or Fairfax but it wouldn't be horrible either and would help your husband out a bit.

Any of the places that you would move into in Maryland that would be good for him and have good schools would be abysmal for you.
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Novastan
384 posts, read 900,157 times
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If I were you I would try to settle in Shirlington due to the schools and accessibility to both your jobs. You can hop onto 395 pretty easily there or drive to Ballston metro if you need to take Metrorail.

Consider looking into the following neighborhoods:

Shirlington (Arlington)
Huntington (Alexandria)
Eisenhower Corridor (Alexandria)
Kingstowne (Fairfax)

There is a shuttle from the metro to the University of Maryland campus. It would be a haul from Virginia but I thought you would like to know. Good luck with your search!

I highly recommend you check out school reviews.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:18 PM
 
2,672 posts, read 4,524,961 times
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For what it's worth (I don't commute to MD) I think people are trying valiantly to propose good solutions, but I do not believe it is possible for you to find a community that will work, given how far apart the job locations are and what's in between them (many people and huge commuting hassles). Even if you have flexible work schedules, this is not a viable situation. Even if you were able and willing to spend the money for a McLean location (the only possibility that I can see having any chance of working), it wouldn't be easy, and McLean would be well above your stated budget.

If I were you I would keep looking for alternative job opportunities so you wouldn't have to work so far apart from one another. But it's just my opinion.
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,562,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandoras View Post
There is a shuttle from the metro to the University of Maryland campus.
Technically, these shuttles are only for students/staff on campus. The drivers didn't often check IDs, but they were starting to get stricter my senior year due to some sketchy things occurring on buses. Not sure what the situation is now--I haven't ridden them in 2-3 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
For what it's worth (I don't commute to MD) I think people are trying valiantly to propose good solutions, but I do not believe it is possible for you to find a community that will work, given how far apart the job locations are and what's in between them (many people and huge commuting hassles). Even if you have flexible work schedules, this is not a viable situation. Even if you were able and willing to spend the money for a McLean location (the only possibility that I can see having any chance of working), it wouldn't be easy, and McLean would be well above your stated budget.

If I were you I would keep looking for alternative job opportunities so you wouldn't have to work so far apart from one another. But it's just my opinion.
Agreed. There is no ideal place for this commute...just less awful ones.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Novastan
384 posts, read 900,157 times
Reputation: 167
Default Shuttle

Oh gosh, I saw the College Park location and assumed the person was going to work for the University of Maryland! Thanks for clearing that up!
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