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Old 06-27-2011, 11:52 AM
azb
 
35 posts, read 55,447 times
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I too work at the Pentagon, and we are parents of a rising first grader and bought a house in Annandale inside the beltway. My commute to the Pentagon is very reasonable (about half an hour by car), and we have been very happy with both our neighborhood (Hillbrook/Tall Oaks) and school (Columbia Elementary). My advice is to avoid simply rules of thumb ("Avoid Annandale inside the beltway"), and take a look at actual neighborhoods--our neighborhood looks a great deal like neighborhoods in Arlington and Falls Church, and you might get a better bargain while still having a reasonable commute), and our son is getting a great education.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:38 PM
 
Location: TX
3,029 posts, read 10,667,716 times
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Quote:
Am I reading correctly that there is no metro stop in Burke and he would have to drive to Springfield to catch it?
Correct no metro in Burke. Metro stops are in Springfiled at Franconia station (it's big, lots of parking)
or drive to Vienna metro. metro map link... Metro - Rail - Maps - Rail/Google Map
Burke has the VRE train that runs into the Pentagon. vre map Station Map
And has express bus service as well. metrobus Metro - Bus
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Old 06-27-2011, 01:58 PM
 
Location: South South Jersey
1,652 posts, read 3,411,612 times
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I'd recommend renting in Annandale (inside- *or* outside-the-Beltway) to see if it's for you before investing in a house there. Some people can deal with the chaos of Little River Turnpike (one of Annandale's main drags) and such, others (like myself) would find it very, very challenging, from a peace-of-mind point of view.

That said, there's nothing especially BAD about Annandale, when compared to the entire set of NoVA communities (particularly ones in Fairfax Co.; I also think the City of Falls Church is kinda overrated, given that you can get a relative bargain a couple blocks away from the City limits and have exactly the same lifestyle as a City resident). In that sense, Annandale is pretty normal, actually.
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
246 posts, read 1,022,333 times
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I totally agree with Alicial Bradley! When we first began our home search a year ago, I was convinced we wanted Annandale due to its proximity to my husbands work. After looking at several houses (all but one were outside the beltway) we decided it was just too congested. Lots of traffic, lots of people, etc. I just didn't feel like I could breathe most of the time. But based on the number of people living there, it obviously isn't a problem for them.

We ended up buying in Burke (we have one of those weird Fairfax addresses, but it's Burke to most people) and are very happy. Sure it's a bit boring, but with that comes safe and calm, which with two little kids I love!!! OP - I can't remember if you were going to be working right away, but if you plan to stay at home with your kids, this area can't be beat! The roads are empty during the day, as are most stores, parks, resturants. This is definetly the best place I've ever lived as a stay at home mom. Between Fairfax, Burke and West Springfield, I can do pretty much anything I would want with little kids, and never have to drive more than 10 or 15 mins. There are lots of places I can walk to as well, and never have to worry about traffic or saftey.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:15 AM
 
5,121 posts, read 5,566,704 times
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I lived in Annandale for a while--it's not bad or anything (at least where I lived off Little River Turnpike) my only beef with the area was that the main strip thought there (LRT) is not very well planned (too much packed into one little area). And most of the buildings there are starting to show their age (the area needs a little cosmetic boost). But the people there are nice and there are a lot of nice tucked away businesses.

I just moved to Springfield and love it so far (hehe, haven't even been here a week). It's a bit overbuilt too, but it seems like the neighborhoods are tucked away at least. So it gives the illusion of living more away from the sprawl.

I've been experimenting with getting to work (I don't work at the Pentagon, but I work in Alexandria). I took the VRE one day (I still have my monthly pass and the parking is free, so why not). That was the fastest way to work for me (and the VRE goes to the Pentagon). I also drove once and that wasn't too bad either once I figured out the twists and turns of the mixing bowl. There are also shuttles that go to the Pentagon and there is always the Metro (haven't tried that yet). I think there are also express Metro buses.
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:39 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,816 posts, read 10,722,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alibaba1579 View Post
I totally agree with Alicial Bradley! When we first began our home search a year ago, I was convinced we wanted Annandale due to its proximity to my husbands work. After looking at several houses (all but one were outside the beltway) we decided it was just too congested. Lots of traffic, lots of people, etc. I just didn't feel like I could breathe most of the time. But based on the number of people living there, it obviously isn't a problem for them. .
Ironic - for us there are too FEW people - not nearly enough pedestrians, especially, and not enough transit users to get the bus frequency (esp on the 29 routes, both local and express) to optimal. The congestion is basically automotive - and its mainly bad on certain routes (LRT of course).

Annandale isnt really all that dense - its just too dense for a place with a rural/suburban layout (and a fairly poorly planned one at that). Annandale's future is going to be HIGHER density (which will deal with some of the cosmetic issues, when new development occurs) but with a rebuilt infrastructure.

I do not know the timetable for the rebuilding of the annandale road net, but its up somewhere on the county site. Redevelopment to higher density will be a long time coming, given the state of the economy and the absence of a metro station.
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:22 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,902,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
...Annandale isnt really all that dense - its just too dense for a place with a rural/suburban layout (and a fairly poorly planned one at that). Annandale's future is going to be HIGHER density (which will deal with some of the cosmetic issues, when new development occurs) but with a rebuilt infrastructure...

Poorly planned? Annandale wasn't planned at all, it just happened! People, including my dad, pretty much built what they wanted, where they wanted.

Nobody back then envisioned the insanity that NOVA would become.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:01 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,107,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
Some parents are more able to embrace the full socioeconomic diversity at its one high school (TC Williams) than others.
Tone - You should be a diplomat. Since the OP has small kids I doubt she'll need to worry about that. If she finds a neighborhood where she's comfortable I'm sure the local elementary school will be fine.

You should probably go with your initial instinct of Alexandria. Your husband will likely appreciate the shorter commute. I live in Mount Vernon and have neighbors who sometimes even bike to work at the Pentagon. Would be even closer if you can find something in Old Town or Del Ray. Either way you wouldn't be far from shopping. Potomac Yards and Route 1 have pretty much all the big box stores and there are supermarkets scattered all around. There's also a Trader Joes in Old Town.
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:58 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,816 posts, read 10,722,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
Poorly planned? Annandale wasn't planned at all, it just happened! People, including my dad, pretty much built what they wanted, where they wanted.
did your dad build the service lane along Little River Turnpike?
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:23 PM
 
Location: South South Jersey
1,652 posts, read 3,411,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
Poorly planned? Annandale wasn't planned at all, it just happened! People, including my dad, pretty much built what they wanted, where they wanted.

Nobody back then envisioned the insanity that NOVA would become.
Yeah, there are definitely still faint vestiges of country-ness in Annandale, even on inside-the-Beltway Little River Turnpike. I'd have to take a notebook with me as a I drove down LRT sometime (hehe.. knowing the traffic, I'd probably end up stuck in a traffic jam and have *plenty* of time for making observations) to give specific examples, but a feeling of 'this area was rural not *too* long ago' is definitely a presence there, at least to me.

Some of the surviving older homes right on Lee Hwy./29 in Fair Oaks (sort of between the Wegman's and the Costco) give off this vibe even more strongly. (As does the the Merrifield Garden Center - and the very old home on its property! - in the same area. I know, I know, the Fair Oaks MGC is entirely 'current' in that it's 'currently' a very popular business with Fairfax [and vicinity] gardeners even as I type this, but I can tell that it - or at least some of the structures it occupies - were 'way out there' not too terribly long ago.)

Probably the most extreme example of this phenomenon is the view out the car window when driving from the outer fringes of Fair Oaks to Oak Hill/South Herndon. The area starts to look distinctly rural, especially once you come to Frying Pan Park, but then - OMG! - you arrive at *massive* strip malls (like the one where A-1 Cycling, the place I get my bike tuned up, is) and hordes of people, again. (And of course there's Dulles Airport itself, but it's not *entirely* unknown nation-wide for large, international airports to be located in otherwise rural areas outside major metro areas...)

But anyway - sorry about the tangent, OP. As you were.

Last edited by Alicia Bradley; 06-30-2011 at 01:45 PM..
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