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Old 12-06-2011, 07:49 AM
 
1,073 posts, read 1,220,689 times
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My wife and I are planning on moving to Virginia so that I can hopefully find some work with my Masters in History at the end of this year. She should be able to find work (Dental assisting) and I will be stuck in retail most likely until I can find one of these mythical history-related jobs.

As some of you know I've hung around these forums on and off for a year or two, trying to get a feel for the area, and we actually went to DC for part of our honeymoon and it was a great time.

But now that we're in the early stages of actually trying to find a city to live in while I search, it's hard to narrow things down. Now, as you can probably tell we won't be making much money at all, but we also don't want to live in a crime-infested hood. I know you all get questions about "Where should I live?" all the time, but I'm not quite to that point yet.

What I want to know is, if I wanted to be within an hour's commute into DC, what is the radius I should be looking at? Can you sort of paint a picture for me of where the outer limits of my search should be? I realize that mapquesting this won't be much help because it doesn't take into consideration traffic conditions.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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If you look up your potential commute on Google Maps, then click traffic, then click "change" near the traffic speed legend, you can see their forecast for specific days of the week at specific times. So, for example, you can see what traffic on 66 looks like on Wednesdays at 4 PM. It doesn't work for every road (it didn't work for 28 between Manassas and Chantilly like I wanted it to) but for the big arteries it should be helpful.
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:24 PM
 
Location: NoVA
160 posts, read 235,872 times
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Generically, maybe a 10-15 mile radius around DC would keep you around a 1 hr commute to most parts of DC during the worst of rush hour?

It will depend upon specific route. Public transit options may push/pull this radius.

Also be aware that there are many job centers outside of DC proper: Tyson's Corner, 270 Corridor in MD, etc. Suburb to suburb commuting is not uncommon.

For example, I live in the 22153 zip code and it takes me about 70 minutes to get to work north of Union Station driving + metro (20 miles). If I take the HOV-3 on I-395 with my husband and DD, it takes 40 minutes driving...If I drove myself, I imagine it would be closer to double that.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:18 PM
 
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I understand that. The trouble is who knows where I will end up. I want to find something related to history, whether it's research, public history, or even political research (My BS is in Poly Sci). I figured I had better odds around DC than here in the middle of nowhere. So basically the idea is to be as central as possible to keep as many options open as possible. Also keeping in mind the seemingly impossible task of living on not a lot of money without being in a ghetto, haha.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:17 AM
 
Location: NoVA
160 posts, read 235,872 times
Reputation: 106
I suggest South Arlington (Shirlington/Fairlington) area for proximity to DC, retail, etc. You can probably find a 1 bedroom place for around 1400-1500, maybe less?

Also, what about living in DC itself? There are plenty of nice older apartments in good neighborhoods on the red line where you can get a 1br for similar price and you may be able to get by with out a car.

My DH and I used to live in DC a few years ago, and we didn't even work there. We loved living in DC! He commuted out to Falls Church by car and I took metro to Bethesda. We moved out b/c we couldn't afford anything bigger than a 1br.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
284 posts, read 784,673 times
Reputation: 111
Consider making the Beltway the "area" you consider; I'm talking about no more that 1/2 mile from an exit, 1/4 mile would be better. That should put within an hour of downtown DC, and if you end up working somewhere else, at least you'll be close to a major road (not that the Beltway is a commuter's dream). And you'll two states and a variety of neighborhoods from which to choose.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:51 PM
 
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Yea just remember the cheaper the rent, the more spanish your immediate neighborhood would be.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:23 AM
 
1,073 posts, read 1,220,689 times
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I was just doing some city searches here on City-Data. What's the catch with Belle Haven? Seems cheap, a couple of sites I glanced through show crime doesn't look too high, but the average rent is nearly half of the surrounding area. Doesn't seem like it'd be too far from DC.

EDIT: Apparently there are two Belle Haven's in Virginia and I was looking at the wrong one. The one south of Alexandria is the one I'm concerned with and I can't find any stats.

Last edited by VM1138; 12-08-2011 at 08:37 AM..
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:15 AM
 
2,728 posts, read 7,348,256 times
Reputation: 1060
Quote:
Originally Posted by VM1138 View Post
I was just doing some city searches here on City-Data. What's the catch with Belle Haven? Seems cheap, a couple of sites I glanced through show crime doesn't look too high, but the average rent is nearly half of the surrounding area. Doesn't seem like it'd be too far from DC.

EDIT: Apparently there are two Belle Haven's in Virginia and I was looking at the wrong one. The one south of Alexandria is the one I'm concerned with and I can't find any stats.
Belle Haven park is awesome. If you move near there it's such a nice place to walk/bike and have family time. Not sure about the surrounding neighborhoods.
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