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Old 08-16-2008, 04:57 PM
2 posts, read 3,040 times
Reputation: 10


I have been reading the forums for a few days and I'm trying to get my bearings straight regarding commute times and safe neighborhoods in NOVA.

My husband has been offered a transfer with his company, which would require a move to the NOVA area from southcentral PA. Initially he would be working in Chantilly, but after 3 - 4 months, would be permanently headquartered in Manassas. I do not have a job yet and will definitely need to find one, because we won't be able to live on one salary from the housing prices I've seen in NOVA.

Our plan is for him to move down to the area first (his company will put him up in an apartment for a couple of months until we find housing) and I will stay in PA while looking for a job. After I find a job we'll put our house in PA up for sale and then try to find a permanent residence in NOVA. Or we may put the house here up for sale and hopefully in the meantime I'll get a job or get one at least shortly after our house sells. Hopefully this can all be accomplished by the end of the year.

That said, I'm looking for advice on where to live that would be feasible for him to commute to Manassas and for me to commute to a job. (I work in HR for the state of PA and am hoping to find a job with the federal govt, which I think would most likely be in DC or an HR job outside of DC)
Ideally it would be great if both of our commutes were under 45 minutes one way. I'm not sure what the commute from Manassas to DC would be (I think over an hour from some of the threads I've read), so maybe we would think about living in Woodbridge???? Mileage I think it's a split between there and Manassas and DC, but I don't know realistically what the commute time would be and I'm not sure about the public transportation situation. My husbands hours would be 7:30 - 4:30 if that helps with the answers.

Thanks in advance for any advice or information. We're planning on driving down to the area this coming week to see what it's like and need to make a decision by the end of the week if we're going to do it.
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Old 08-16-2008, 07:58 PM
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I would look at Vienna. Your husband would be going westbound (against traffic) in the AM and eastbound (kinda against traffic) in the afternoon. Vienna also provides an easy enough connection to Chantilly. And the Metro can whisk you into DC as well from Vienna.
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Old 08-16-2008, 09:40 PM
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I was thinking Centreville, which falls in between Chantilly and Manasses on Rt. 28. The few months in Chantilly might have a long commute since it's north-bound, but then commuting south to Manasses permanently wouldn't be too bad. If you wanted to try for a job with Fairfax County Gov't, the large Government Center is just east on Rt. 29 (usually 15mins, maybe half hour with traffic).

If you do want to work in DC, definitely consider living more towards the east for your own sanity. Of course, this comes with a higher price tag, but places like Falls Church, Pimmitt, Vienna, and parts of Fairfax would provide easy access to i66 so your husband can travel west and you can go east (these places also have public transit options for going into town).
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:32 AM
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I'd essentially agree with the above. If you are going to end up working for the feds in DC, then I-66 west to Manassas and the Metro Orange Line east into downtown will be the only practical solution, and a place in or around Vienna would make a lot of sense. Both of you would end up with reasonable commutes. Metro from Vienna to most parts of downtown is doable in under an hour, and the morning traffic on 66-West may be heavy, but it will typically be moving at a speed limit pace. Twenty miles in 45 minutes or so, barring snow, accidents, etc.

The idea of checking with the Fairfax County government is also very sensible. The county has a population of almost 1.1 million people, so the government is a pretty big operation, most of it centralized in the Fair Lakes area, which is only about 12 miles from Manassas. You could live a whole lot of places out that way and both have an easy commute. Prices would tend to be a bit lower there than around Vienna also, but not always, and not always by a lot...
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:25 AM
2 posts, read 4,328 times
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Smile Further out...

You could try looking further out. I live in Warrenton (Fauquier County) and the commute from here to Chantilly is about 35 minutes. Once your husband changes his work location to Manassas, it will be even shorter. Obviously, the further out your willing to go, the lower the housing costs and the more house/land you can get for the same money. And if you are looking to get into DC, try the VRE (train). It is a straight shot from the Broad Run station which is just south of Manassas.

Chantilly, Centreville, Vienna (Fairfax County period), would all definitely lower your commute, but the housing is a lot more expensive. Guess it just depends on what you are looking for in a house/neighborhood.
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Old 08-17-2008, 03:35 PM
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Thank you for all of your responses. We will definitely check out all of the towns you've mentioned and I will look into the possibility of job opportunities with the Fairfax Cty Govt as well. I'm assuming you may have to live in the county to be an employee??? But I'll look into it.

I appreciate all of the advice, since I know it's hard to give me any definitive answers when I only know one of our work locations at this point for sure.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:45 PM
367 posts, read 1,177,240 times
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You biggest bang for the money on a home and excellent schools would be to look for a place in Gainesville, Bristow, and Haymarket in Nova. The commute to Manassas would only take about 15 minutes. But a commute from the mentioned areas to DC when public schools are in session would take you any where from about an hour to two hours each way. If you end up getting a job in DC, see if telecommuting a day to two in the week is possible. If not, buy a hybrid vehicle and ride on the carpool lanes on I-66 as it's allowed for single occupants as longs as you drive a hybrid.

Another good option is Centreville. The commute to Manassas will still be 15 minutes or so, but the commute time to DC will be almost half. You also have more options in Centreville to use public transportation. They have a commuter lot in Centreville that runs I think every 10 minutes during peak time - a bus to Vienna Metro. With Centreville you'll be a part of Fairfax County - some of the best public schools in the nation. Just keep in mind that Centreville is now the second Korea Town in Nova, after Annandale VA.

Best of luck.

Last edited by popalnet; 08-26-2008 at 06:49 PM.. Reason: Accidentally hit the enter key
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:07 PM
Location: VA
55 posts, read 148,530 times
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I live pretty much at the western end of rte66 & got a lot more house for a lot less money! I work in Herndon & commute about an hour each way. Manassas is about 45 min. into my commute.

One thing to remember...working for the Govt. does NOT necessarily mean working in DC. There are govt facilities all over Nova.

Check the usajobs.com site for NoVa govt openings.

Good luck!

btw...I'm an ex-PA'er myself
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:25 PM
76 posts, read 352,850 times
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Depends on how much your husband makes. Unless he is making more than 100K plus a year, I wont be looking at Vienna, Fairfax, Oakton or Falls Church. Even with that income, supporting both of you will be hard. Also, the median income is 98K and 1/3 out of 1.2 million in NOVA makes more than 150k a year. Your best bet is Centerville. Homes are still expensive but way more affordable then those mentioned. There are plenty of jobs along I-66, Dullue corridor and Route 28 corridor. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of gov jobs mainly defense jobs along route 28. Your husband can commute to Manasass and you to Chantilly/Fairfax.
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