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Old 03-19-2012, 02:56 AM
 
Location: Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
693 posts, read 365,228 times
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Default Mars

Can someone give me an idea of how far the commute from Mars to Pittsburgh would be during normal working hours?

Also, compared to Cranberry Township which seems to be the token suburban location, how does Mars measure up?

Thanks
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Athens, GA (via Pittsburgh, PA)
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A commute from Mars to Pittsburgh would be less than 30 minutes. Mars is a borough surrounded by Cranberry, which is a township. Basically, what that means is that Mars has a mayor, but Cranberry has a board of directors instead. Mars was developed first, so its development is older than Cranberry's, which is relatively new.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:56 AM
 
Location: Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
693 posts, read 365,228 times
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Is their property tax rate less. So, is it State>County>Township>borough? If yes, how many townships are usually in a county?

Thanks for the commute time, so I guess working in downtown pittsburgh would be an easy commute.

Is there a major hospital near Mars or on that side of Pittsburgh?
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Charlotte
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I believe UPMC in Cranberry would be the closest. As for comparing Mars and Cranberry, I believe Mars would have an older more native population. Mars has much less retail than Cranberry - in fact it's quite rural outside of the town center. If schools are of a concern, you may also want to consider Pine which begins just a bit south of Mars.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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At normal working hours it's going to take you around 45 minutes, perhaps a little more, to get to downtown Pittsburgh from Mars. You might shave that some if you're on the early side; peak traffic is around 8am. (It's 30 minutes with no traffic.) In my experience the commute back could be a little less but it depends upon how quickly you can get out of downtown. And note that I'm talking specifically what we call downtown, the triangular area by the point where the rivers meet. Other areas of the city can take more time. You asked about hospitals, and there aren't any in that section (although Allegheny General is pretty close on the North Side, and that might actually shave a few minutes from the time).

Borough and township are just two different ways of organizing a municipal government. Borough has what most think of as a traditional town structure: an elected mayor and council. Boroughs are also usually compact areas with a town center. A township is governed by an elected board of supervisors. Townships cover much wider areas comprised of all manner of suburban growth and rural. This technicality matters very little to most residents; I can't think of a way it affects the average person. The structures are different just because every inch of Pennsylvania is covered under a municipal government of township, borough or city. Townships were traditionally rural areas, but Cranberry is an example of how that just isn't the case anymore.

So Mars is a small town that's been there for many years. It's actually surrounded by Adams Township and is about 5 miles east of the middle of Cranberry. Quite a lot of that area gets a Mars address so the places in Adams Township which has plenty of new development on the Cranberry side are actually quite a similar setting. (In fact most of Cranberry used to have Mars addresses until they finally petitioned the post office to get their own zip code about 15 years ago.) So Mars when you're looking at housing might refer to something right in the little town or it might refer to something in that surrounding area that's also using a Mars address. Some of that area goes to pretty rural, as mentioned. There's no particular downside to Mars over Cranberry except perhaps distance in some cases, depending upon where the home is located. Mars has a different school district, notably smaller than Seneca Valley which serves Cranberry and a few other townships. Both are equally good.

I wouldn't call any hospitals up there "major" but there is a hospital in Cranberry that is run as a branch of UPMC Passavant. The actual UPMC Passavant, a bit south in McCandless, is a larger one although still effectively a suburban hospital. Several others, mostly smallish, are within a 30 min or so drive given that it wouldn't really be with commuting traffic too much. These are centered in the towns that are farther from the city (like Beaver and Butler) and some at least these days more suburban (like Sewickley and Ohio Valley General). Allegheny General, mentioned above, is also about 30 min when not with traffic, which would be true of most hospital shifts I suspect. AGH reaches the level of major hospital to my way of thinking.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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I'm not sure, but I would venture a guess and say it takes longer to get to Moon than to Mars.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
693 posts, read 365,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg42 View Post
At normal working hours it's going to take you around 45 minutes, perhaps a little more, to get to downtown Pittsburgh from Mars. You might shave that some if you're on the early side; peak traffic is around 8am. (It's 30 minutes with no traffic.) In my experience the commute back could be a little less but it depends upon how quickly you can get out of downtown. And note that I'm talking specifically what we call downtown, the triangular area by the point where the rivers meet. Other areas of the city can take more time. You asked about hospitals, and there aren't any in that section (although Allegheny General is pretty close on the North Side, and that might actually shave a few minutes from the time).

Borough and township are just two different ways of organizing a municipal government. Borough has what most think of as a traditional town structure: an elected mayor and council. Boroughs are also usually compact areas with a town center. A township is governed by an elected board of supervisors. Townships cover much wider areas comprised of all manner of suburban growth and rural. This technicality matters very little to most residents; I can't think of a way it affects the average person. The structures are different just because every inch of Pennsylvania is covered under a municipal government of township, borough or city. Townships were traditionally rural areas, but Cranberry is an example of how that just isn't the case anymore.

So Mars is a small town that's been there for many years. It's actually surrounded by Adams Township and is about 5 miles east of the middle of Cranberry. Quite a lot of that area gets a Mars address so the places in Adams Township which has plenty of new development on the Cranberry side are actually quite a similar setting. (In fact most of Cranberry used to have Mars addresses until they finally petitioned the post office to get their own zip code about 15 years ago.) So Mars when you're looking at housing might refer to something right in the little town or it might refer to something in that surrounding area that's also using a Mars address. Some of that area goes to pretty rural, as mentioned. There's no particular downside to Mars over Cranberry except perhaps distance in some cases, depending upon where the home is located. Mars has a different school district, notably smaller than Seneca Valley which serves Cranberry and a few other townships. Both are equally good.

I wouldn't call any hospitals up there "major" but there is a hospital in Cranberry that is run as a branch of UPMC Passavant. The actual UPMC Passavant, a bit south in McCandless, is a larger one although still effectively a suburban hospital. Several others, mostly smallish, are within a 30 min or so drive given that it wouldn't really be with commuting traffic too much. These are centered in the towns that are farther from the city (like Beaver and Butler) and some at least these days more suburban (like Sewickley and Ohio Valley General). Allegheny General, mentioned above, is also about 30 min when not with traffic, which would be true of most hospital shifts I suspect. AGH reaches the level of major hospital to my way of thinking.
Thanks for the post, it was extremely helpful.

I guess I started out looking at Cranberry but a lot of the homes that seem to be what we want when using trulia.com are in Mars. I would definately be downtown but my wife is an RN-BSN and would hopefuly remain in her specialty Labor and Delivery.

30-45 minutes doesnt seem bad at all, enough time to decompress from work.

Is there a place like Mars (or Cranberry) that has a better property tax rate that has the same general characteristics, good schools and commute time that I am missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by elewis7 View Post
I'm not sure, but I would venture a guess and say it takes longer to get to Moon than to Mars.
haha, duly noted
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:27 AM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
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Mars is also a school district. I was just up that way this weekend. Depending on where you are in the school district it can be pretty far from Dowtown.

Also, a labor and delivery nurse would most likely work at Magee which is a tougher commute. I am sure there are other hospitals north of mars that have delivery rooms that may offer your wife a more stress free commute.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elewis7 View Post
I'm not sure, but I would venture a guess and say it takes longer to get to Moon than to Mars.
Depends on the traffic.

(Moon Township is in fact closer in distance to downtown Pittsburgh than Mars, just to be clear for anyone looking for more info than just the in joke that we can go from Moon to Mars in half an hour. )
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bavariantransplant View Post
I guess I started out looking at Cranberry but a lot of the homes that seem to be what we want when using trulia.com are in Mars. I would definately be downtown but my wife is an RN-BSN and would hopefuly remain in her specialty Labor and Delivery.

30-45 minutes doesnt seem bad at all, enough time to decompress from work.

Is there a place like Mars (or Cranberry) that has a better property tax rate that has the same general characteristics, good schools and commute time that I am missing?
Ah, labor and delivery. Now, this is interesting. A disproportionate share of the area's births happen in the city at UPMC Magee. That's the big one. The other hospital that has a NICU is West Penn. (I know she doesn't necessarily work in NICU but it just means some city births happen over there.) Both of those hospitals are in city neighborhoods east of downtown that would tack on another 10 minutes to such a commute. Deliveries do happen elsewhere, though, clearly. Beaver and Sewickley (same hospital group), Butler I'm sure, scratch off Ohio Valley (doesn't look like they have any facility for this). UMPC despite having a big expansion at Passavant which is the key hospital for the north hills suburbs expects everyone to go to Magee in the city! That seems odd to me, but it appears to be the reality. So you'll have to nix the idea of working in the Cranberry or McCandless hospitals. On the West Penn Allegheny side, no labor and delivery happens at Allegheny General. So again in the city that's funneled to West Penn. They also have delivery out at Forbes Regional in Monroeville, which is way out to the east. You could get even there from the Cranberry-Mars area on the Turnpike I suppose. It's 30 miles on the Turnpike, plus whatever to get to the Turnpike, so that would also take 45 minutes or so. It could actually be shorter than commuting to Magee or West Penn from up there; at worst it would be the same.

So, where does this leave you? Should you be looking for somewhere else? My suggestion would be to look closer to the city because you have to weigh this difference in property tax with the amount of driving you both would be doing. (Consider it all: gas cost, parking cost, wear and tear on cars, etc.) It might be difficult at the moment to get a good handle on comparative property tax since Allegheny County is in the middle of this reassessment stuff. But it is worth looking at. There are definitely places that would fit that would be closer for both of you. Another option would be to look to the east in Murrysville (this is Westmoreland County). Hospital options would be Forbes or perhaps Westmoreland (Excela) in Greensburg. YOUR commute to downtown Pittsburgh would get worse over there, though. At a typical commute time inclusive of the 8am and typical return time in evening you'd be hitting an hour easily, possibly more. The backup over there starts earlier and lasts longer than the one from the north.
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