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Old 04-20-2013, 04:51 AM
Location: Pittsburgh
7,544 posts, read 7,057,771 times
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Originally Posted by ferrarisnowday View Post
Beechview has a grocery store. Do Dormont and Brookline have grocery stores? That's a major factor in a car-free lifestyle.

Kuhn's is across from Dormont Pool, Bottom Dollar is on Sussex and McNeilly at the end of Brookline.
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:01 AM
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
1,519 posts, read 2,035,925 times
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Originally Posted by I_Like_Spam View Post
Bottom Dollar is on Sussex and McNeilly at the end of Brookline.
That's an Aldi's, not a Bottom Dollar. All three neighborhoods have small markets. Brookline has Las Palmas (butcher shop, groceries and taco stand), Pitaland (middle eastern market and cafe), and an African market opened up over the winter which I have not been to yet, but I walked past one day a month or so ago and they had a sign for goat meat in the window. Dormont has The People's Market on Potomac and they have a small produce section and a deli, and there's what looks like a small Mexican convenience store just passed the Potomac T Station (I've not been in it.) Beechview has The Crested Duck charcuterie and Tienda La Jimenez (also a Mexican convenience store). Both Brookline and Dormont have CVS stores which have small convenience groceries, as well as a couple of gas/convenience stores each.

I live in Brookline near the Dormont border. I'm nearly equally as close to Dormont's business district as I am to Brookline Bvd so it is less than a mile from my house to the Potomac T station. If I didn't have a car, I can imagine it would be relatively easy to do grocery shopping at some combination of the shops in Dormont and Brookline and then I could hop the T from Dormont to Beechview to hit the IGA. There is also access to a Shop N Save and Bottom Dollar from the Arlington T stop just before Castle Shannon. Granted it's a not optimally walkable area from the stop to the stores, but I've seen people get on there with those little carts and shopping bags so they do it.
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:07 AM
Location: Great White North Hills
9,846 posts, read 11,941,241 times
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Dormont is very walkable and has access to the T. If you are looking to purchase, be aware it has a very high millage rate.
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:09 AM
441 posts, read 580,206 times
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I purchased a home in Brookline last summer. The main reason why I chose to live here is because it offers most of the same amenities as the popular East End neighborhoods, but at half the price. Although I do own a car, I highly value having everything I need to survive in walking distance, and Brookline fulfills that need nicely. The main district has two very nice ethnic markets, a library, a bank, a CVS, a liquor store, a somewhat popular coffeehouse, and a few small bars and restaurants. It's nice for running errands, but the nightlife is non-existent.

After reading this thread and an earlier thread of yours, here are a few thoughts I have:

  • I don't feel comfortable recommending Brookline to someone heavily reliant on public transportation. The bus lines do a fine job of getting you Downtown during weekday business hours, but that's it. Getting to shopping centers outside of the neighborhood via bus can be a real time-consuming pain in the ass. Getting to popular nightlife spots on weekend nights is damn near impossible. At least Beechview and Dormont have the T.
  • Most Brookline houses in the $70k and under range are priced that way because they require major repairs. This is especially true of the older homes (the 1950s+ homes in this price range are in much better condition). If you see something in this price range that doesn't have major flaws, JUMP ON IT ASAP. Seriously, three very nicely-priced houses that really interested me went contingent 1-2 days after I looked at them.
  • Brookline is a large neighborhood. Depending on where you live, the main business district or the busway can be a very long walk away or just plain inaccessible. If you're banking on being able to walk to these amenities, walk it yourself and be sure it's even possible before you buy.
  • A major reason why Brookline and Beechview are so cheap is because the public schools aren't too good. They're not the worst in the city, but they're not the best. This keeps home values from appreciating as quickly as the East End.
  • Speaking of Beechview, it actually does have a full-service, but tiny IGA grocery store and a weekly farmer's market in the summer. The business district has a handful of increasingly popular restaurants, a Mexican market, and a library.

I hope that helps. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:43 AM
Location: Crafton via San Francisco
3,180 posts, read 3,281,666 times
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I lived car-free in SF for many years. I had one of those shopping carts that fold up for going to the grocery store and the laundromat (I was renting and the flats never had laundry facilities in those days). I took public transit to work and/or school. I was a single young woman at the time and going out on the weekends was super important. I often took public transit to clubs or parties and took a cab home. I wanted to be driven right to my door when it was late at night. If I wanted to go out of town for the weekend or on vacation I would rent a car. Using the occasional cab or rental car was still far cheaper than owning a car. And of course, there were friends with cars, but I tried not to take advantage of that unless I was desperate or it was offered. SF has much better public transit and cab service than Pittsburgh, but I think with the right choice of neighborhood you could still do fine without a car using a similar combination of walking, public transit, etc.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:04 AM
Location: roaming about Allegheny City
655 posts, read 675,560 times
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I sincerely thank all of you for the plethora of information. So, it sounds like Brookline, especially, is somewhat walkable, yet very hilly in certain areas, which make it difficult for a person without a vehicle, such as myself, to get around. I suppose, then, for me certain areas of the neighborhood would be quite livable, while others would not.

So if I understand things correctly, Dormont and Beechview have access to the T. Is Brookline walkable to the T?

Wow, I didn't know that the steepest road in the world is located in this area! That's neat! If I had a car, I don't think I would want to drive on that road--especially in winter!

As long as I can get basic necessities, I'm okay with a neighborhood. It sounds like these neighborhoods have lots of different stores where I can purchase the things I need. However, if I were to move to one of them, I just need to make certain I'm within walking distance.

I'm not too interested in nightlife, so I'm not concerned with late-night weekend bus rides to popular nightlife venues out of the area. Nightlife costs too much money, anyhow. I'm interested in saving and investing, not spending copious sums of money every weekend at a restaurant, bar, club, or discotheque. On that rare occasion when I get the urge to go out, I suppose I can either take a cab or go with friends or acquaintances to a trendier part of the city.

Speaking of taxes, yes, I've noticed that they're high. Something has to be done about the high millage rates in certain parts of The Burgh. I mean, seriously, the taxes are getting out of hand--they're going to chase current residents away or discourage potential new residents from buying! I'm quite progressive in my politics, yet I don't think it fair that someone who owns a modest $60,000 house should have to pay property taxes of $2,000. That's absurd--not to mention, extremely oppressive. Pittsburgh's citizens really need to do something about this--but I'll get off this tangent now.

Last edited by The King of Um; 04-20-2013 at 09:32 AM..
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:44 AM
Location: Pennsylvania
1,672 posts, read 1,623,621 times
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Originally Posted by Tirade View Post
  • A major reason why Brookline and Beechview are so cheap is because the public schools aren't too good. They're not the worst in the city, but they're not the best. This keeps home values from appreciating as quickly as the East End.
I think the school thing has more to do with the high school - Brashear - than the middle or elementary schools in Brookline, which are above average for the City. The high school has a larger feeder pattern. Brashear is I suppose is not terribly bad compared to other City high schools, but given that the neighborhood is bordered by Baldwin, Mt. Lebanon, and the Keystone Oaks districts it doesn't stack up very well at all for people who maybe want to live in the area but give a lot of weight to the high school.

As for property taxes, Pittsburgh has the lowest around, I think. Dormont, if not the highest, is one of the highest.

Brookline is currently undergoing a major redesign and rebuilding of the main road, Brookline Boulevard, which should spruce it up quite a bit. The business district has some real gems and authentic ethnic eateries. An issue is that the business district is super long and I'm not sure the entirety of it will ever be filled with strong store fronts. Shopping habits, and to a lesser extent but still important, personal incomes in the area, just aren't the same as they were say 40 years ago to support a long strip of retailers in the neighborhood given all of the other options available. Maybe some day there will be a planned consolidation of the business district and some of what is currently zoned commercial business will be developed as residential. Not a huge issue compared to Beechview and there are active civic-business groups trying to better such things, so you never know.

Edit: Now that I think more about it Brookline actually has very few vacant storefronts. I'm always tricked into thinking there is a higher vacancy rate because I've come to just look past some of them that aren't relevant to me and are easy for me to overlook. For instance, there is a TV repair shop.

Last edited by Clint.; 04-20-2013 at 10:10 AM..
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:09 AM
Location: 15206
1,766 posts, read 1,769,857 times
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They are all decent areas. They have decent sized homes from the 1910's-1940s.

Dormont and Beechview (parts of it) have Trolley access, which is nice. Brookline is pretty stable.

All three have a lot of hills, which some people don't really like.

They'll all continue to be stable for the next generation from what I can tell. Beechview will likely become nicer rather than more run down.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:32 AM
Location: Beauchamp
7,845 posts, read 6,762,297 times
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Originally Posted by Hip Priest View Post
Wow, I didn't know that the steepest road in the world is located in this area! That's neat! If I had a car, I don't think I would want to drive on that road--especially in winter!
Have you really considered what walking is going to be like in the middle of winter? It gets good and icy, and on those hills, Excellent Opportunities for Exercise can turn into Sprained Knee and Fallen-on Ass like that :::SNAPS FINGERS:::

Rose-colored glasses make some things look nice, but they also make it hard to see obviously iced-over roads and sidewalks between November and April (yes, April).

Have you given up on that house in Bloomfield? For location, it trumps absolutely everything you've been shown or told about.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:54 AM
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
10,021 posts, read 8,492,854 times
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I agree that the schools have little reason to do with why Brookline/Beechview are cheap. Brookline K-8 is the best-ranked neighborhood school outside of the lower East End. Even schools like Beechview, Banksville, and West Liberty (which the remainder of this area falls under) while considered mediocre, are in terms of raw scores far better than neighborhood schools in trendy areas like Lawrenceville, Highland Park, Bloomfield, much of the Lower North Side, etc. It's not schools that keep the area cheaper - it's being off the radar of the East-End centric crew.

That said, the OP is a gay man in his 30s, so chances are he doesn't care about public school options, at least for the short term. Most gay men who I know who eventually adopt or use surrogacy wait until their mid 40s at the latest.
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