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Old 03-03-2012, 09:00 AM
 
5 posts, read 5,806 times
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Hey guys -
My wife and I are both originally from CA, and have been away for a while for medical training. Finally, we are headed back and are both luck enough to have found great jobs in North County San Diego! We both have family nearby (Solana Beach, Carmel Valley, Los Angeles), and we just love the area - beautiful, laid-back, great beaches and canyons, etc, etc.

We are looking at where to live. We are both in our early 30s and have a 17-month old son. I will be working full time in north La Jolla (near Scripps) and my wife will be working M, W, F in Poway near Pomerado hospital. We really like the idea of living near the beach, so have been concentrating our search in Encinitas. We're also looking in Solana Beach and will check out Carmel Valley if we can't find anything reasonable by the ocean. There is a great-looking new condo complex in Encinitas call Pacific Station. Anyone hear anything good or bad about it? Any thoughts on our commutes from Encinitas, particularly for my wife to Poway, which might be bad up until she gets on the 56? If it's just an extra 20 minutes over a place closer to the 56, it might be worth it to live in Encinitas. Or is the traffic really too bad?

Thanks so much - any other advice is welcome as well! We also are trying to look into schools in the area for our son, but that's probably a topic for another thread.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:25 AM
 
Location: SoCal
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To avoid bad traffic on I-5, your wife might choose to take surface streets through Rancho Santa Fe to get to Poway. I don't know whether it would be any faster, but it would avoid the freeway.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:58 AM
 
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You'll be affected by traffic on "The Merge" of I-5 and I-805. Alternatives: You'll be able to go the straight coast road from Encinitas to Del Mar, and then wiggle your way through Del Mar to La Jolla. That isn't all that stressful, it just adds some time. And your wife could absolutely go east through Rancho Santa Fe, across to 15, but she can also travel south through RSF and go through Del Mar on surface streets east of I-5, and link up with 56 east of the Merge. If you love Encinitas, it's worth it. But you'll have to learn to love the slower drives along the water and through RSF, every day! Or sit in traffic mornings and afternoons...
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Coastal San Diego
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Re: Pacific Station
Here's a realtor blog from the grand opening:
Encinitas – Pacific Station | bubbleinfo.com

Encinitas to Pomerado hospital in Poway is a long haul. Typical drive time will be about 1 hour door-to-door. Even at 3 days a week, that drive will get real old real fast.
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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Carmel Valley would be a good choice; much of it is walking distance to schools, stores [including Jimbo's health food store], library, parks, etc. Tons of families, very safe and clean, and 3 miles to TP state beach, no freeways. Easy access to 56, 5 and 805, so your commutes would be a piece of cake, actually, relatively speaking; your wife would go against traffic. Your commute would not even require freeways, ,and you even have a few side road options, or freeway if you want it!

It's not funky or beachy like solana beach or encinitas, but in our experience, it's fantastic for children/families, and the central location with easy access in and out [almost never traffic], has been a boon. Ex: We travel to Encinitas and La Jolla for things regularly; it's abut 15 min to UTC part of LJ, and same to most of Encinitas, a little more in heavier traffic. The 805/5 merge is just before or after CV, and it's nearly always slow. I love having options for travel, living in CV.

The back roads through RSF, while beautiful, also have traffic nowadays. But, you could do the 5 south to 56 west to 15 north, if you decide on encinitas, and only hit traffic on the 5s part, as the rest is against commute traffic, for the most part. Depending on where in Poway, and where in Encinitas, it could be less than an hour. CV would likely be 30 minutes, tops, to Poway, and honestly about 15 minutes to Scripps, most days.

It depends if you want to trade off lifestyle for location. Though, CV is not exactly shabby, either.

Regarding schools, I can also speak to that. Carmel Valley, Poway and La Costa Canyon are the top rated schools in SD county. Encinitas and RSF have some highly regarded, but some not as good; Solana beach is the same. We have been extremely happy with CV schools; this is after homeschooling a few years, and attending a couple of charter schools. We moved to CV for schools and family life, and are really happy with that choice, not least of which are the reasons mentioned already in my post. The 3 school districts mentioned are a good place to start your search. You might also rent something, say,CV to get you started-an easy landing, while you settle in....you can always move to carlsbad or encinitas down the road. Especially since your child is still young and schools are not an immediate need. [I don't have info on preschools or daycares, though I do know that the san dieguito boys and girls club in carmel valley is the host location to a montessori preschool.]

A great resource for reviews and ratings of schools is: greatschools dot org Type in the city or school name, and parent reviews will come up. Very helpful.
Good luck in your move back!

Last edited by lrmsd; 03-03-2012 at 01:51 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 03-03-2012, 02:31 PM
 
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Thanks for the great input.

We like the idea of starting with a small beach condo and moving to a bigger place in Carmel Valley once our careers get going, keeping the condo as an investment. It's just such a good time to purchase it's hard to not consider it. But on the other hand, I definitely don't want my wife to have a miserable commute. It sounds like we should strongly consider how much the beach location is to us and definitely check out places in Carmel Valley now.

Thanks again for all the help. Best wishes.
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Old 03-03-2012, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Encinitas
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Pacific Station is right in the middle of downtown, on Highway 101, near tons of great restaurants, a Whole Foods, etc. It's also walking distance to the Coaster commuter train station -- the railroad tracks run directly behind Pacific Station, which may be a factor when you consider the noise, etc.
Generally speaking, the commute to and from Encinitas is not as bad as many others say it is. If you lived at Pacific Station, you could jump on the southbound 5 at Manchester Ave. At that point, the traffic is going full-speed, 70mph etc. The bad traffic southbound is to the north, through Carlsbad and Leucadia. The east bound 56 is not bad in the mornings either. It's essentially a reverse commute you'd be doing at that point (most people are pouring out of Rancho PQ and other suburbs towards the 5 in the mornings and going back out at night). Obviously, I support your love Solana Beach (my hometown) and Encinitas (where I live now).
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encinitan View Post
Pacific Station is right in the middle of downtown, on Highway 101, near tons of great restaurants, a Whole Foods, etc. It's also walking distance to the Coaster commuter train station -- the railroad tracks run directly behind Pacific Station, which may be a factor when you consider the noise, etc.
Generally speaking, the commute to and from Encinitas is not as bad as many others say it is. If you lived at Pacific Station, you could jump on the southbound 5 at Manchester Ave. At that point, the traffic is going full-speed, 70mph etc. The bad traffic southbound is to the north, through Carlsbad and Leucadia. The east bound 56 is not bad in the mornings either. It's essentially a reverse commute you'd be doing at that point (most people are pouring out of Rancho PQ and other suburbs towards the 5 in the mornings and going back out at night). Obviously, I support your love Solana Beach (my hometown) and Encinitas (where I live now).
Yeah - we really love the idea of living in Encinitas, but that might have something to do with being in the middle of winter in Philadelphia right now. So, taking your route with Manchester Ave, do you think the Poway commute might be closer to 45 minutes? Would this be better than taking a canyon pass? We will be visiting in a few weeks, and plan to test at least one of the commute paths out.

Let me know if I'm crazy, but this is how I rationalize an extra 20-30 minute commute time:
- At Pacific Station we could live a few blocks from Moonlight beach where I imagine we would take walks, play volleyball (my wife was all-league in college), have the occasional bonfire with visiting family/friends, and make use of our cool new wetsuits
- Pacific Station is literally upstairs from a Whole Foods
- It sounds like the biggest downside to Pacific Station is interior finishings, which we could upgrade
- We're used to a more urban lifestyle (SF, LA, Philly), and Encinitas might be a better fit than CV or another inland area, which all seem incredibly beautiful, but more suburban
- Restaurants, cool bars, and coffeeshops are within walking distance
- We cold live a block from a train station which would be great for my wife's family visiting from LA who plan to come weekly to see their grandson
- A condo in old Encinitas might be a better investment than one in CV, and/or we would get more out of a second (beach) home once we move to a bigger house with a yard, etc
- Encinitas has great school options for our son, at least while he's so young (e.g. Sanderling Waldorf, Hanna Fenichel, etc)
- Great parks and a library are within walking distance

Please tell me if I'm way off-base with these! It seems to me like all the above would more than make up for the extra commute.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Encinitas
2,160 posts, read 5,425,893 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak12 View Post
Yeah - we really love the idea of living in Encinitas, but that might have something to do with being in the middle of winter in Philadelphia right now. So, taking your route with Manchester Ave, do you think the Poway commute might be closer to 45 minutes? Would this be better than taking a canyon pass? We will be visiting in a few weeks, and plan to test at least one of the commute paths out.

Let me know if I'm crazy, but this is how I rationalize an extra 20-30 minute commute time:
- At Pacific Station we could live a few blocks from Moonlight beach where I imagine we would take walks, play volleyball (my wife was all-league in college), have the occasional bonfire with visiting family/friends, and make use of our cool new wetsuits
- Pacific Station is literally upstairs from a Whole Foods
- It sounds like the biggest downside to Pacific Station is interior finishings, which we could upgrade
- We're used to a more urban lifestyle (SF, LA, Philly), and Encinitas might be a better fit than CV or another inland area, which all seem incredibly beautiful, but more suburban
- Restaurants, cool bars, and coffeeshops are within walking distance
- We cold live a block from a train station which would be great for my wife's family visiting from LA who plan to come weekly to see their grandson
- A condo in old Encinitas might be a better investment than one in CV, and/or we would get more out of a second (beach) home once we move to a bigger house with a yard, etc
- Encinitas has great school options for our son, at least while he's so young (e.g. Sanderling Waldorf, Hanna Fenichel, etc)
- Great parks and a library are within walking distance

Please tell me if I'm way off-base with these! It seems to me like all the above would more than make up for the extra commute.

Thanks again.
No, I'd say you're pretty on the mark with most of these. One small correction: the train station in Encinitas only serves the Coaster commuter trains which run from Oceanside to downtown San Diego. The Amtrak, which your wife's family would take from LA, stops about a mile south in Solana Beach.
As for the commute, I've never driven that route. All i was saying is that people make it sound like the I-5 south is a parking lot, but that you will be at the south end of it, and the majority of the time won't be sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:22 AM
 
140 posts, read 456,028 times
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Encinitas has cool vibe with diverse neighborhoods from downtown to Leucadia, Olivenhain to Cardiff. Downtown very vibrant, walkable, lots of restaurants, great small town feel. Only downside I've heard is some complaints about short term rentals near beach.

Pacific station is great location, depending on age of kids may be great, you are within walking distance of great library, parks, etc. Personnally I'm more of a SFH home kind of guy with yard. I live in South Carlsbad and have couple young kids and spend alot of time in Encinitas. I would love to live in Pac Station when I'm empty nester or when I downsize, but is just me. Also would probably love to live there if was single.

I know a bunch of physician, nurse, hi-tech, bio-tech amigos, neighbors in the Encinitas Carlsbad area that work in La Jolla and Sorrento Valley area, most commute via 5, 101 or Coaster. Coaster is awesome, watch sunset over the ocean, read the paper, surf the net, etc.

Best bet is to come out and visit, scope out area for long vacation. You will miss the Cheesesteaks and pretzels on every corner. But San Diego will more than make up for Philly charms, especially in the winter.

Some suggestions on things to do from a previous post

Top recommendations: Things to do when visiting San Diego

Good Luck!
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