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Old 02-13-2014, 03:04 PM
4 posts, read 7,722 times
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Hey all,

I will be relocating to the Tampa Bay area from the northeast, which we are really looking forward to. I will be working in Lakeland, FL. We were wondering which areas would your recommend are the best, for a Asian Indian family with small kids (who will be in elementary school).

We did visit Fishhawk, which was very nice and with great schoools (about 45 minute commute to Lakeland).

New Tampa also seemed really nice, but I have heard of horrific traffic on Bruce B Downs. We really liked Grand Hampton, Hunter Green, etc. Brandon/Valrico also seemed ok.

Lakeland also seems promising, but we hear many varying opinions on this city.

Would anyone recommend the best places to live which would have

1) good school systems
2) diversity (I know its not like nyc)
3) relatively reasonable commute to lakeland (i dont mind 45 minutes or so)
4) Is the New Tampa commute to Lakeland really about an hour
5) Would south tampa be an option.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:26 PM
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New Tampa does have pretty horrible traffic, however, the I75 junction is right there in the middle of it, and if you're going to Lakeland, it may not be *that* bad because you can get out of there and onto the interstate fairly quickly. I used to live there near Lawton Chiles Elementary and could be on the interstate typically in five minutes. That was a while ago though so I can't say how traffic is going from I75->I4->Lakeland these days. My mom still lives there and says the ability to get on I75 is still not too bad.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:36 AM
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South Tampa to Lakeland is not going to be a fun or easy time commuting. It will take you longer to get there than to Fishhawk which is very nice and has good schools, that is true.

And yes, New Tampa traffic is horrid and will probably remain that way for a while until they finish the mess they have been making there for about 10 years now LOL. But as spbbound said, having I-75 there helps - it's only a few exits down to I-4 which you'll need to catch into Lakeland. I-4 used to be much worse than it is now but it is still a very busy thoroughfare. Once you actually get on and get going for a few miles, the traffic begins to thin quite a bit. A 45 minute to an hour is probably a reasonable estimate. During non peak times I have made it to Lakeland from the I-4/I-75 junction in 30 minutes before.

I have not lived in Lakeland myself so I don't know much about it besides what I've seen on the "main drag" where the mall is. Perhaps someone on the forum who lives there can shed some light.

As far as diversity, Tampa is pretty diverse as a whole. We have all kinds of people here everywhere.

How you classify the traffic situations here is going to depend on where in the Northeast you are coming from. For example, I myself am from Northern NJ and I can tell you that no traffic jam here can compare to say, waiting to get through the Lincoln or Holland Tunnels or even rush hour on the BQE. So if you have experienced either of these and lived to talk about it, you should be just fine here
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Old 02-14-2014, 04:53 AM
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Now that the crosstown i4 connector is built it's a 30 min rude to Lakeland and mostly no traffic because of reverse commuting (leaving Tampa in the morning, into Tampa in the afternoon), so south Tampa imo better commute than fishawk, a lot more expensive the schools are better or the same depending on who you listen to, but not diverse at all, New Tampa is most diverse area of the three.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:30 AM
Location: Wake County, NC
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Live in Lakeland. You will grow tired of that commute on I-4, quickly.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:46 AM
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I don't live in Tampa but visit New Tampa area frequently. Tampa traffic usually moves (unless there is an accident, which seems often on the interstates). People drive fast and aggressively on the Interstates in FLA and you really have to stay alert. I'm not sure I'd want to do that commute every day...but on the other hand, Lakeland is probably not as diverse as Tampa suburbs - so not sure if you would feel comfortable there (pretty sure it's less expensive though).

I feel like I've heard Brandon area is nice?? The commute looks better to me - 5 more minutes but not interstate (yet, you could still go up to I-4 if you wanted.

I do like New Tampa and the Bruce B Downs area. Everything you need is there and it's all pleasant. I haven't driven it during rush hour though.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:35 AM
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Valrico is also a place to check out. Easy drive down hwy 60 going to Lakeland. Lots of areas to choose from around Fishhawk and Valrico.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:43 AM
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Hey All,

Thanks for your responses. It has been really helpful in making a decision.

having grown up in northern nj and living in boston, I can attest to some horrendous traffic, so I presume it will not be as bad as I am used to.

Does anyone know if the quality of schools in new tampa is equivalent to or worse than fishhawk. Fishhawk, while nice, seems like it might be difficult to get in and out of because of the narrow lane/traffic pattern with schools/etc.

Also, would it be accurate to say that new tampa is the most diverse area of the three areas listed. If I was to leave for work around 6:15-6:30 AM, I presume it wouldnt be too bad. (45 minutes to an hour).
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:58 AM
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It seems if you were living in fishhawk that most of your trip to lakeland would be driving away from traffic, so It most likely would not be much of a problem. Fishhawk to turkey creek to 60 then off to lakeland. 30-45 minutes would be my guess.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:57 PM
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I live in Tampa. Moved here 3 years ago and did my research on Tampa before coming here. I also have 2 small children so schools are important to me as well. I haven't done much research on Lakeland. I have heard that it is a very low-income area. There isn't much to do there, it is out in the country. New Tampa is very nice, and it is diverse. There are also a lot of Asians that live in that area. Some of the schools there are good. Fishhawk is mostly an all-white area, like 95% white. South Tampa is the most expensive area to live, somewhat diverse, excellent schools, more of that urban feel.

I agree that living in any of those areas and driving to Lakeland will be a chore. You will want to decide if you want to make the commute.
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