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Old 01-01-2016, 09:57 AM
 
46 posts, read 93,996 times
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I'm relocating to the DC area. My job will be near Union Station in DC, and I'll be taking the train in.

In googling different suburbs, I've ended up narrowing it down to Silver Spring. Quick train ride in, and seems like there's a nice selection of apartments - more expensive than I'd like, but I love the idea of "walkable" living, especially walking to both train and grocery store.

BUT ... I just read in another post that Silver Spring has the highest percentage of millennials. I'm old enough to be a millennial's mother. I'm just now relocating away from a University town in the Midwest, and I haven't liked living among mostly college students. Plus I miss culture! Sorry, but I haven't found much culture in the rural Midwest, nearby University notwithstanding.

So, advice about Silver Spring, please? I love the idea of living in or near a vibrant downtown, and walking to everything - especially the train and grocery store.

Looking for input on whether it's really a "vibrant" downtown, or whether it's more on the shady side. And if it's on the more affluent side (which I'm thinking it must be, based on the rents), is it mostly young people? I'm a middle-aged professional, and would ideally like to find friends/neighbors closer to my own age.

Here's a basic question. If I'm walking home at night from the train station, are there neighborhoods or streets I should avoid looking at for apartments, due to safety of walking home at say - 9 pm, if I end up working late? I obviously know about basic safety/common sense in any area. Just wondering if there are specific spots to steer clear of.

I saw discussion in another thread where someone was complaining about Silver Spring being "ghetto" ??? Seriously? With those rents? Diverse is fine by me - I feel like it can add to the vibrancy of a place. But I'd prefer to live in a moderately affluent community. Is that Silver Spring? Opinions? Are there other suburbs I should be looking at? Rockville? (I'd prefer MARC to Metro).

Thanks in advance for any and all input.
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Old 01-01-2016, 12:57 PM
 
Location: DC
1,970 posts, read 1,656,964 times
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It's not shady, but it is diverse. It's consistently middle and upper middle class. Again, ignore the OP from the previous post, as they kind of treated him like he was way off for a reason. It's in no way "ghetto" or "low class". It's pretty obvious you are not used to living in a high COL area like DC area though, Silver Spring's rents are actually on the moderate side for the area.

It is a pretty vibrant area though, tons of restaurants, an arts theater, a great weekly farmers market, tons of festivals, etc. I live close to the area and love it. (I am in my late thirties.)

Let me be clear though, the affluent area in Montgomery County is Bethesda, if you think Silver Spring is high, Bethesda is even more expensive.

In general with regards to professionals, there are many living in the area, but they do skew younger. But there are still a large number of middle-aged people who live in the community.

In terms of Rockville, you may enjoy that more, it's a different feel and it is a bit less walkable with less to do. I think you would love Bethesda, which is the affluent area out here, but from what it's sounding like it's likely out of your budget.

I should note, I know plenty of middle aged professionals who live in downtown Silver Spring and love it.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:21 PM
 
1,348 posts, read 958,242 times
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Downtown Silver Spring has all types of people as far as age/family size/race/income so I wouldn't be concerned about it being too young/millennial-filled. There are some restaurants and bars that skew toward a younger 21-35 crowd, but most places you'll find a good balance of young, old and everything between. I think "moderately affluent" is a good description of downtown, though the area isn't exclusively wealthy like you see in Bethesda. Families from less wealth areas do come to Silver Spring for entertainment/shopping.

All parts of downtown will be relatively safe. As you mention, basic common sense is needed - no walking down alleys at 2am, don't walk around with earbuds in late at night, etc.

I think visiting would be necessary to determine which part of downtown would be most to your liking but as a general overview:
Along East-West highway, a.k.a. South Silver Spring, you'll find a few restaurants, but it's primarily a residential atmosphere. The metro tracks cut the area off from the west side of town (where most restaurants, shopping, entertainment options are) so it's kind of a pain. Then again, the upside is that it's quite so it just depends on what you're looking for.

Ripley District (e.g. The Solaire, Eleven55 Ripley): new, higher end buildings next to the metro and easy walking distance to restaurants, etc. on Ellsworth Dr. and in Fenton Village. This area is still only halfway through redeveloping, so there are still ugly 1 story warehouse buildings. There's also a soup kitchen a block south, so you will see some homeless people. I haven't heard of incidents stemming from that, but it's not an area I'd recommend renting sight-unseen. You'll want to make sure you're comfortable with it.

North Silver Spring (e.g. The Point, Cameron, The Premiere): this is my least favorite part of Silver Spring. Not that there's anything wrong with it, it just feels dead after 5pm due to a lot of buildings being offices. Only a few restaurants and not enough foot traffic to feel vibrant.

Ellsworth Dr. (Citron Apts): nice building, next to nice SFH neighborhood for walks but also adjacent to the most busy/vibrant area of Silver Spring (Ellsworth Dr.). However, the area attracts a lot of young people (families during the day, teens at night) due to it having a movie theater, public plaza, ice skating and performances, etc.

Fenton Village (south of Wayne Ave, north of Sligo Ave; Silver Spring Towers, Crescent Condos): this is my favorite area of Silver Spring as it's more of an adult-only crowd. Lots of unique restaurants and some good bars. A fair amount of construction going on and slated, though, so some blocks look pretty crummy.

Ultimately, if I were on a budget I'd rent in Twin Towers or Silver Spring Towers. If an unlimited budget I'd pick a rental in Crescent Condos or Eleven55 Ripley. If looking for a quieter area I'd pick the Veridian or 1200 East West.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
10,786 posts, read 15,360,978 times
Reputation: 4758
Quote:
Originally Posted by Locolady View Post
Here's a basic question. If I'm walking home at night from the train station, are there neighborhoods or streets I should avoid looking at for apartments, due to safety of walking home at say - 9 pm, if I end up working late?
Others have given you good advice. But if you are at all nervous about the 9 PM situation around the Metro, take a taxi home! It is better to be safe.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:55 PM
 
Location: DC
1,970 posts, read 1,656,964 times
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I have walked around Silver Spring at all hours of the night without an issue. It's in no way dangerous at 9 PM or even 1 AM.

Avoiding the alleys is good advice anywhere though.
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,401 posts, read 7,238,861 times
Reputation: 2227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Locolady View Post
I'm relocating to the DC area. My job will be near Union Station in DC, and I'll be taking the train in.

In googling different suburbs, I've ended up narrowing it down to Silver Spring. Quick train ride in, and seems like there's a nice selection of apartments - more expensive than I'd like, but I love the idea of "walkable" living, especially walking to both train and grocery store.

BUT ... I just read in another post that Silver Spring has the highest percentage of millennials. I'm old enough to be a millennial's mother. I'm just now relocating away from a University town in the Midwest, and I haven't liked living among mostly college students. Plus I miss culture! Sorry, but I haven't found much culture in the rural Midwest, nearby University notwithstanding.

So, advice about Silver Spring, please? I love the idea of living in or near a vibrant downtown, and walking to everything - especially the train and grocery store.

Looking for input on whether it's really a "vibrant" downtown, or whether it's more on the shady side. And if it's on the more affluent side (which I'm thinking it must be, based on the rents), is it mostly young people? I'm a middle-aged professional, and would ideally like to find friends/neighbors closer to my own age.

Here's a basic question. If I'm walking home at night from the train station, are there neighborhoods or streets I should avoid looking at for apartments, due to safety of walking home at say - 9 pm, if I end up working late? I obviously know about basic safety/common sense in any area. Just wondering if there are specific spots to steer clear of.

I saw discussion in another thread where someone was complaining about Silver Spring being "ghetto" ??? Seriously? With those rents? Diverse is fine by me - I feel like it can add to the vibrancy of a place. But I'd prefer to live in a moderately affluent community. Is that Silver Spring? Opinions? Are there other suburbs I should be looking at? Rockville? (I'd prefer MARC to Metro).

Thanks in advance for any and all input.
I live in downtown Silver Spring in one of the many apartment complexes around here (within walking distance of a grocery store and train station), and I'm 43, so I'm probably a little younger than you but definitely older than the millennials.

Some thoughts about your questions/comments above:

1) Downtown Silver Spring is primarily vibrant with a little bit of shady. In general though, it is a well-off area. It also has a mix of different-aged people; it isn't like parts of Arlington where most people are under 30 years old. There is a mix of people socioeconomically who spend time in downtown Silver Spring, largely because Silver Spring is probably the single-biggest bus transit hub in the entire DC area with MANY Metrobus (WMATA) and RideOn (Montgomery County) bus routes, in addition to the Metro Red Line, MARC Brunswick Line, MTA commuter buses, and a few blocks away, a Greyhound station. (Incidentally, those bus routes provide useful, alternative access to downtown DC via Georgia Avenue or 16th Street, Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Wheaton, and a few other areas.)

2) In general, most of downtown Silver Spring (zip code 20910) is fine. The one area that is more sketchy and you'll want to probably avoid at night on foot is near the DC line where Georgia Avenue (US 29) intersects Eastern Avenue, i.e. south of Montgomery College. The area isn't really that bad, but it is more sketchy and equally as important, further away from the Metro station.

3) Admittedly I'm a guy (and a relatively large guy, standing 6'2'' or 6'3'' and over 200 pounds), so safety issues are less of a concern to me, but I've never had an issue coming back to my apartment at any hour of the day, and that includes times when I've returned at 3-5 AM (usually from a day trip to Philadelphia or New York via Amtrak, Greyhound, BoltBus, or Megabus). To be fair, I live less than a 5 minute walk from the Metro station. I don't think you'll have any problems before say 10 PM on Sunday-Thursday nights or maybe 1-2 PM on Friday-Saturday nights.

4) I STRONGLY recommend that you use the WMATA Metrorail (aka Metro) rather than the MARC Brunswick Line for commuting purposes, regardless if you live in Silver Spring or Rockville. (Incidentally, the DC area in general isn't very organic neighborhood-wise IMO, but downtown Silver Spring is definitely more organic than downtown Rockville IMO.) The Metro operates much more frequently, and has shorter headways (i.e. times between trains). Additionally, the MARC Brunswick Line only operates on weekdays (no weekend service) in the peak direction during peak hours; as an example I think the last Brunswick Line train departing Union Station M-F leaves around 7:30 PM. On top of that, the travel time between Union Station and Silver Spring via the Metro and MARC train is about the same; the MARC train takes a lot longer to get up to speed, plus you have to wait for the train to actually leave, and those factors offset its faster top speed when traveling to/from Silver Spring. (It may be a different story for the longer trips to/from Rockville.) Finally, the MARC train is more expensive than the Metro for Silver Spring/Union Station trips. Using the Metrorail also allows you to get discounts for Metrobus or RideOn bus transfers.

5) I personally recommend living WEST of the railroad (Metrorail and MARC) tracks but EAST of 16th Street. The areas along and near East-West Highway are generally quieter than the areas east of the tracks, and you don't need to cross Georgia Avenue (the busiest north-south street in Silver Spring) to access the Metro or MARC stations. Most of the apartments and condos are also close to grocery store (Giant) located along East-West Highway.
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:46 PM
 
Location: DC
1,970 posts, read 1,656,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHIP72 View Post
2) In general, most of downtown Silver Spring (zip code 20910) is fine. The one area that is more sketchy and you'll want to probably avoid at night on foot is near the DC line where Georgia Avenue (US 29) intersects Eastern Avenue, i.e. south of Montgomery College. The area isn't really that bad, but it is more sketchy and equally as important, further away from the Metro station.
Again I am surprised how few people know this area. This area is not bad.

On the DC side of Georgia ave near Silver Spring you have Shepherd Park (Upper and Upper-middle class), and Takoma (Upper-middle class and middle class, and gentrifying). This area is really not sketchy. There is a row of ethnic resturants there and a park on the Silver Spring side. Again, from living in the area on the DC side, it's safe, and again, mostly affluent neighborhoods (actually more affluent than Silver Spring if we are talking about Shepherd Park).

The reality of the DC side is it's retail blight that was caused by Walter Reed hospital leaving and some of the businesses closing as a result of changing demographics in the area. This is likely going to turn around with the Walter Reed redevelopment starts. The entire stretch of Georgia in Shepherd Park and Takoma is planned for major development too, starting with the building the Morris Miller is currently located in becoming a Harris Teeter and a massive condo development across the street from Walter Reed. That overall area on Georgia Ave there is safe, and the two communities there are two of the safest in DC east of the park. In fact if you go up eastern or Blair in either direction you quickly run into half a million dollar town houses and bungalows and $700k- one million dollar cape cods, craftsmans, and Victorians. No joke. I am constantly surprised how little people know about this area.

The thing is most of the development in Takoma has been by the metro station, and not by Georgia Ave. This is because it has become this contiguous cute neighborhood of old Takoma Park, that developers and businesses have tapped into.

With that being said, there is no reason to really go into this area unless you want to get really good chicken at Tito's Pollo or some Salvadorian or Tex-Mex food. The area though will likely look very different in the next five years as the massive redevelopment starts at the old Walter Reed and the Blairs sees more build out on the Silver Spring side.

That's the problem with this area, the retail blight left by the Walter Reed leaving was massive.

That's the problem with Walter Reed, without something to fill that space it is a gap in the community, even though the community itself is pretty affluent.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:33 PM
 
1,348 posts, read 958,242 times
Reputation: 1304
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistrictSonic View Post
Again I am surprised how few people know this area. This area is not bad.

On the DC side of Georgia ave near Silver Spring you have Shepherd Park (Upper and Upper-middle class), and Takoma (Upper-middle class and middle class, and gentrifying). This area is really not sketchy. There is a row of ethnic resturants there and a park on the Silver Spring side. Again, from living in the area on the DC side, it's safe, and again, mostly affluent neighborhoods (actually more affluent than Silver Spring if we are talking about Shepherd Park).

The reality of the DC side is it's retail blight that was caused by Walter Reed hospital leaving and some of the businesses closing as a result of changing demographics in the area. This is likely going to turn around with the Walter Reed redevelopment starts. The entire stretch of Georgia in Shepherd Park and Takoma is planned for major development too, starting with the building the Morris Miller is currently located in becoming a Harris Teeter and a massive condo development across the street from Walter Reed. That overall area on Georgia Ave there is safe, and the two communities there are two of the safest in DC east of the park. In fact if you go up eastern or Blair in either direction you quickly run into half a million dollar town houses and bungalows and $700k- one million dollar cape cods, craftsmans, and Victorians. No joke. I am constantly surprised how little people know about this area.

The thing is most of the development in Takoma has been by the metro station, and not by Georgia Ave. This is because it has become this contiguous cute neighborhood of old Takoma Park, that developers and businesses have tapped into.

With that being said, there is no reason to really go into this area unless you want to get really good chicken at Tito's Pollo or some Salvadorian or Tex-Mex food. The area though will likely look very different in the next five years as the massive redevelopment starts at the old Walter Reed and the Blairs sees more build out on the Silver Spring side.

That's the problem with this area, the retail blight left by the Walter Reed leaving was massive.

That's the problem with Walter Reed, without something to fill that space it is a gap in the community, even though the community itself is pretty affluent.
Eh, I agree with him that it's pretty shady couple square blocks late at night (during the day and evening there are a handful of gems; my favs being the affordable bakeries). It used to be VERY shady a few years back before police finally dismantled a massive drug and prostitution ring based in the motels right there, but it's still a pretty junky, ill-lit area. I'm not surprised to see there were 4 assaults within that 1 block radius this week.

Of course you're right that all the surrounding DC and MoCo neighborhoods are nice, but I wouldn't personally recommend hanging out on that block at night (south of 13th, north of Eastern). Not that OP would ever have a reason to be that far south late at night, anyways, but the Harris Teeter redevelopment can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned. I'm hoping that spurs the motels to redevelop, as well.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:55 PM
 
Location: DC
1,970 posts, read 1,656,964 times
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Originally Posted by bufflove View Post
Eh, I agree with him that it's pretty shady couple square blocks late at night (during the day and evening there are a handful of gems; my favs being the affordable bakeries). It used to be VERY shady a few years back before police finally dismantled a massive drug and prostitution ring based in the motels right there, but it's still a pretty junky, ill-lit area. I'm not surprised to see there were 4 assaults within that 1 block radius this week.

Of course you're right that all the surrounding DC and MoCo neighborhoods are nice, but I wouldn't personally recommend hanging out on that block at night (south of 13th, north of Eastern). Not that OP would ever have a reason to be that far south late at night, anyways, but the Harris Teeter redevelopment can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned. I'm hoping that spurs the motels to redevelop, as well.
The two motels just north of DC by the 7-11 and on eastern..yeah junky, I will agree with you there. I don't hear though of many assaults in that area, certainly not four in one week. There were two assaults in the last two weeks in all of silver spring. It's not all that common. I should stress these area assaults, not muggings. Silver Spring does have it's stupid drunk people bar fight every so often. (It should be noted this is an entertainment district).

The big issue with Silver Spring is theft, and truth be told, that is all I have ever seen in person, occasional shoplifting.

Again I have walked through even this area late at night (take note, white female in my late thirties). I really do not see the issue. It's still safer than much of downtown dc. In fact I had more issues in Arlington than I ever had Silver Spring.

The difference here though may be is I am used to living in cities, but I am not sure how much that matters.
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Old 01-03-2016, 02:30 PM
 
Location: North Beach, Maryland
22 posts, read 8,705 times
Reputation: 11
Ahoy Locolady,

Interesting name by the way! I am a native of Maryland and have lived in several parts of Maryland and NOVA. In my humble experience and knowledge, Silver Spring is definitely a walkable area, contingent on the street, etc. It is known for super diverse restaurants, so you'll eat well if you choose that location. Depending on where you go and want to live there are good/bad of any areas. The best place to figure out if it is savory or an unsavory environment are crime reports. You can do a quick google search to see "activity" in the area that you're looking in. You should also consider Bethesda, Rockville, and Arlington, VA. I hope this is helpful and welcome to the area!
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