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Old 07-26-2010, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
69 posts, read 184,864 times
Reputation: 44

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My husband is applying for jobs in the Cambridge area (biotech) and I am doing preliminary research on where we would live if we were to relocate to the Boston area. It looks like many of the companies he's applying to are located right next to MIT.

We visited Boston a year ago and LOVE Brookline - we are also Jewish and their public schools have an amazing reputation. It looks like we could probably rent a 2-3 bedroom in our price range. However, I am worried about the commute from Brookline to Cambridge - it doesn't look like there is a nice easy way to get across the river without driving (of course I could totally be wrong!). We would downsize to only one car and as a stay-at-home-mom I am assuming I'd need the car for grocery shopping, errand running and child schlepping - although maybe my husband would need the car to get to work and I would then be left with walking/pub. trans. to run errands?

We have a son who will be starting kindergarten in a year and so quality public schools are an absolute necessity. We will be renting with a budget to around $2500 and though we would prefer a 3 bed, we could make do with a LARGE 2 bed. Brookline definitely has a higher price tag but we would be assured a good neighborhood with awesome schools - but we wouldn't mind more bang for our rental bucks, either.

I am wondering what the commute from Brookline-Cambridge is like (and how long it is) and would we be better off just living in Cambridge itself? What are the elementary schools like in Cambridge?

Is there another borough that has superior public schools for our children with an easy (20 minutes or less) commute to the MIT-area?

If we lived in Brookline, would we be better off near Coolidge Corner? It looks closer to MIT - walking distance, maybe? Do people walk to work in the winter? (We're from San Diego - land of drive 20 minutes to everywhere)

Our neighborhood must-haves:
2-3 bedroom for $2500 (H&HW incl)
excellent public schools w/in walking distance
20 min or less commute to MIT

Ideally:
walking distance to decent restaurants, parks, food stores
apt with a [small] yard
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 12,261,881 times
Reputation: 1511
Quote:
Originally Posted by empearls View Post
Our neighborhood must-haves:
2-3 bedroom for $2500 (H&HW incl)
excellent public schools w/in walking distance
20 min or less commute to MIT

Ideally:
walking distance to decent restaurants, parks, food stores
apt with a [small] yard
If San Diego is the land of 20 minute drives to everywhere, East Cambridge is the land of more than 20 minute commutes from everywhere. One exception, fortunately for you, may be Brookline.

You can get the 47 or CT2 bus in the far NE corner of Brookline, near Park Circle or Mounfort St. It's near St. Mary's station on the Green Line. Though the area right near Mountfort St has relatively few rentals, it's within a few blocks' walk of the Beacon St area east of Coolidge Corner.

The 47 goes to Central Square, one stop from MIT (which is at Kendall Square). The CT 2 goes to Kendall itself. The bus can be a bit erratic but it should be under 20 minutes from Park Circle to MIT.

MBTA > Schedules & Maps > Bus > CT2 - Sullivan Station - Ruggles Station via Kendall/MIT

One thing to know about Brookline: you cannot park overnight on the streets. If you keep a car, you'd need to find an apartment with parking included (they're usually more expensive) or find a private spot somewhere. It can be tough to find a convenient private spot, and they run a couple of hundred a month.

Otherwise, I'd look in Belmont, which is more afforable for rentals than Brookline, but with fewer urban amenities at hand. Belmont has a number of bus lines connecting with the Red Line. Most go to Harvard, only 2 stops from Kendall. Belmont also has 2 commuter rail stations with access to Porter, which is 3 stops on the Red LIne from Kendall. It's under 10 minutes to Porter from either station, though the trains run less frequently than a subway or bus line. You'd have to stick to a schedule.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:43 PM
 
5,816 posts, read 15,842,871 times
Reputation: 4734
Whether Coolidge Corner is within walking distance of MIT depends on how much walking one is comfortable with. Google Maps shows it to be a walk of 48 minutes to MIT. It could be 10-15 minutes more or less than this, depending on what part of the MIT campus or vicinity your husband needed to reach. MIT's campus is spread out over a pretty long distance, a mile or more from end to end.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Brookline, MA
613 posts, read 2,298,227 times
Reputation: 365
I live in Coolidge Corner and wouldn't want to do this walk on a daily basis. An hour sounds about right. It's good for a run or a weekend walk, but huffing it twice a day, five days a week will get old fast. Especially when you throw in the weather.

Does your husband bike? While biking in Boston can be an adventure in itself, it's a fairly straightforward ride (down Beacon St. through Kenmore Sq., a left on Mass Ave, across the Mass Ave bridge and he's basically at MIT).

Holden mentions a good option. Even if you don't live right near St. Mary's, your husband could always take the train the few stops from Coolidge Corner and catch the bus that way. Or, take the train a couple stops further to Hynes and I believe there is a bus transfer to Cambridge from Hynes.

The commute isn't terrible; just frustrating that it's pretty close but it's tough to get there directly. Depending on when your son needs to be in school and what time your husband needs to be at work, you could even drop him off and/or pick him up some of the time.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 12,261,881 times
Reputation: 1511
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiver View Post
I live in Coolidge Corner and wouldn't want to do this walk on a daily basis. An hour sounds about right. It's good for a run or a weekend walk, but huffing it twice a day, five days a week will get old fast. Especially when you throw in the weather.
I had missed the mention of possibly walking to the MIT area. I wouldn't do it unless you really want the exercise. In any event, it would take far longer than the 20 minutes you wanted as a max commute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiver View Post
Does your husband bike? While biking in Boston can be an adventure in itself, it's a fairly straightforward ride (down Beacon St. through Kenmore Sq., a left on Mass Ave, across the Mass Ave bridge and he's basically at MIT).
By bike from Brookline, I'd be inclined to avoid Kenmore and take the BU Bridge. From there you can get on the Memorial Drive path or take Vassar St. The bike ride certainly could be done in under 20 minutes from Coolidge Corner or east.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiver View Post
Or, take the train a couple stops further to Hynes and I believe there is a bus transfer to Cambridge from Hynes.
You can get the 1 bus, which runs up and down Mass Av., at Hynes. The only issues are that it only runs on Mass Av. in Cambridge, not near Kendall, which is a few blocks east, and that bus can be slow due to traffic.
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
69 posts, read 184,864 times
Reputation: 44
Thanks everyone! It looks like most of the companies (according to google maps) are right near Kendall Sq. I also can't quite imagine my husband on a bike in all his business clothes (I can just imagine the stains the dry cleaners would have to attempt to remove!).

So unless my husband bikes or drives to work, it looks like the commute form Coolidge Corner to Kendall Sq is in the 40-50 minutes range (which is his current commute now - only he drives 35 miles each way not 3.5!).

Do people suggest living in Cambridge if working in Cambridge? We definitely want the urban feel - my only concern are the schools. Is there anyone who thinks the Cambridge schools are awesome? I know you have to choice in and you could end up on the other side of town - which sounds like a huge pain in the ass because I refuse to put my 5 year old on a school bus.

How far do people with young children walk in the winter?
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 12,261,881 times
Reputation: 1511
Quote:
Originally Posted by empearls View Post
I also can't quite imagine my husband on a bike in all his business clothes (I can just imagine the stains the dry cleaners would have to attempt to remove!).
I thought the same, but I did it in NYC for almost a year and it was great exercise. If you don't pedal hard you really don't work up much of a sweat, and I didn't once get chain grease on my suit or anything like that. Most days I made it in less time than the train would have taken.

It's barely 2.5 miles from Coolidge Corner to Kendall via the BU bridge. Biking at a leisurely 8 mph would make the commute about 20 mins, even with stopping. It's an option to consider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by empearls View Post
So unless my husband bikes or drives to work, it looks like the commute form Coolidge Corner to Kendall Sq is in the 40-50 minutes range (which is his current commute now - only he drives 35 miles each way not 3.5!).
I have to admit I'm confused by this. It takes 40-50 minutes to walk, but the C2 bus line I mentioned gets there in under 20 minutes from Mountfort St. If you found a place near the Knyvet Square/Winthrop Square area, it would be a short walk to the bus at Mountfort St. That area is just minutes from Coolidge Corner and probably more pleasant for living than the very heart of Coolidge Corner itself anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by empearls View Post
Do people suggest living in Cambridge if working in Cambridge? We definitely want the urban feel - my only concern are the schools. Is there anyone who thinks the Cambridge schools are awesome? I know you have to choice in and you could end up on the other side of town - which sounds like a huge pain in the ass because I refuse to put my 5 year old on a school bus.
The Cambridge schools have their fans, and many people have done very well going through the system. Cambridge is much more of a city with much more socioeconomic diversity, including poverty, than Brookline. You'd be in an unquestionably urban school district, which has both pros and cons. Brookline is a very unique place in that it has an urban feel and suburban-like schools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by empearls View Post
How far do people with young children walk in the winter?
Totally depends, but they generally don't walk the length of Cambridge (which is about 4 miles from the Cambridgeside Galleria to Alewife Brook)!
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
69 posts, read 184,864 times
Reputation: 44
Quote:
If you don't pedal hard you really don't work up much of a sweat, and I didn't once get chain grease on my suit or anything like that.
I wasn't thinking so much about chain grease but more like rain and snow and slush and other road/weather conditions that would splash up. Everyone tells me Boston has a long, snowy winter so I was thinking the roads would be impassable by bike (in a suit) for 9 months of the year??? Obviously I have no idea but clarification would be much appreciated!

Quote:
...the C2 bus line I mentioned gets there in under 20 minutes from Mountfort St.
Whoops! I totally missed this in your first post. Thanks for pointing it out to me again! I found a transit estimator on google maps and if you take the T and buses and transfer several times I think it takes 40 minutes or so. Locals are always so much better at this sort of thing than computers!


Quote:
Totally depends, but they generally don't walk the length of Cambridge (which is about 4 miles from the Cambridgeside Galleria to Alewife Brook)!
Do you think it would be normal for most moms and babies to walk maybe 1 mile on an average winter day?
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Boston MA
29 posts, read 82,921 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by empearls View Post
My husband is applying for jobs in the Cambridge area (biotech) and I am doing preliminary research on where we would live if we were to relocate to the Boston area. It looks like many of the companies he's applying to are located right next to MIT.

We visited Boston a year ago and LOVE Brookline - we are also Jewish and their public schools have an amazing reputation. It looks like we could probably rent a 2-3 bedroom in our price range. However, I am worried about the commute from Brookline to Cambridge - it doesn't look like there is a nice easy way to get across the river without driving (of course I could totally be wrong!). We would downsize to only one car and as a stay-at-home-mom I am assuming I'd need the car for grocery shopping, errand running and child schlepping - although maybe my husband would need the car to get to work and I would then be left with walking/pub. trans. to run errands?

We have a son who will be starting kindergarten in a year and so quality public schools are an absolute necessity. We will be renting with a budget to around $2500 and though we would prefer a 3 bed, we could make do with a LARGE 2 bed. Brookline definitely has a higher price tag but we would be assured a good neighborhood with awesome schools - but we wouldn't mind more bang for our rental bucks, either.

I am wondering what the commute from Brookline-Cambridge is like (and how long it is) and would we be better off just living in Cambridge itself? What are the elementary schools like in Cambridge?

Is there another borough that has superior public schools for our children with an easy (20 minutes or less) commute to the MIT-area?

If we lived in Brookline, would we be better off near Coolidge Corner? It looks closer to MIT - walking distance, maybe? Do people walk to work in the winter? (We're from San Diego - land of drive 20 minutes to everywhere)

Our neighborhood must-haves:
2-3 bedroom for $2500 (H&HW incl)
excellent public schools w/in walking distance
20 min or less commute to MIT

Ideally:
walking distance to decent restaurants, parks, food stores
apt with a [small] yard
On the Cambridge side you have Lexington as the best schools. Its like Brookline North. I would not commute from Brookline to Cambridge on a bet! On the Cambridge side if Lexington is too expensive or too rural, I like Arlington and Belmont with Belmont having the best schools, ethnic and socio-economic diversity. Both Arlington and Belmont are close to Cambridge. You can dial in you rural/urban preferences.

Last edited by CaseyB; 07-27-2010 at 01:29 PM.. Reason: realtor advertising
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:41 PM
 
304 posts, read 770,344 times
Reputation: 307
Swampscott has a strong Jewish community and it is on the Commuter Rail. You could take it to North Station and then the Cambridge EZ Ride shuttle to MIT. It would take about an hour, however.
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