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Old 10-29-2013, 02:23 PM
 
12 posts, read 19,259 times
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Hi, My wife and I will be moving to the Hartford area in April/May for a new job. We're trying to figure out what city to buy a house in. We're young, just out of college, and have a 4 month old. We won't be having another child for another few years. Some relevant information:
Our house budget is about $250,000
I want to bike to work in the summer, see attached map for cities that are in the commuting distance I'm looking for.
We want somewhere very safe, as my wife loves to run and take our boy on walks
We both grew up in small farming towns back west, so ideally we would have a more rural feel where we live.
We would prefer to be close to parks and such for our boy to play around. We're very active and outdoorsy!
We're more partial to the north side of the circle on the map, since we have a few friends that live up there. However, that is not a dealbreaker!
Any general advice on areas to live is greatly appreciated. Also, we have been looking at the tiny part of New Britain that is included in the circle on the map by highways 6 and 9. It's close to lots of parks and Trader Joes, and housing prices are pretty low. Why are housing prices so low there? Is it because of noise from the freeway, or is crime bad, or some other factor?
Thanks for any help!
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
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The only safe commute by bike to where you're working is West Hartford.

Your house will be on the smaller side for $250k, but it's doable.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:53 PM
 
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I should also mention I'm also fine with taking the bus to work. I'm looking for a half hour commute, and most express buses within the circle on the map are about a half hour, so anywhere in the circle is a viable option. Bike commuting would just be another plus for me. Just so I know, are you saying safe in the "you won't get mugged on your way to work" sense, or "you won't get hit by a car" sense?
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
214 posts, read 287,932 times
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New Britain is a highly questionable small city with a lot of seedy elements, which is probably why housing prices there are low. The only area of it that could be considered livable is the area immediately surrounding CCSU, which is already occupied by students anyway.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:27 PM
 
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Sorry, thought it was clear from the map that I'll be working in downtown Hartford right off Asylum Hill. I'll be at the Hartford, which sadly will be closing it's Simsbury office soon :-(
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Woburn, MA / W. Hartford, CT
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Given your criteria, I would suggest Simsbury. It's semi-rural, yet has a nice walkable town center with great dining options. Also it's the only community in CT to have the "bike friendly" designation:

Bike Walk Simsbury, CT

The Farmington Valley bike trail, which I frequent a lot, goes right through town...it's the kind of path where you can pull over and stop for Starbucks or ice cream halfway through. Add in the proximity to the Heublein Tower trail, Bradley airport, and the shopping strip in Avon/Canton, and I think you'll like it. The only downside--you'll have to drive quite a ways to get to the Trader Joe's, but then again so does most of Greater Hartford since that's the only one!

If you'll be working in downtown Hartford...there's a park & ride commuter lot and express CT transit bus service from Simsbury. Also you should find housing <$300K. Good luck!

Last edited by htfdcolt; 10-29-2013 at 04:34 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:53 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theholyhandgrenade View Post
Sorry, thought it was clear from the map that I'll be working in downtown Hartford right off Asylum Hill. I'll be at the Hartford, which sadly will be closing it's Simsbury office soon :-(
That is not downtown. You're quite a ways from downtown, and have to traverse some nasty areas to get to downtown from there.

As far as your question on safety, both.
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Old 10-30-2013, 06:19 AM
 
2,695 posts, read 3,449,277 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylo View Post
The only safe commute by bike to where you're working is West Hartford.

Your house will be on the smaller side for $250k, but it's doable.
Agree, I would also look into Newington & Wethersfield. Both towns are nice, but biking to and from work will be tough. To be honest CT is not very "biker" friendly. Hartford is trying to make strides, but the locations you'll have to travel through to get to The Hartford are rough (i.e. sketchy) especially after dark. Bus service is available in these sections, but the farther from Hartford you are I think the bus service is not as reliable i.e. not many choices on times/infrequent/late.

New Britain isn't terrible as people make it out to be (I grew up my whole life there). The part near the circle is near the college. A lot of college kids rent houses in that area. The housing is cheap because schools are not great and crime is above average, plus taxes are crazy high.

Any town above Hartford in your circle I think it would be difficult to bike to and from work in. You have to drive through the North End which is the worst section of Hartford.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Woburn, MA / W. Hartford, CT
5,916 posts, read 4,922,864 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylo View Post
That is not downtown. You're quite a ways from downtown, and have to traverse some nasty areas to get to downtown from there.

As far as your question on safety, both.
I don't consider the location of the Hartford near Asylum & Cogswell to be unsafe from a crime standpoint (car traffic aside). And that approach into downtown is by far the least sketchy of the options. If the OP wishes to bike in to work in the summer from West Hartford, it's fairly straightforward down Asylum.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:14 AM
 
5,989 posts, read 6,694,113 times
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Biking down Asylum from West Hartford is NOT safe, traffic-wise, unless you were to bike on the sidewalks. Biking at night, and maybe even during the day, you are an easy target for muggers in Hartford, who will knock you off your bike, take your wallet, and steal your bike. Far better to take the bus.

New Britain is a slum town, with high crime, some areas that are blue collar Polish, and some areas that are nice (by the reservoir near Southington, or near Kensington).

Your best bet, in terms of community for a family with a young child, and easy commute to work, is West Hartford. There are tons of fantastic programs for kids and their parents. There's a little barnyard at Westmoor park. There are bike and running trails at the Farmington Reservoir, and running trails at the Albany Ave reservoir, and all between the two, up through Bloomfield and Farmington. You're near great shopping, and near Trader Joe's. You can't get a truly "rural" feel, but you can get a 3 BR ranch in a neighborhood with sidewalks and other families with kids in your price range. And you can be assured of good public schools, possibly including preschool, all the way through your children's education. The community is liberal, educated, and more diverse than any other town with good schools.

That being said, Simsbury is a very nice community, and more rural. Bloomfield has rural areas, has poorly rated schools. Windsor is getting more and more like Bloomfield, and Manchester has the same issues - poorly rated schools. For the demographics of the towns, look at greatschools.org - they give demographic breakdowns by school district. South Windsor has good schools, a "rural" feel in some areas. But don't make the same mistake that we did - live where the community is, and drive to recreation, rather than the reverse.
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