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Old 12-17-2010, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Morgantown, WV
111 posts, read 361,730 times
Reputation: 33

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I am a student at Ohio State right now, will be graduating in March, and I'm almost 99% sure I will be attending University of Iowa in the fall. My fiancee and I were going to try to move over the summer, and were looking at the Iowa City or maybe the Coralville area since it wouldn't be too bad of a commute. I just wanted to get a little advice about neighborhoods/parts of town that might be a good fit, as well as commute times/traffic info.

I grew up outside of Columbus (Ohio farmland!) and have lived in a more urban area in Columbus for the past 5 years, so I'm not really afraid of either extreme (although I prefer the country!) We're looking to rent a 2 BR apartment/townhome in an area that is NOT full of college students, although we are okay with a younger crowd, as long as it's a bit more professional and quiet. We hate the party atmosphere and would prefer something a bit more quiet, maybe in the suburbs (or a bit more rural), but nothing with more than a 30-(45?) minute commute. We both also enjoy the outdoors/nature, and we have been to the Coralville reservoir so we thought we might like it, but correct me if I'm wrong here.

Price point is about $600-800/month or so. Don't really care about public transportation, shopping, nightlife etc. Just want a good apartment for the money and safe quiet nights. I'm a very active member on the Columbus forum, so I hope someone on here has it in them =)

Thanks guys =) Any questions, let me know!

One more thing: we have pets--this has always seemed to be a problem in the downtown areas of Columbus...figured I'd mention it

Last edited by cbusgal614; 12-17-2010 at 04:02 PM..
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:48 PM
 
4,709 posts, read 6,340,122 times
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You can drive from Iowa City to the Quad Cities in 45 minutes, the QC's are on the Iowa/Illinois border. You're going to want to ask about a 15-20 minute commute. The only real traffic you'll see is on game day during the college football season.

Others will be able to give better answers as far as certain areas of town and certain apt. complexes. $600 in town is a lil low, but outside of town it should be no problem, $800 for an apt. or townhouse will be no problem anywhere really.

Just as a heads up, Iowa City and Coralville overlap each other and have basically become one larger city. So any Coralville address will be pretty close to where you need to be. Good Luck!
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Coralville/Ames, IA
267 posts, read 1,123,069 times
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Agreed with Dport on the commute, you can get all the way across town in less than 30 minutes. I think Coralville sounds like a good choice for you, or even North Liberty. The farther you get from campus, the fewer college students will be around, and the cheaper rent will be (on average). To give you an idea, I can make it from the mall in Coralville to downtown IC in 10-15 minutes.

The only area I would not recommend in Iowa City is the area south of Highway 6 and east of Riverside. This is the city's most dangerous neighborhood. It's still not really that dangerous, but there's no reason to live there when there are better options. For you, I would also obviously caution you against living near downtown, as there will be lots of students around. Areas east of Governor St. or so would be more suited to your needs.

Feel free to ask if you have any more questions. There are plenty of people on this board who are very familiar with Iowa City, we're happy to help!
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
770 posts, read 1,951,984 times
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iowegan/other Iowa City people: I am most likely relocating to the area for work in the first part of next year. I will be working in Cedar Rapids and my search for where to live is kind of including the North Liberty and Coralville areas. Do you have suggestions about apartments or rental condos in either of these towns? It seems like the rents in Coralville or North Liberty are a little higher than in CR, would you say that is the case? Also, do people often live in Coralville/North Liberty and drive in to CR for work? I'm also curious as to the different impressions about the "local flavor" in differences between Linn and Johnson Counties, if that makes sense.

I am really excited about my pending move to the area!
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Coralville/Ames, IA
267 posts, read 1,123,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by innovator82 View Post
iowegan/other Iowa City people: I am most likely relocating to the area for work in the first part of next year. I will be working in Cedar Rapids and my search for where to live is kind of including the North Liberty and Coralville areas. Do you have suggestions about apartments or rental condos in either of these towns? It seems like the rents in Coralville or North Liberty are a little higher than in CR, would you say that is the case? Also, do people often live in Coralville/North Liberty and drive in to CR for work? I'm also curious as to the different impressions about the "local flavor" in differences between Linn and Johnson Counties, if that makes sense.

I am really excited about my pending move to the area!
You might want to start your own thread on this to get more responses, but I'll answer:

I would agree that rent in Cedar Rapids is likely to be lower. Johnson County is one of the most expensive parts of Iowa. However, I have never rented in either area, so I don't have suggestions about specific complexes for you. I would recommend North Liberty, as it is an easier commute to CR and usually cheaper than Coralville.

Yes, many people commute from Coralville/North Liberty, especially North Liberty. It's a pretty quick commute up 380, although I hear it can be kind of busy around rush hour. In my experience, the traffic on 380 always keeps moving, so it's not too bad. Compared to larger metros, it's a piece of cake.

I think there is a different feel to Johnson County than there is in Linn County, but it's kind of hard for me to put it into words. Iowa City has the student population which gives the downtown a very different feel. Iowa City is just overall a more liberal metro, while Cedar Rapids is a more typical Midwestern city with a little bit more of an industrial vibe. There are definitely nice parts of both, but there is a difference between the two, in my opinion.

I wish you the best of luck in your apartment search, and I hope you enjoy eastern Iowa! Ask away if you have more questions.
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Morgantown, WV
111 posts, read 361,730 times
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I figure I'll think of a few more questions before the week is up...I was expecting to hear a lot worse in the traffic area, I guess Columbus just has a lot of congestion. I live 10 miles from downtown and it takes me almost 45 min on the morning commute. Anyways, figured I'd ask...can folks in the area drive in the snow? I think Iowa gets quite a bit more than Columbus, yet people around here always seem to wreck in the snow, I'm from Pittsburgh so maybe I just learned the right way, but it gets pretty ridiculous. Also, what is public transportation like in the city? I've heard there is a commuter train of sorts for football games, but other than that? I did take the campus bus thing when I was there visiting, but is there a public busing system? Is it worth taking? =P Things I could probably find elsewhere but figured I'd ask.

Few other things I was wondering about just generally: state/local parks with hiking nearby? farmers markets? gun ranges? (my fiancee is a competitive shooter)

I really loved the city when I was there, just trying to get a feel for what people are into, what day-to-day life would be like. To be honest, Iowa felt a lot like Ohio to me, what makes it stand apart from the rest of the midwest?
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Morgantown, WV
111 posts, read 361,730 times
Reputation: 33
Knew I'd think of something before the night was over...

If I was going to look for a more rural/away from the city area (maybe 30 min outside the city?) where would be good to look? Do you think I would have better luck renting a house than finding an apartment? I was looking at the map, and and I'm thinking like Kalona or Riverside...are these rural enough?
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Iowa
30 posts, read 64,637 times
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I'll be moving to Iowa City in January, as a transfer student to finish up my bachelor's. I'm not completely familiar with Iowa City myself (yet born and raised in Iowa, northeast Iowa and Des moines area), but I'll try to throw out a few comments...

For the most part, I think people here have the knowledge of driving in the snow, particularly those from the more rural areas. I also think driving a rear wheel drive vehicle (in the winter) reinforces this knowledge, which I drive myself. It is interesting to see the young kids navigate the first couple snows of the year, however.

State parks or recreational areas, there are numerous nearby. Coralville Reservoir and Lake Macbride are big draws. The Mississippi River isn't that far off to the east (45 mins if that), particularly Wildcat Den State Park near Muscatine, is fabulous. Locally, I love Hickory Hill Park just northeast of the UI campus (about a mile maybe?). I'll definitely be looking into more recreational opportunities once I arrive on campus.

Kalona and Riverside are rural enough; if I remember correctly, Kalona in particular has a large Amish population nearby. You don't have to get too far out of Coralville/Iowa City to be in rural country. I'd personally recommend something between North Liberty and Solon.
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Coralville/Ames, IA
267 posts, read 1,123,069 times
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To answer your question about transportation, the Iowa City metro has three bus systems: Iowa City Transit, Coralville Transit, and Cambus. (North Liberty is also working on starting its own bus system, I believe.) All three of these systems converge in downtown Iowa City. The buses are fine, but they aren't terribly frequent during non-peak hours, so they are not always the most convenient way to get around. You can look up schedules on their respective websites (you can find timetables and maps, etc.). I have never used the bus extensively, as it just doesn't work with my schedule, but it could be nice if it works for you.

If I was going to choose a rural area, I would choose somewhere like Solon, Oxford, Swisher, or West Branch. These are a little closer to IC and just as rural as Riverside or Kalona. financebirder is right about the Amish population in Kalona. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but just something to know if you choose to move there. It is a conservative community.

There are accidents when it gets snowy, of course. But it takes quite a bit of snow and ice for the schools, or anything else to close, so people are used to driving in it. Coming from Pittsburgh, you will definitely be able to handle it.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:20 AM
 
11,289 posts, read 23,021,372 times
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Iowa City has very good public transit for a city of its size. That said though, traffic is basically non-existent in the city. "Bad traffic" basically just means people roll their eyes because there are a lot of people out on the roads - but it's not going to actually take you a lot longer. There's just more to be aware of as far as cars all over. You can get basically anywhere in town in 20-25 minutes. And normally you aren't driving from one edge of the city to the other, so on average you can get back and forth to places within 10-15 minutes.

As far as nicer rural areas, maybe try areas between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City? At least then you have both of those cities as easily accessible options. I actually like the east side of Iowa City. Once you get east of Summit Street. It's cute, fairly quiet, safe (everything is safe except maybe south of highway 6 on the far east side of town - which is sketchy at times).

Up to a 45 minute commute will basically put you most places within 30-45 miles of Iowa City if you're near a halfway decent highway. You could easily include Cedar Rapids if you're willing to do that commute.

I'd just stick with the east side of Iowa City, Coralville or North Liberty. You're talking about moving to a quieter rural area, but you're coming from the point of view of a guy who lives in a metro of 1.7 million people. I'm pretty sure Iowa City will be calm and easy enough for you as long as you're not living right near downtown/campus.

Here are some pictures of the Iowa City area I put together. Keep in mind a lot of this is the campus/downtown area though.

//www.city-data.com/forum/iowa/...here-some.html
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