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Old 12-21-2010, 09:39 AM
10 posts, read 28,059 times
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My fiance and I are moving to LA from Baltimore - he will be working at Thousand Oaks but I will be, most likely, at the USC health sciences campus in downtown LA. It looks like there are shuttles from Union Station to campus so we are seriously considering finding a place where he can drive and I can take either the metrolink commuter train or the metro rail or a bus, instead of driving in to the city. For the metrolink, I noticed that Chatsworth and Northridge are stations on the route and at a reasonable drive for my fiance to Thousand Oaks. The reviews for all the apartments in this area are terrible though...and I hear that the Valley can get very hot and is very suburban/not-so-charming. I also looked in to some places near North Hollywood, where there is the metro rail red line to Union station. But people warned of the smog and congestion here.

We were thinking of Santa Monica/Culver City and where I could take the Big Blue Bus in to Union Station. But it looks like this is a very expensive/congested area?

I would really appreciate it if someone could give me input on the best areas for us to consider moving to (we would like to rent and keep it below $2300/month for a 1/2 BR apartment), which is a reasonable commute for both of us (downtown LA and Thousand Oaks), in a place that is safe and with some character.

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Old 12-21-2010, 09:51 AM
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,342 posts, read 89,702,939 times
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Will you have regular hours at USC (had to ask as medical people often work odd hours)?

Other places on the Metrolink are Simi Valley and Moorpark. Neither is that exciting though - very suburban, family, soccer, minivans, etc. Both are safe. Moorpark is a little cooler than Simi which is a little cooler than the valley.

I can't tell you about the apartment reviews but Chatsworth and the northern side of Northridge are nice communities. Yes hot in summer (late July, August, early Sept) but not the humid hot like the mid Atlantic states. Probably one or two notches less boring than Simi and Moorpark. Moorpark and Simi are that much closer (easier) to Thousand Oaks too since 118 would be the way to go versus traversing the valley on DeSoto or Topanga or Valley Circle.

Pretty much anything else has you two traveling on the 101 a lot which depending on your schedule may be doable but if you both have regular hours it is pretty bad.
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:13 PM
Location: South Bay
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FYI, nearly all of LA is expensive and congested but the smog isn't as bad as outsiders perceive it to be.
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:33 PM
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I will second what Charles said. For $2300, you can rent a 3 br house in Moorpark or Simi Valley. He will have a very easy commute to Thousand Oaks and your Metrolink ride will be fine.
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:47 PM
Location: SoCal
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I've known HSC (Health Sciences Campus) faculty who've commuted from both Thousand Oaks (TO) and Santa Clarita. The Thousand Oaks guy made this commute daily by car for about 15 years until he took a Dean position at another university. He came in very early (6-ish) and left early or late to lessen traffic. The Santa Clarita guy would occasionally take the Metro-link to Union Station. The viability of car commuting sorta depends on your tolerance of traffic. It rolls off the backs of some but drives others to apoplexy.

Check USC's Transportation services site to explore rideshare (van & car pools), Metro and Metrolink as well as all other options:

USC Transit

TO is considered very safe and "family-friendly" which might translate as boring to some, but I'm sure it has every amenity that someone would need for daily life (groceries, coffee shops, movie theater, dry cleaners, etc). On the other hand, it you regularly catch cool indie bands, are a serious foodie, theater buff, etc., then, closer to L.A. proper might make you happier. Whether it fulfills your "character" quotient will depend on your tastes. I'm speaking from a position of ignorance, but, in general, isn't Baltimore more dangerous than L.A? I guess I'm not sure if your definition of safe is that of someone from the big, bad city or Pleasantville.

More specific details of your wants might help the forum to narrow your search.

Best of luck.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:03 AM
10 posts, read 28,059 times
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Thank you all for your responses. To clarify -

1. by "character" - I meant some place that is not just the typical suburb with Lowe's and McDs at every corner. Ideally, something with a small city feel - with nice dining/shopping options and lively would be nice - but not very congested, at the same time.

2. by "safe" - I meant somewhere that you can walk a few blocks without fearing for your life! Yes, Baltimore has some of the highest crime rates in the USA but it is usually restricted to areas that one would avoid anyway. The place where we live in Baltimore has both character (the historic district - quaint, yet with restaurants/bars at walking distance) and relatively safe.

3. my hours will be flexible - but I will have to stick to a fairly regular schedule. I could come in very fairly or fairly late and leave fairly early or late....but will have to be during somewhat normal hours - ie. 10.30 - 7 PM or or 7AM - 4.

Since this move will, most likely, be for a 3-4 years, we can probably deal with the school kids and strip malls for awhile!

Looks like none of you mentioned West LA as a viable option. From my reading, it appears to be a nice area for a young couple looking for some quiet, yet activity of a smaller city (like Culver City), with better weather than the Valley. Would the drive to TO be a nightmare? I was looking in to taking the Big Blue Bus or the Metro Bus to USC. Obviously, this would not be as convenient as a train but if it is really a much better place to consider living the worse commute may be worth it??

I would appreciate your thoughts!

Thanks again!

Last edited by LostinLosAngeles; 12-23-2010 at 10:49 AM..
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:38 PM
10 posts, read 28,059 times
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Default North Hollywood?

From my reading, looks like NoHo Arts District is a cool area to live in. I could take the metro red line to Union Station and my fiance could drive to TO. But I hear crime is high in this area....

any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Old 12-23-2010, 01:41 PM
Location: South Bay
7,205 posts, read 21,002,496 times
Reputation: 3550
crime is an interesting in statistic in LA. i've known people who live in known safe areas and have had their cars broken into. i've also known people who live in known high crime areas and have had no issues. because this is a big city, crime is always an issue no matter the neighborhood you live in. you'll have to be street smart about your personal belongings, but as for personal safety, you should be fine as long as you avoid the worst neighborhoods (ie compton, pacoima, watts, etc.) which you will have no business visiting to begin with. however, as seen with the recent murder on sunset blvd in beverly hills, bad things can happen anywhere. anyways, you should be fine in north hollywood or any of the neighborhoods that you are considering.

as for your husband commuting to thousand oaks, living in the valley will make for a much easier commute. if you lived on the westside, he would have to battle the 405 or PCH and canyon roads. if you must commute by bus/train, you can also live in the western part of the valley and utilize the orange line busway and connect to the subway in north hollywood on your way to union station. remember that the latest time that most bus and trains run is midnight before going to very limited service, so if you have to work really late, you don't want to get stranded without a car.
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