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Old 11-15-2012, 10:19 PM
 
18 posts, read 106,596 times
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Hi, I’m 49, and a disabled, progressive, educated, and down to earth woman of color that lives in Boston. I'm looking to rent a 2 bedroom: single family, cottage, duplex or 2-family within about an hour of Boston. I’ve seen single family houses for rent in these towns. I have a section 8 voucher, no car, take the ADA paratransit Ride and MBTA, and can walk short distances (i have chronic fatigue & chemical sensitivity). The maximum rent for towns like Newton & Lexington is about 1430. I was told I could request a 25 % rental increase due to medical condition/unique needs. Which towns have very high rents?

I like what Boston and Cambridge have to offer, but too many people, too much pollution, prefer a town or small city, with less congestion. Arlington also seems a bit too hectic. I go to Boston University twice a week and see medical providers in Newton, Wellesley, and Arlington. I may be able to transfer care from Arlington to W. Boylston, MA. I know Newton has a lot of what I’m looking for, and Waltham is good for transportation.

What towns would you recommend?
Can you answer any of the following questions re: these towns:


- If it has a nice town center that I can walk, run errands, shop.
- Has some diversity or is open to people of color
- Nice places to walk-parks, walking trails
- Things to do, like Adult Education or do I have to travel into city to meet people?
- Access to MBTA or commuter rail ( I do have the ride, but nice to access MBTA)
- Any major traffic problems getting into Boston?
- I believe all are within 1 hour of Boston, except Framingham & Worcester?
- How long a drive from Framingham to Boston & Framingham to Worcester?
- What is the feel or vibe of town? Is there green or environmental awareness?

I believe all these towns have a whole foods or the next town has one.

Thanks for any help you can give me! Due to medical problems, it’s hard to use PC regularly.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:17 PM
 
5,817 posts, read 15,187,218 times
Reputation: 4708
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuietGal View Post
Hi, I’m 49, and a disabled, progressive, educated, and down to earth woman of color that lives in Boston. I'm looking to rent a 2 bedroom: single family, cottage, duplex or 2-family within about an hour of Boston. I’ve seen single family houses for rent in these towns. I have a section 8 voucher, no car, take the ADA paratransit Ride and MBTA, and can walk short distances (i have chronic fatigue & chemical sensitivity). The maximum rent for towns like Newton & Lexington is about 1430. I was told I could request a 25 % rental increase due to medical condition/unique needs. Which towns have very high rents?

I like what Boston and Cambridge have to offer, but too many people, too much pollution, prefer a town or small city, with less congestion. Arlington also seems a bit too hectic. I go to Boston University twice a week and see medical providers in Newton, Wellesley, and Arlington. I may be able to transfer care from Arlington to W. Boylston, MA. I know Newton has a lot of what I’m looking for, and Waltham is good for transportation.

What towns would you recommend?
Can you answer any of the following questions re: these towns:


- If it has a nice town center that I can walk, run errands, shop.
- Has some diversity or is open to people of color
- Nice places to walk-parks, walking trails
- Things to do, like Adult Education or do I have to travel into city to meet people?
- Access to MBTA or commuter rail ( I do have the ride, but nice to access MBTA)
- Any major traffic problems getting into Boston?
- I believe all are within 1 hour of Boston, except Framingham & Worcester?
- How long a drive from Framingham to Boston & Framingham to Worcester?
- What is the feel or vibe of town? Is there green or environmental awareness?

I believe all these towns have a whole foods or the next town has one.

Thanks for any help you can give me! Due to medical problems, it’s hard to use PC regularly.
To start with, actually it's Worcester and Shrewsbury that are an hour-plus to Boston. The drive from Framingham might flirt with an hour during commuting times, but will be less than that the rest of the time. That's if you're taking the ADA bus or having someone drive you. If you're taking public transit, the total time getting through Framingham to the train station and then on the train to Boston would probably be over an hour. Regarding transportation and the time involved, I think that Shrewsbury and Worcester both might be farther than you want to be from your care providers in Boston, Newton, Arlington, etc. That's especially true if you'd be relying on public transit for all or most of the trip.

As for the other towns:

Newton: If you have a rental budget that enables you to afford Newton, I'm thinking this may be the best for your needs of the towns you're asking about. There are only two possible drawbacks I can see to this. One would be that if you feel Arlington seems kind of busy for your tastes, it's possible that Newton might seem this way as well. Probably not an issue, though, because Newton has many quiet residential neighborhoods. The second possible issue I see is transportation to Arlington for your appointments there. It's possible to travel from Newton to Arlington by public transit, but it's a bit circuitous. If the tradeoff of having most everyday needs met in Newton is worth a somewhat involved trip to Arlington, or if you can get a ride to Arlington, Newton really could be good, because it's close to Boston, and has nice clean neighborhoods and also a number of commercial districts.

I'm thinking that the top two sections of Newton you might want to check out are Newton Centre and West Newton. These two areas have the best combination of good-sized commercial districts and public transit. Each has its pros and cons in that regard: W. Newton has more in the way of everyday shopping, like grocery stores, but its public transit is the commuter rail. The commuter trains in the inbound direction, toward Boston, make no stops in Newton for most of the afternoon or evening, so you'd need to leave in the morning to get to Boston by train, though once in Boston, you could get back to W. Newton, because the outbound trains do stop in Newton. Newton Centre has more frequent public transit, on the MBTA's green line, but I think there may be only one grocery store. Not sure about that, but I think Newton Ctr. may have less in the way of everyday kind of shopping options than W. Newton.

Framingham: Framingham is a large, spread out suburban kind of town, heavily oriented toward malls as the main shopping areas. There is a downtown, but it's kind of faded, and has little in the way of shopping that would meet everyday needs. There is a local transit bus system, but that runs only during the daytime, and I'm pretty sure it does not run on weekends, or at least not on Sunday. Here and there are a few small local commercial districts where you might be able to find a grocery store and/or drugstore for everyday kind of shopping, but, unless you could rely heavily on the ADA ride, in Framingham you'd need to choose a neighborhood carefully to make sure you were close to either a local neighborhood shopping area or a stop on the transit bus line. If you chose the location carefully with this in mind, Framingham could work, but in general I think it's too spread out to be a top choice for you unless the ADA ride would be readily available.

Lincoln: Probably not the best choice. It's likely to have some of the higher rents, maybe the highest on average, of any town you're asking about here, and it's a spread out woodsy kind of town. It's great for recreational walking on trails through the woods, but not a good town at all for walking as a way to get around for errands. There's also not much to walk to for errands. I'm not sure about this, but there may not even be a grocery store in Lincoln. If you'd be comfortable with being completely reliant on ADA or rides from friends to get out for your appointments and for errands, and you can find a rent that meets your budget, Lincoln could be good, because it's a nice clean town with woods and fresh air, but be aware that you really can't think at all in terms of walking around town for shopping in Lincoln.

One point Lincoln could have in its favor--sort of--is that the town has a commuter rail station. The reason I describe this as only "sort of" an advantage is that this particular rail line would not be especially convenient for getting to your appointments. To get to most of the locations you'd need to get to, you'd have to take the train in to Boston or Cambridge, then transfer to another mode of public transit and ride back out in various directions. The commuter rail could be good for pleasure trips to Boston, but maybe not so much for your appointments, unless you were prepared for all-day trips, more or less.

Lexington: Nice town. Likely also on the high side for rent. I'd recommend trying to find a place to live near Lexington Center. The reason is that this is where you'd find it convenient to walk around for shopping, and to catch the MBTA bus that serves the town. The rest of Lex., while not as spread out and woodsy as Lincoln, still has a very suburban character. You don't usually plan to get to shopping on foot in Lex. unless you live within walking distance of downtown. The vicinity of Lexington Center could be pretty good for you, though, because Lex. is a nice clean town, and the downtown area is a bit more substantial than you find in many other small residential suburbs of Boston. On the other hand, as with the commuter rail in Lincoln, getting to your appointments if you started out by taking the bus from Lexington would involve some transfers, except for the place in Arlington, provided it's within walking distance from the bus line, because that's the same line that serves Lex.

Waltham: You'd probably do best to live in the vicinity of downtown, for shopping and for access to the commuter trains. Waltham is kind of a bipolar small city. Downtown has a hint of an urban feel, with a population of young professionals, probably the most varied ethnic mix in one local neighborhood that you'll find in any town you're asking about (except maybe parts of Worcester, but in the towns closer to Boston), and a solid restaurant scene. Most of the rest of Waltham is typical middle-class suburbia. One practical issue with Waltham is that, if I have this right--and I'm not sure of this--the only true supermarket located near downtown is a bit east of downtown, down a main street that could be a bit of a walk unless you lived toward the east side of downtown. There are a number of little ethnic stores downtown, but I think that store a little way to the east may be the only true supermarket that would be good for basic everyday food shopping.

Woburn: I don't know Woburn well enough to tell you about what's available in the way of shopping, or what neighborhoods you might want to consider. Woburn has a very suburban look and feel, so I'm guessing that it's a town where you'd want to pick your neighborhood carefully in order for access to shopping and the commuter trains to be convenient. As with Lincoln, this is another town served by commuter rail where getting to the locations you need to get to by train would involve a ride into town, then transfers to public transit lines going back out in various directions.

Natick: Nice, clean, middle-class to upper-middle-class town. Natick is served by the same local, weekday-daytime transit system that serves Framingham: MetroWest Regional Transit Authority. You'd probably do best to live either in the Natick Center neighborhood or on the north side in the area generally north of rt. 9 and close to rt. 27.

There is a commuter rail station in Natick Ctr., and a variety of shopping. I believe that there is a sort of old-fashioned small grocery store there, but I think that maybe the closest supermarket is a bit west of downtown, out west on Central St., probably too far to walk, so you might need ADA assistance. The area north of rt. 9 and near rt. 27 puts you close--possibly within walking distance if you live toward the southern or middle parts of the area--to a Stop & Shop supermarket and to a stop on that local transit bus on rt. 27.

Natick has a little here and there in the way of walking trails in the woods, but not lots and lots. There is more of this kind of recreation in the adjacent town of Wayland, and the north side of Natick and to some degree the residential streets in Natick Ctr. offer some quiet suburban residential areas for walking.

Last edited by ogre; 11-16-2012 at 10:30 PM..
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:43 PM
 
643 posts, read 983,092 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
Waltham: You'd probably do best to live in the vicinity of downtown, for shopping and for access to the commuter trains. Waltham is kind of a bipolar small city. Downtown has a hint of an urban feel, with a population of young professionals, probably the most varied ethnic mix in one local neighborhood that you'll find in any town you're asking about (except maybe parts of Worcester, but in the towns closer to Boston), and a solid restaurant scene. Most of the rest of Waltham is typical middle-class suburbia. One practical issue with Waltham is that, if I have this right--and I'm not sure of this--the only true supermarket located near downtown is a bit east of downtown, down a main street that could be a bit of a walk unless you lived toward the east side of downtown. There are a number of little ethnic stores downtown, but I think that store a little way to the east may be the only true supermarket that would be good for basic everyday food shopping.
You might be thinking of Shaw's? There is a Hannaford's on Main Street, west of the bank square area.

There is a pretty big park on the northwest side of the town but I the walk there would be all uphill (and steep). There is a nice grassy quad near the commuter rail line and the Charles River path is also close.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:51 PM
 
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Dravogadro, is Shaw's the grocery store down River St., east of Moody? That's the one I'm thinking of. Didn't know about the Hannaford's. That would certainly make it more convenient to live in the downtown vicinity and to walk for grocery shopping.

Unfortunately it is true that Waltham is a little short on woodsy places to walk, at least near downtown. There is that nature reservation up on the north side of town, but that might be a bit of a hike to get to from downtown, especially for someone with some limitations associated with walking. I'm not too familiar with the Charles River Path. Is that accessible in or near downtown, and does it continue uninterrupted for enough distance to make for a good walk? If so, that could be a good option for the OP for this kind of recreation. There are some scenic spots along the Charles. That "nice grassy quad" downtown is just your basic town common, a nice place to sit and people-watch on a pleasant day, but too small an area for actually taking a walk.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:24 AM
 
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In Waltham, it's called the Blue Heron Trail. You can get on at Prospect or Moody and it will take you to the Watertown Dam with some brief interruptions that take you on sidewalks. You can get all the way to the Museum of Science from there. The plan is to eventually loop around Norumbega to the west near 128, but it's a very disjointed route right now combining small parks and neighborhoods.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:46 PM
 
18 posts, read 106,596 times
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Thanks Ogre and everyone for your help! This is very helpful info. I'm seeing apts in newton and woburn
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