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Old 08-05-2014, 06:38 PM
 
15 posts, read 17,010 times
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We may be moving for a 3M position very soon. We have two little ones going into kindergarten and 1st grade. I am looking at a grad program (in one now, would be transferring--PhD) to University of Minneapolis.

The job is in Hutchinson and school is in the city. We have a budget (which will depend on relocation package and sale of our home), between $250-$300k.

Obviously we are looking for a nice city, good schools and a fairly easy commute. By easy, not horribly long, but I'm fine with being in a car for a drive as long as I'm not fighting traffic the entire time. If necessary, I'd rather have the longer drive to the university since I more than likely won't be attending every day (especially while my children are still so young).

We live in an area where even the closest Target is well over an hour away and the closest museum is focused on oil and gas, so we are by far NOT picky in terms of shopping/entertainment/culture/arts. An hour to a major city is already a big bonus! We are originally from Michigan (Detroit), lived in GA, then IL (Chicago) and now OH. We are ready to SETTLE down for awhile

Any advice/insight would be welcome! Thank you!
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities
349 posts, read 479,171 times
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Welcome to MN! Unfortunately a drive between Hutchinson and the U of M is long - about an hour and 20 minutes on a good day (meaning no heavy traffic or inclement weather which could easily double the drive time). Highway 7 is the main route which is only two lanes around Hutchinson and doesn't expand to four lanes until it gets closer to the Lake Minnetonka area and Minneapolis's western suburbs.

You might want to consider towns halfway between the two locales, which means places such as Waconia, Victoria, Minnetrista, or even Chanhassen which is on the southwestern edge of the Twin Cities metro area.

If you have to be in a Hutchinson everyday for work, I'd live there as it is a fine community albeit small. Otherwise, if you don't have to be there each day, I'd live in one of the Twin Cities suburbs such as Chanhassen or Eden Prairie as there is much more to do in the metro area and it is far closer to the U of M. Moreover, if I had to pick I'd rather be closer to the U than Hutchinson since I'd rather have a longer commute with far less stress and traffic to Hutchinson rather than a shorter but more stressful urban drive with a lot of traffic to the U.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Mound, MN
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I agree with what Rhody said. Pick a spot somewhat between the 2 cities. If you want something more suburban and closer to the U of MN then Chanhassen would be a good bet. If you want something more like a small town feel and closer to Hutchinson then Waconia would likely be a nice choice.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:29 AM
 
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Great! Thank you. I'll definitely look into both. Right now I commute about 35 minutes to school--rural 4-lane with no traffic. A unfortunate encounter with a deer once, but otherwise uneventful. My husband is maybe 10 minutes due to a new bridge connecting WV with OH.

So, about the traffic. What might one be looking at commuting from, say Waconia (I'd rather he have a shorter commute since he's the one traveling daily to Hutchinson)? Time isn't as much of an issue since I used to drive an hour from Columbus GA to school in Alabama. But, traffic . . . ugh.

If we were to pick Waconia, any ideas on how accessible shopping is--it is a big deal just to run out an get milk around where we live now.

Interview is very, very soon!
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities
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The trip from Waconia to Hutchinson will be very easy because it is outside of the metro area and traffic will be light; you can take Highway 7 the entire way and it will take about 40 minutes.

The commute from Waconia to the U, on the other hand, won't be so pleasant. In light traffic, it will take about 45-50 minutes, but you'll be on some heavily-traveled roadways in the metro area depending on the route you choose to get there (such as Highway 212 to 62 to Interstate 35W or Highway 7 to Interstate 494 to 394).

Waconia is a nice albeit small town, and Lake Waconia is fantastic! As far as grocery stores, none of the major "chain" locations that are prevalent in the Twin Cities area are present in Waconia, but there is a store called Mackenthun's that locals seem to love (although I've never been to it so I can't personally comment). Otherwise, there is a Cub (which is a large chain grocer in the Twin Cities) located in nearby Chanhassen, and a more upscale grocer - Lunds - in Wayzata.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:29 PM
 
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Thanks, @Rhody2Mn. Interview was today and it seemed to go well. Hutchinson seems to be a fairly decent town, but sounds like it would be one heck of a commute if we were to reside there.

Any other cities to consider?

I know when we lived in about 45 minutes outside of Chicago we had the Metra, which I lived only a block or so from a station. It was a breeze to drive (or walk on a nice day) to the station and take it in to the city. What is the Metro like in the TC? Worth it?

Thank you, thank you! We'll know early next week if we are a go.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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I'd say halfway in the middle. Lake Minnetonka towns, Shakopee, Chanhassen. Those are good cities, good schools, and pretty much equal-distance between Hutchinson and the U.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:58 PM
 
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@justabitoff, thank you! That's what I was looking for. We were really on the fence with this--being spoiled by short and/or easy commutes, but the trade off seems beyond worth it.

Now . . . we wait
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:22 PM
 
687 posts, read 1,186,913 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laskigal View Post
Thanks, @Rhody2Mn. Interview was today and it seemed to go well. Hutchinson seems to be a fairly decent town, but sounds like it would be one heck of a commute if we were to reside there.

Any other cities to consider?

I know when we lived in about 45 minutes outside of Chicago we had the Metra, which I lived only a block or so from a station. It was a breeze to drive (or walk on a nice day) to the station and take it in to the city. What is the Metro like in the TC? Worth it?

Thank you, thank you! We'll know early next week if we are a go.
You might be interested in the express bus routes from the southwest metro. It looks like you can get to University of Minnesota campus in somewhere from 30-70 minutes depending on where you are leaving from. Some of the stops also look like they have all day service. It would likely be faster to drive, but you could actually use your time on the bus to get stuff done.

Southwest Transit serves many of the southwestern suburbs:
swtransit.org

Metrotransit is the metro wide transit service. Their webpage also lists the Southwest Transit routes:
Home - Metro Transit
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:41 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 25,546,732 times
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Unless you're VERY sure you're going to be able to land a spot in a PhD program at the U (the U of MN PhD programs I am that I am familiar with are extremely competitive, although I realize it will vary by field), I would base your housing primarily on the job, not on a University commute, and cross the U commuting bridge if and when you come to it. Although as mentioned, there are good express bus options to the U, so if you were to pursue a grad program you could drive to a park-and-ride spot on school days so you could at least use a good portion of our commuting time productively reading/grading/whatever.
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