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Old 10-01-2011, 10:48 PM
 
4 posts, read 6,619 times
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Hello Minnesota City-data forum-ers!

I am seriously looking into going to graduate school at Minn State University - Mankato. One major benefit of that particular school is that my wife and I would be able to live rent-free with family in Owatonna. We're trying to weigh the trade-off between two options: a) living in Owatonna and I would commute to Mankato 4-5 days per week, or b) renting a cheap apartment in Mankato and I would walk to school. We currently live in Utah, so we are unfamiliar with traffic patterns on Highway 14 and the effects that snow has on it (and for what duration).

I've done the calculations, and driving would be less expensive than renting a place in Mankato. However, my wife (and me too somewhat) is concerned about me making that drive in the winter. How well-maintained is that stretch of Highway 14 in the winter? Do enough vehicles traverse that route that the roads would be clear(ish) after a snowstorm? Does the additional lane serve its purpose in easing traffic?

Thanks!
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:31 AM
 
Location: Gladstone, MO
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You should be fine, main roads are generally cleared fairly fast unless it is an unusually big snow storm. Although I don't know about highway 14 specifically. If you don't mind the commute and are willing to do it 4-5 days per week, then live in Owatonna.
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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Highway 14 is very open, the wind blows the snow quite a bit. Roads do get plowed fairly quickly but it is also one of the areas of the state that roads get closed more often then other areas during any snow with winds. There is a good chance that there will be a handful of days you won't make it to class. It would depend on the class/professor if that is an issue or not really. I would secure back-up lodging in Mankato if you can't make it home too.

I can't imagine that driving 2 hours round trip every day would be worth free lodging anywhere though.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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One thing I remember from living in the country was how little snow it took to create dangerous driving conditions. It blows everywhere and can quickly drift. While I haven't driven that particular stretch I've found that's where they have a hard time, they can clear it but in a matter of minutes it's drifted again. Plus the blowing snow can reduce visibility. I recall a few times trying to figure out where the road was and that was with the plows out.

I would expect that you would miss some classes and get stuck in Mankato once in a while. I would also recommend AAA as it's easy enough to drive off the road in that kind of storm and making sure that you are prepared for getting stuck.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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I can't say that I'd envy that commute. It's a hour each way and that doesn't include any variables (having to find parking, which shouldn't be too much of a problem in Mankato, but could be), weather, etc. And if gas prices jump for whatever reason, that could certainly bite into any savings you are getting. Is your time worth anything? Has that been calculated into your formula?

I feel that although you might save a bit of money in Owatonna, you'd have a better quality of life being close to the school in Mankato. You could sleep in later (assuming you have morning classes), an easy walk (or drive) to classes, and more time with your wife.

Just things to consider.
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Gladstone, MO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xandrex View Post
Is your time worth anything? Has that been calculated into your formula?

I feel that although you might save a bit of money in Owatonna, you'd have a better quality of life being close to the school in Mankato. You could sleep in later (assuming you have morning classes), an easy walk (or drive) to classes, and more time with your wife.

Just things to consider.
Ya this didn't occur to me, it's a good idea to think about your time as well and how spending less time and more time commuting will affect yourself.
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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Thank you all for the insights. There are certainly some considerations I hadn't thought about. Thanks again.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
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I would say your better off paying for a place in mankato. by the time you commute and if you stay late at the school to do a project or even work on homework it could get late. Mankato appts are a little more on the expensive side but if you don't mind you could look at appts in North Mankato which would be about a 10-15 minute drive to the school but then you also aren't going to have as much as the party life around you. When i was in mankato for school 2 years ago there were some girls that i was friends with that drove from waseca to mankato which isn't as far as owatonna and if it snowed they would have to leave extra early because of people driving slower or just the roads being bad in general. becuase that road is so open when it does snow and the wind blows just a little bit the road gets covered in no time. With it getting dark in the winter by 4:30 that is a long drive to do 4-5x a week if we are having a crappy winter.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Gladstone, MO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracymn View Post
Mankato appts are a little more on the expensive side

expensive apartments in mankato... lol
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
43 posts, read 96,966 times
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you don't think they are expensive? when i started college there i could get an apt with 2 other girls for 275 and that was on the high side. now you couldn't come close to that.

my bf works in williston north dakota so yeah appts in mankato aren't expensive compared to that but i still think they are.
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