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Old 06-19-2010, 01:27 AM
Location: Macao
16,284 posts, read 42,936,125 times
Reputation: 10231


Looking mainly for walkable and pedestrian friendly. You're able to easily walk out of your house and go rent a movie or eat at a restaurant without having to get into your car to do so.

Which parts of Northern Virginia with vicinity to DC would be most like that? (Without compromising safey - have a kid, etc.)

...and hopefully without costing a fortune...(high order, right?)

Anything like that?
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:45 AM
Location: Fairfax County
1,534 posts, read 3,709,141 times
Reputation: 509
Many (but not all) parts of Arlington
City of Falls Church
Vienna (somewhat)
the planned communities in further out portions of Fairfax County/Loudoun County
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:40 AM
219 posts, read 469,490 times
Reputation: 154
I'll just address the areas I can speak to - In the western parts of Fairfax some parts of Reston are reasonably walkable (and development plans are likely to increase destinations to walk to), but not as much so as in Arlington. In Loudoun the recent Brambleton development is centered around a shopping center/village green sort of area with restaurants, shops and a movie theater, also there are a fair amount of playgrounds if your child is in a range to enjoy them, but other than that one shopping area, it is all driving.
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:53 AM
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,601 posts, read 77,209,657 times
Reputation: 19066
Unfortunately much of NoVA outside the Beltway is not pedestrian-friendly and walkable due to poor long-range urban planning (nor is it affordable, believe it or not, since you'd expect such a drawback to have a pricing trade-off). As others have already said large swaths of Arlington, parts of Alexandria, and the City of Falls Church are all good bets. Vienna has a small downtown area, but it, too is mostly geared towards driving. A lot of people on this forum will pound their chests about how "amazingly urban" Reston is (mostly the Loudoun County folks), but as a resident of this place now for over a year I can safely say it is just a suburb masquerading as a city-wannabe because it has tall buildings; our downtown (which feels like an open-air shopping mall with yuppie restaurants and stores) is surrounded by high-speed, wide, and high-traffic roadways, parking lots, and big-box stores---not exactly ideal for pedestrians. Once the NIMBYs here die off or have we progressives shove corks in their mouths Reston is supposed to get a major Arlington-like overhaul with a lot of transit-oriented developments that should improve the quality-of-life here (part of the reason I'm having a "wait-and-see" approach before moving).

Brambleton in Loudoun County has some walkable elements to it, but its downtown area is still very small (hopefully an expansion is planned as the community grows). Leesburg has a small "old town" area that, while charming, is mostly home to antiques stores and other "hobby" businesses that aren't really useful on a day-to-day basis. The rest of Leesburg is a suburban mess of traffic and parking lots.

I'd really advise you against moving outside the Beltway if you value walkability. Reston is the closest thing to meeting your criteria out here in the outer suburbs, and even then as I said people on this forum have pretty low standards if they consider this place to be "urban."
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:56 AM
380 posts, read 1,057,774 times
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See what your budget is; then work backwards from there. Tiger, I know you from the Vegas Forum. Job scene is four times better in DC, but cost of living is double. The condo I bought in Summerlin last year for 35,400, would cost over 250,000 in the walkable parts of Arlington.
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:12 AM
Location: Brambleton, VA
2,136 posts, read 5,285,092 times
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I live in Brambleton. Here's what I can walk to: Brambleton Town Center. I can also walk to all of the community's amenities (http://www.brambleton.com/culture - broken link). We lack a library, a gas station, and big box stores. Otherwise, we've got quite a few dining, entertainment, retail, and services options. You probably won't be able to walk to work (though I know several that do, since they work within the community - and I know a few who bike over towards Verizon/AOL) but your kids can walk to school (except middle school - that's one community over).
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:45 AM
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,915 posts, read 31,230,962 times
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Fairfax City is also pretty walkable. It has a downtown area with grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, etc. There's even a city bus that goes to the metro station, which is outside of the city, itself. It's outside the Beltway and is not a manufactured town center; rather, it's an old community that became its own independent municipality, centered around the Fairfax Courthouse, which was an important center in the county, throughout its storied history.

Within range of the downtown, like Vienna and Falls Church, you will find apartment communities, condominiums, townhouses, and single-family homes that range from compact cottage style houses to larger suburban style homes that have seven-digit price tags. Like Vienna and Falls Church, Fairfax has its own police force, though areas of the county are also very safe, and popular with families. There are some less-than-stellar rental apartment communities in all three of the towns/cities mentioned, but they are isolated exceptions as to the overall communties, and pretty easy to spot, as they are older and not as well maintained.

Vienna and Fairfax are both outside the Beltway, so it's a bit exaggerated to say that only communities that are closer-in have safe, walkable communities. Not all of the community is as walkable as a small town, or a village in the city, like Georgetown in DC, but for safe, suburban towns, they're not too bad. Falls Church is inside the Beltway, and within the city, itself, which is where you would be looking to remain walkable, prices can be higher because the school district is sought-after and it's a couple of stops closer on Metro, though Metro is not in the city, itself, but the median of I-66 (same as Vienna-Fairfax).
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 06-19-2010, 01:36 PM
Location: Fairfax, VA
1,449 posts, read 3,158,263 times
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I live in Reston, and we walk as much as we can. There are sidewalks and hiking/biking trails in the community that make much of it quite easily walkable. Now, I'm not going to lie - if you have to cross a major road on your route, you have to be careful, but I easily walk to just about everything I need. Several pools, parks, restaurants (chains, mostly, but can't be too picky), and grocery stores (including Trader Joe's) - I have even walked up to the Town Center on occasion from North Reston. I like living somewhere I don't need a car to go absolutely everywhere. And this REALLY came in handy during the snowstorms this past winter when we could walk to the Giant AND the ABC store

Now, I would live in Old Town Alexandria or parts of Arlington if I could for walkability, but since we aren't independently wealthy...such is life.

Last edited by hilsmom; 06-19-2010 at 01:38 PM.. Reason: adding info
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:33 PM
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 30,937,315 times
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Some parts of Cascades are also very walkable.

FWIW, I lived without a car for six weeks when we first moved here. Our car delivery was caught in a snafu, and my husband needed the rental car for his job, so I was left to set up a new household without a car. Turned out to be easier than I thought it would be.

We stayed near Cascades Marketplace. It turned out to be very walkable. The marketplace has every kind of store I needed (Home Depot, grocery, furniture, gym, shoe store, sporting goods, office supply, carpet store, hair stylist, even my dentist and chiropractor). Also a dozen or so places to eat.

The library was 2 blocks, and my church was 1 block. Bus stop was 1 block. Post office was 3 blocks. Office complex was 3 blocks and had every kind of service I needed. Plenty of sidewalks everywhere. If I had registered in time I would have even been able to vote, because voting was in the senior center 2 blocks away.
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:42 PM
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 30,937,315 times
Reputation: 42988
Also, when we lived in the Frying Pan Park section of Herndon we had a neighbor from India who did not own a car. He worked downtown so he walked to the Metro Park and Ride, about 5 blocks up the street. There were also some office buildings right in the neighborhood. (I don't know if this means any of my neighbors walked to work, though. )

There was a large shopping plaza that had stores as well as doctor's offices and coffee shops about 3 blocks away. No library within walking distance, but schools and churches were just blocks away. There's also a large park right in the neighbrhood.

He seemed to find it quite doable (not something I'd want to do myself, but he was ok with it). However, I often gave him rides to the grocery store, since lugging grocery bags can be a pain.

Both Herndon and Cascades are lower priced than the "inside the beltway" neighborhoods.
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