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Old 02-18-2014, 05:21 PM
 
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I've done a search back through threads written about Erie, PA and have found the information incredibly helpful, but I just wanted to put up a post in case anyone can offer any additional guidance. My family and I will be moving to Erie, PA this summer. We're really excited about the move, but a bit intimidated by the prospect of choosing the right neighborhood to live in since we're really not familiar with the city at all. We will be a one-car family and my husband will likely need the car for commuting, so having day to day amenities nearby for my son and I is very important (I'm a stay at home parent). We'd like to be within close walking/bus distance to shopping (grocery, pharmacy), a park/playground, and a public library. Being able to easily hop on a bus to get to the Erie Art Museum, ExpERIEnce Children's Museum, Presque Isle State Park, and other toddler-friendly sites would also be wonderful, if possible. We'd like to live in Erie City, if possible. After reading back through past threads and talking to the few contacts we have in Erie the Frontier area sounds like it might work for us. However, when I "walk" through that area on Google Maps I can't seem to figure out where grocery stores, library, etc. would be located. Can anyone offer some insight about the walkability of the Frontier area specifically, and let me know if there are other areas we should be considering as well?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:55 PM
 
Location: The Flagship City and Vacation in the Paris of Appalachia
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First of all, welcome to Erie and if you move to the Frontier area welcome to the neighborhood. The Frontier area itself is rather large and is kind of divided up in to three different sub-neighborhoods. First you have the Frontier association itself, which is surrounding Frontier Park and this starts at 8th street and extends to South Shore Dr. and includes Monaca, Frontier, Cherokee, Shawnee, Seminole, and Mohawk drives. Next, you have the Frontier area also called the Kahkwa neighborhood, which also starts at 8th and extends to South Shore Dr. and Ferncliff Beach. This neighborhood includes all of the streets from Lincoln Ave. to Pittsburgh Ave. Finally, you have the Millcreek area of this neighborhood, which is also 8th to South Shore Dr. and starts at Pittsburgh Ave. (one side of the street is Erie and the other is Millcreek) and extends to Peninsula Dr.

All of these neighborhoods are very nice and safe. We walk to Frontier Park and play tennis pretty often and also walk to the Yacht club on a regular basis in the summer. Overall, the neighborhood has some great amenities, but as you may have heard Erie has had significant sprawl so the main shopping area is currently referred to as "Upper Peach" and is only accessible by car from this neighborhood. However, there is a change underway and places like the West Erie Plaza, the Colony Plaza, and some of the other shopping facilities in this neighborhood are being revitalized. I will end this post with a few resources below and add a subsequent post talking about the walkability and amenities.

Here are a few resources:
Greater Kahkwa Neighborhood Watch
Home
Welcome to the Frontier Improvement Association
LEAF - Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park
https://www.facebook.com/westerieplaza
Home: Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle -- TRECpi
Sara's and Sally's 0n Presque Isle, PA
8 Great Tuesdays | Port Erie
Erie Art Museum - blues & jazz festival
Waldameer Water World
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:10 PM
 
Location: The Flagship City and Vacation in the Paris of Appalachia
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OP

Now to answer the rest of your questions:

1) The Frontier neighborhood has very good bus service so if you are okay with using the bus there are many options for you to get around.
2) As a city Erie is not the most walkable because much of the retail is not really that close to the city. For instance, if you are walking in the center of the city on State St. you will notice many restaurants, bars, hospitals, etc. but not many grocery stores, department stores, sporting goods, clothing, etc. Many of these stores like Target, Wegmans, Giant Eagle, Erie Sports Store, etc. are located outside of the city, not really within walking distance of many Erie neighborhoods. With that being said, the Millcreek Mall and Upper Peach St. areas are easily accessible by bus and the most city neighborhoods have good bus service.
3) There is a bicycle trail that goes from Presque Isle through the Frontier Neighborhood on 6th St. all the way to Dobbins Landing and beyond near the Bayfront Parkway. You can also take this trail to downtown Erie via 6th St.
4) Overall Erie is not very walkable, but Frontier is one of the best options for some type of walkability.

What were you thinking about for schools?
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:16 PM
 
Location: The Flagship City and Vacation in the Paris of Appalachia
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Oh one more thing I forgot to add here are the grocery stores in the general vicinity:

Bellos
https://www.facebook.com/BellosMarket

Giant Eagle
https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-...d=0CJsBEPwSMAo

Frankie and May
Erie, PA Fresh Grocer | Frankie & May

West Erie Valu King/Good Cents
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=west+...ed=0CAkQ_AUoAQ

There is also an Aldi on 12th Street near the Giant Eagle and a Wegmans is about 5 miles away near the airport.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:14 AM
 
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Thank you so, so much for all of this helpful information. You've really helped to put me at ease with what life might be like living in the Frontier area, and knowing how the area is divided into sub-neighborhoods is very helpful, too.

If we were living in Frontier, would there be playgrounds within walking distance? I don't mind having to hop on a bus to get groceries, etc. but having to bus to the playground would be tricky. As far as libraries go, when I was doing a look through Google Maps it seemed that there is a large library rather close to the Art Museum and Children's Museum, is that correct? It would be handy if the library, museums, etc. were all in the same general vicinity.

We love biking so knowing more about the bike trail is very helpful.

For schools we really like the look of Harding Elementary, which I believe is accessible to those living in Frontier? Collegiate Academy also looks great, though I understand that an entrance test is required.

Overall Frontier looks like it could work really well for us. I've seen Lawrence Park mentioned in past threads. Can you tell me how that compares as a neighborhood? I notice that it's further away from Presque Isle and from the major shopping areas on Upper Peach.

Thank you again for taking the time to help me out and answer my many, many questions.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:29 PM
 
Location: The Flagship City and Vacation in the Paris of Appalachia
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ctwotwo

No problem answering all of your questions or trying to anyway. Hopefully I can answer the other questions you have posed.

First, the playgrounds nearby are at Harding elementary school, Frontier Park also has a playground next to the tennis courts. There is an additional playground at Liberty Park, which is only a short walk or bike ride from Frontier Park. Here is a good resource with more about the parks in the city: http://www.erie.pa.us/Portals/0/Cont...on%20Guide.pdf
Also, here is a good resource for bike routes: Maps of Bike Routes & Racks | BikeErie

The Blasco library, which is located near the Brig Niagara and the Maritime Museum is by far the best public library in the area. As you pointed out earlier this is relatively close to the Art and Children's museums. Here is a listing of the other libraries: Locations & Hours | Erie County Public Library

From what I have seen Lawrence Park is a nice neighborhood and is close to the Harborcreek shopping district, but it is definitely not as walkable as the Frontier neighborhood of the city. There have been a few days this winter where I just refused to shovel my car out so I walked to some of the places on 8th street and walked home. 6th and 8th are pretty busy roads, but nowhere near as bad as 12th, 26th, Peach, or 38th. When we first moved to Erie we lived in the Glenwood Hills neighborhood and while it was very nice, it was a little too suburban for our tastes and not as walkable as we would have liked. Walkability was probably much better when Erie had a viable central business district, but from what I have seen after living here for a few years the Frontier area is the only area that has some level of walkability.

For schools in the Frontier Area here are my thoughts:

1) Harding elementary is very good K-8. The school boundaries include the Frontier Association area and the Frontier Area/Kahkwa neighborhood.

2) Tracy elementary is also very good and is K-5. This would be the Millcreek portion of the neighborhood. After attending Tracy your kids would go to middle school in Millcreek and eventually McDowell High School, which is a good school, but also the biggest school in the
region.

3) Strong Vincent is the public high school for the Erie portions of the neighborhood and is not a good school, but it is also not the worst in the city.

4) Collegiate Academy, in my opinion, is by far the best high school in the region and would be accessible from the Frontier neighborhood if your children are accepted. It should also be mentioned that Collegiate is public and part of the city of Erie school district, but has specific admission requirements.

5) You also have the private schools (Cathedral Prep for boys and Villa Maria for girls), which are both very good schools and a good alternative to the public schools if you are interested in private schooling.

6) The Erie Day School is also a very good school and is K-8 private school located directly across from Frontier Park.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctwotwo View Post
I've seen Lawrence Park mentioned in past threads. Can you tell me how that compares as a neighborhood?
Lawrence Park is an independent town and has a small business district; it includes a bank, dry cleaner, mechanic, a couple of restaurants, beauty shop, doctors' offices, and a few other small shops. Not much anymore, alas.

The town also has a library branch, and multiple playgrounds and parks. You can easily get downtown on the bus.

To get to larger shopping areas, such as the grocery store or drug store, you'd need a car, or you can take the bus to some of the stores. The shopping centers are in Harborcreek, within walking distance as the crow flies, but you have to cross railroad tracks either at the overpass at one end of town or the underpass at the other end, and Buffalo Road is not pedestrian friendly. I've walked it, but would not want to be lugging the week's groceries home.

It is farther away from Presque Isle, but the beauty of a town like Erie is that nothing is too far away from anything else.

Lawrence Park is split into two areas: the part of town that lies east of Water Street, and Lake Cliff, which is west of Water Street and north of East Lake Road. East of Water Street is the original town, established in the 1910s by General Electric for the workers at its new plant and modeled in the Garden City trend of the times. It's the most walkable part of town. Lake Cliff is almost all residential, and was developed mostly after World War II; during the war, most of the land was vacant and the U.S. government placed trailers on the land to house people coming to town to work at GE.

Lawrence Park is in the Iroquois School District; it has two schools, K-6 and 7-12.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:28 PM
 
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trackstar13 and Ohiogirl81, I so appreciate you both taking the time to provide me with more insight re: the neighborhoods we are exploring. It really does seem like Frontier could be the best fit for what we're looking for. I'm glad to hear there are playgrounds nearby, and that a good library would be easily accessible via bus. Also trackstar13 thank you for letting me know your thoughts re: Glenwood. While we have nothing against suburbs a suburban feel is not what we're looking for right now, so hearing your experience of living there is really helpful.
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:49 PM
 
Location: The Flagship City and Vacation in the Paris of Appalachia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctwotwo View Post
trackstar13 and Ohiogirl81, I so appreciate you both taking the time to provide me with more insight re: the neighborhoods we are exploring. It really does seem like Frontier could be the best fit for what we're looking for. I'm glad to hear there are playgrounds nearby, and that a good library would be easily accessible via bus. Also trackstar13 thank you for letting me know your thoughts re: Glenwood. While we have nothing against suburbs a suburban feel is not what we're looking for right now, so hearing your experience of living there is really helpful.
No problem and don't get me wrong Glenwood Hills is very nice, but it is near impossible to walk to anything from this neighborhood without having to cross Peach or 38th, which are among the busiest roads in the area. Also, Harding is a very good school and it should be noted that Glenwood elementary school was closed last year due to budget cuts. Glenwood feels more suburban because it is mainly residential and kind of isolated for being a city neighborhood. Some people like this because there are some good yards and many larger garages, but it was not our thing. As Ohiogirl81 has said nothing is too far away in Erie by car, but if you want to walk/bike and take the bus to many different places this is where it starts to get tricky because of the urban sprawl and limited bus routes. The bus service is great if you are in or near the city, but as you get further outside the city boundaries, the bus service gets pretty limited. This bus route map should be pretty helpful and make sure to checkout the schedule also, because some of the routes don't operate very often: Maps
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:20 PM
 
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Our housing search continues and I wanted to post one more time in this thread, in search of more advice from people who really know Erie. Because we will only have one short house hunting trip this spring during which we will need to find the house we will move into later in the summer, I want to make sure we explore all reasonable options to make sure we find a place that will really work. All of the help already offered to me via this thread has been incredible, and Frontier is definitely where we are focusing our housing search, but I'm wondering if there are any other areas we should consider based upon our requirements (especially: good schools, good bus service, nearby parks/playgrounds, reasonable commute [by car] to Behrend College, some degree of walkability for basic amenities). Specifically, I am wondering if there are any of the townships/suburbs you might suggest? As I mentioned earlier I don't think a suburb is what we are looking for, but I want to remain open-minded in our search. I noticed on earlier threads that some people described areas like North East and certain parts of Millcreek as having some type of walkability/access to transit, but because I'm so unfamiliar with Erie proper and the surrounding areas I'm having trouble making sense of the various housing areas. What about Edinboro? I notice that the bus service extends there, but I'd imagine the buses would be much more frequent within Erie City (please forgive my ignorance re: the transit maps linked to earlier in this thread -- I'm on an iPad without access to a full computer and can't get the maps or schedules to load). Thank you again for all the help offered thus far, and for any additional insights you can provide.
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