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Old 06-16-2007, 04:57 AM
 
19 posts, read 75,880 times
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Hi there,

I am currently living in Denver, CO and will be relocating to the southeastern Pennsylvania area in August. I will be moving to attend grad school in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Univ) and to be closer to my girlfriend who lives in Lancaster, Pa.

I want to find a location that is suited for young professionals, grad students, etc...that will offer a compromise in location to my school and to Lancaster. Low crime and easy access to supermarkets are important too. I'm thinking either 1 or 2 bedroom apartment or rent/leasing a similar small home. Price is not so much an issue right now.

Any suggestions for locations that meet the above criteria would be much appreciated. Also, since I am unfamiliar with the area...is it possible to find newer housing out there or is most of it historic/old (pardon my ignorance). Any insight as far as the commute to Philly U. and Lancaster (best routes, etc.) would be helpful too.

Thanks,
J.
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,629 posts, read 71,957,894 times
Reputation: 17441
Chester County would probably be your best option, as it is roughly midway between Center City Philadelphia and Lancaster. I would advise you to check into areas such as Downingtown or Coatesville. By auto, the most direct East/West route through that area to access either your college or your girlfriend's place would be Route 30, but that artery can be quite congested.

The drive westward from the Coatesville/Downingtown area to Lancaster via Route 30 would take you roughly an hour. It would likewise take about an hour to drive eastward from that area into Center City via Route 30 to Route 202 North to I-76 East. Be advised though that this stretch of I-76 is known as the "Schuylkill Expressway," and it can be HELL most of the time, especially at rush-hour, as it is only two lanes in each direction, and accidents are commonplace.

Your best bet would be to utilize SEPTA Mass Transit. The R5 (Region 5) rail line runs from Thorndale (between Coatesville and Downingtown) into Downtown Philadelphia. From what I can see, Amtrak has yet to establish a commuter connection into Philadelphia, so you'll have to battle the traffic along Route 30 West from Coatesville/Downingtown into Lancaster to see your girlfriend. SEPTA is a bit expensive, charging $5.50 for a one-way ticket during peak hours for R5, but that $11 round-trip fee might be worth it to avoid the headaches of a daily Schuylkill Expressway auto commute. The parking lot at the Thorndale station has 250 spots, and they are often filled to capacity, so arrive early, if possible.

Alternately, if you plan to commute to Center City daily and only see your girlfriend weekly, it might be better for you to consider moving nearer to Philly and just grin and bear a longer Lancaster commute for once or twice a week. That decision is one you'll have to make. Best of luck, and welcome to PA!
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Old 06-16-2007, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,927 posts, read 13,305,107 times
Reputation: 2688
Good advice by SWB.

Downingtown/Exton/Chester Springs area is probably your best bet. Plenty of new housing here, this is quick growing upscale area.

Another good option is West Chester, about 7 miles south of Exton. Great small town with a vibrant college atmosphere. Plenty of bars/restaurants etc.. You should be content with any of those towns.
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Old 06-16-2007, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
5,518 posts, read 8,663,195 times
Reputation: 5902
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmorton View Post

I want to find a location that is suited for young professionals, grad students, etc...that will offer a compromise in location to my school and to Lancaster. Low crime and easy access to supermarkets are important too. I'm thinking either 1 or 2 bedroom apartment or rent/leasing a similar small home. Price is not so much an issue right now.
I would definitely recommend West Chester for your circumstanes. As SWB has already explained, Rt. 30 is a direct highway between Philadelphia and Lancaster, which can be very easily accessed in Exton from West Chester after a short drive on Rts. 202 and 100. Driving to Philly would is much more tumultuous, so public transportation via bus/subway on SEPTA is another alternative. Philadelphia U. is serviced by SEPTA bus route 35.

WC is a very vibrant college town (West Chester University) filled with a nice mixure of urban professionals, students, and young families. I'm sure you're expecting a little bit of a culture shock coming from out West, but I'm confident you'll find the area to your liking. Shopping in here is also very abundant, so that shouldn't be a concern. In terms of crime, West Chester is a very safe community. It can get "rowdy" on the weekends, as the town has a popular bar scene, but it's hardly anything about which to be too concerned.

Apartments in WC are plentiful and generally reasonable price-wise in comparison to the rest of the Philly area, but there are plenty of more pricey and upscale establishments, if you so desire. These websites should give you an idea about what you're going to find:

]Move.com - Find Real Estate, New Homes, Apartments, Houses for Rent and More

Apartments.com - Search Results

Good luck and welcome to the area. Feel free to ask any more specific questions.
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
1,099 posts, read 4,357,396 times
Reputation: 445
There is a direct Amtrak link between Philly (30th street) and Lancaster city, which runs through Chester county making several stops.
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