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Old 06-20-2010, 10:47 PM
 
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Hey,
Looking at relocating to Pitt from Columbus, OH. Just got home from spending a weekend in Pittsburgh. Must say, it is different than any other city I've ever been, and very unique. Wife and I both love it! However, we realize that it may just be that its different than Columbus. Don't get me wrong, we like Columbus and its always treated us well, but it doesn't have the uniqueness like Pittsburgh does. Enough of this, I am wanting to know, of the BEST(opinionated) location around the Pitt area that is within a 10 minute drive to downtown and has great schools? We currently live in Bexley, and if you know anything about Columbus, Bexley is a great area for families with quick assess to downtown Columbus. Pretty much we are looking for the same, only in Pittsburgh. Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, USA
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Renting, buying, how many bedrooms, price range?
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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Do you want to live in the city or outside in the suburbs? The tax rates are different and the schools are different.

If you have kids and work downtown, I would advise the North Hills.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:31 AM
 
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My sister lived in Bexley 15 yrs ago and loved it. Squirrell Hill is very much like it.
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:41 AM
 
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Just FYI, a ten-minute drive to Downtown is going to significantly limit your options. Downtown is surrounded by rivers and hills and such, so most drives have to go through tunnels and/or over bridges and/or wind around hills, all of which makes it hard to find a ten-minute drive unless you are right next to Downtown (particularly if you are talking about a rush hour commute). And most of the neighborhoods right next to Downtown don't have great public schools.

Off hand, I'd agree Squirrel Hill may be your best bet--it has well-regarded feeder schools, and without traffic is 10 minutes to Downtown, and even with traffic there are ways of bypassing most of the congestion (you don't have any tunnels or major bridges to deal with, fortunately).
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:54 AM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
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There is nothing that compares to Bexley in Pittsburgh when in comes to commute times and great schools. FYI - for those that don't know, Bexley is an older fairly affluent suburb just east of Columbus, with a business district and a college and a pretty good school district. Doesn't it have a country club too?

Frankly, Pittsburgh is a much older city with roads that aren't the greatest. So, you are realistically going to have to sacrifice either your commute time or the schools since most of our suburbs are "further out". Even the nicest city neighborhoods are more than 10 minutes to downtown. Closest thing to Bexley may be Sewickley but you are looking at probably a 30 minute commute and this could be more depending on where you want to go once you get downtown.

Squirrel Hill is similar to Bexley but for the fact that it is in the city, which means city schools and no one with a straight face can tell you that the city school district is "great'', which is what you said you want. If you truely want a great school district, here are the top districts in the Pittsburgh area, Upper St. Clair, Mt. Lebanon, Fox Chapel Area, Hampton, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Quaker Valley and Peters Towship. Am I missing any? Usually this is where Hopes would chime in with the rankings but she has been M.I.A. recently. If you want a walkable neighborhood like Bexley, you are limited to Mt. Lebanon, Quaker Valley (Sewickley Village) or Fox Chapel Area (Aspinwall).

Welcome to the burgh. And it would help if you tell us your budget.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:06 AM
 
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CwEshelman, I live in the city, have a young family, and we are planning to move in a few years (staying within the area) so have started to seriously explore our options. I am very familiar with Columbus, and Bexley is exactly the mental model I had of the perfect suburb. Unfortunately, that just doesn't exist around here (and it took me awhile to come to terms with that... yes, there were tears at one point. What can I say, having kids really raises the emotional stakes!).

The closest in terms of quality of schools, walkability, charming business district, and community pride/cohesiveness would be Mt. Lebanon. Luckily, Mt. Lebanon is one of the inner-ring suburbs and not a bad commute to downtown at all, especially if you're willing to take the subway. There are two ways in which I feel it's not quite as good as Bexley. The first is fairly objective: it's much further from downtown Pgh than Bexley is from downtown Columbus. (Not much of a difference as the crow flies, maybe, but the bridge-and-tunnel backup here adds a lot of time to getting... almost anywhere!) The second is subjective: I personally prefer the Bexley housing stock to the Mt. Lebo housing stock. Don't get me wrong, Lebo is generally immaculate; it's the actual architecture of the homes where I think Bexley has an edge.

I agree with everything robrobrob said here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by robrobrob View Post
There is nothing that compares to Bexley in Pittsburgh when in comes to commute times and great schools. FYI - for those that don't know, Bexley is an older fairly affluent suburb just east of Columbus, with a business district and a college and a pretty good school district. Doesn't it have a country club too?

Frankly, Pittsburgh is a much older city with roads that aren't the greatest. So, you are realistically going to have to sacrifice either your commute time or the schools since most of our suburbs are "further out". Even the nicest city neighborhoods are more than 10 minutes to downtown. Closest thing to Bexley may be Sewickley but you are looking at probably a 30 minute commute and this could be more depending on where you want to go once you get downtown.

Squirrel Hill is similar to Bexley but for the fact that it is in the city, which means city schools and no one with a straight face can tell you that the city school district is "great'', which is what you said you want. If you truely want a great school district, here are the top districts in the Pittsburgh area, Upper St. Clair, Mt. Lebanon, Fox Chapel Area, Hampton, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Quaker Valley and Peters Towship.
except that I would not describe Squirrel Hill as "similar to Bexley." Maybe "the closest approximation you'll find in the city proper," but except for a few isolated blocks, you'll find much more deviation from standard middle class norms in Squirrel Hill than Bexley.

Last edited by caroline2; 06-21-2010 at 08:19 AM..
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robrobrob View Post
Squirrel Hill is similar to Bexley but for the fact that it is in the city, which means city schools and no one with a straight face can tell you that the city school district is "great'', which is what you said you want.
I think certain schools/programs in the Pittsburgh School District are anything from very good to in fact great (e.g., CAPA). Plus there is the Pittsburgh Promise program (which gives substantial scholarships to graduates who attend PA colleges), and they recently got a $40 million grant from the Gates Foundation which is being used to fund a new performance-pay program, and so on.

So personally, I think people could indeed consider at least certain city neighborhoods when thinking of the top possibilities with respect to public schools.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:10 AM
 
20,273 posts, read 29,831,996 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caroline2 View Post
you'll find much more deviation from standard middle class norms in Squirrel Hill than Bexley.
Squirrel Hill does have a pretty diverse mix of students, singles, and so on to go along with the families. But I'm not sure what you mean when you say Squirrel Hill deviates from middle class norms.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:28 AM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
4,323 posts, read 6,374,340 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
I think certain schools/programs in the Pittsburgh School District are anything from very good to in fact great (e.g., CAPA). Plus there is the Pittsburgh Promise program (which gives substantial scholarships to graduates who attend PA colleges), and they recently got a $40 million grant from the Gates Foundation which is being used to fund a new performance-pay program, and so on.

So personally, I think people could indeed consider at least certain city neighborhoods when thinking of the top possibilities with respect to public schools.
For the most part, we can agree to disagree. I just don't think you can compare the city schools to the top suburban schools. Are the city schools improving, yes. Are there some nice options there, yes. However, I would think that an elementary school in Upper St. Clair is more like Shadyside Academy than it is a magnet school.

I guess it all depends on how we define "great".
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