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Seattle area Seattle and King County Suburbs
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:43 PM
Location: Seattle
1 posts, read 1,889 times
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Our family is moving to Seattle this summer and we're trying to determine which locations could be a good fit for our family. My husband's job will require him to work 3/4 of the year in the South Lake Union area, and the other 1/4 at Seattle Children's. We are looking for a suburban location with about a 1/2-hour commute to these locations, a strong public school district for our 3 children (it doesn't have to be the best in the area, but we want it to be solid), and a casual, less-congested, family-friendly atmosphere. My husband does cycle, so he'd be interested in cycling to work if possible, but that's not a requirement. We're searching for a house to rent for the first year, but it'd be great to rent in an area we'd want to eventually buy a house in (so our kids don't have to switch schools again). Online we've looked at northern suburbs as well as eastside ones (Bothell, Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah...). We'll be flying out to Seattle in a few weeks to rental-hunt in earnest. Any specific insights about places to consider & places to avoid would be helpful. Thanks!
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:28 PM
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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To be perfectly honest, you don't need to live in the suburbs to achieve what you're looking for, and probably can't achieve it if you want the suburbs. If you live in the north end neighborhoods of Seattle, they're all desirable neighborhoods (though do avoid living in the U district, ugh).

So, Greenlake, Wallingford, Ballard, and Fremont will all be nice neighborhoods to live in. If you can afford it, the neighborhood east of the university. Capital Hill (east of Broadway) is nice too. All very safe, all very scenic, and all bike-able to work to south lake union or the children's hospital.

The reason why I avoid the east side for your case is because there's no easy bike routes unless you live on Mercer Island, and you can't bike across 520 and won't be able to in the future. Further, 520 is getting tolls to the tune of $3.50 during rush hours, one way.

Traffic will be much easier if you live in the city too. Don't even think of commuting down south from the northern suburbs. It's gridlock every single day starting at 6 AM and doesn't really let up till about 11 AM.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:40 PM
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You could bike from the NE suburbs by using the Gilman Burke trails (Seattle Department of Transportation: Bike Program). It won't be a 30 minute thing though. Or you could bike to the Park and Ride, hang your bike on the bus's bike rack and go the rest the way on the bus. Just keep in mind, it's a hilly area.

Looks like you're on the right path, hope you find a place!
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:45 PM
24 posts, read 41,536 times
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Default Some info about Kirkland

Kirkland might be a challenge by bike, unless you want to consider the Metra Transit bicycle program, but it has a nice "town" feel within a larger urban area, especially in the neighborhoods around downtown.

The attendance areas near downtown have good schools overall. See the Lake Washington School District site for more details. Many have strong parent participation.

Kirkland has a seasonal fresh market, seasonal concerts, active recreation programs, the 7 Hills of Kirkland bike race, some decent restaurants, small theater, and an arts center. If you live near downtown, many of these places are walkable. It's a fairly short drive to some big-box stores, a couple of malls (one larger and one smaller), Whole Foods, local Metropolitan Market, Costco, etc.

If you don't want to factor in bridges (or driving around the top of the lake) into transportation, then you might want to look on the Seattle side. There has been recent controversy in the school district, and school quality varies, but I understand there are some good schools.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:03 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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I have people that I work with commuting by bike from Sammamish to the Seattle Waterfront via I90, but as bad as that is the extra haul to S Lake Union and Children's would be really difficult. Besides the areas north of Seattle and Ballard, if you want real suburbs you could do a bike commute on Lake City Way from Bothell or Kirkland, but that's pretty busy with traffic and probably not the safest bike route. If you decide on a bus or car commute then Sammamish, Issaquah or Bellevue would be great and all have many bike trails for recreational biking. You can also take a bike on the bus part way and bike the rest.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:25 PM
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Northern suburbs you might want to consider include Shoreline, Edmonds, and Lake Forest Park. Edmonds has a particularly charming downtown. Lake Forest Park has a really cool shopping mall, and I hate shopping malls, but Lake Forest Park's is a real community gathering place with a good bakery and independent eateries.
There are neighborhoods within the Seattle city limits that seem like suburbs, and have good schools. These include View Ridge, Hawthorne Hills, and Wedgwood, all not far from Children's.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:50 PM
Location: Capital Hill
1,600 posts, read 2,974,383 times
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Best suburban areas for you and your husband would be the Shoreline Dist. which is a good school district. This would include areas from Lake Forest Park to the East and Richmond Beach and Innes Arden to the West and all the areas in between.
Inside the city limits, North Beach, Blue Ridge, Crown Hill, Loyal Heights, Bitter Lake, North Gate, Inverness, View Ridge, Ballard and Carkeek Park would be great areas
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