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Old 04-18-2012, 10:57 PM
6 posts, read 31,949 times
Reputation: 11


We're relocating from the East Coast to Seattle next month due to my husband job. We were just in Seattle this past weekend for a house hunting trip. Checked out a few rental possibilities in Bellevue area and about 10-12 homes on sale in Bellevue, Issaquah and Sammamish.

We still haven't decided whether to buy or rent when we get there next month. I want to buy but it looks like any decent homes in nice areas are gone in a week! My husband is leaning towards renting for a year as well so I'm basically glued on CL and Redfin every day to find decent housing.

Before we went there for house hunting trip, we decided Bellevue makes most sense for us as he will be working in Redmond and I will be working in downtown Seattle. But after touring both the DT and the burbs of Bellevue...I'm not sure if I like Bellevue all that much? I was actually more impressed by the neighborhoods in Sammamish (which will make my commute a heck of a long one so not sure if we'll choose Sammamish).

So now that I'm kind of blah about Bellevue, and since my husband is leaning towards renting for a year anyway, I suggested why not live on the Seattle side rather than the East side. It will be nice to walk everywhere and be closer to my work. He is quite against the idea though, as his commute will stink. I told him that he can take the connector buses as it looks like they come to Queen Anne, Ballard, Greenwood areas and he says that he's heard taking the MS connector buses is really hard as you have to reserve a seat and leave at a certain hour, etc.

If it is that hard, do all the Microsofties living in Seattle drive to work? How realistic is it to catch a connector bus to Redmond everyday?

Where should we find a place, really? I'm really tired of looking at home listings and not being able to agree on a location with my husband..
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:43 PM
Location: Orlando Florida
370 posts, read 1,020,097 times
Reputation: 94
Default Connector

This is the website for the connector routes and info:

https://www.connectorride.com/, The routes are :

Queen Anne-Belltown
First Hill-Capitol Hill
Mill Creek-Bothell
Issaquah-South Sammamish
Hope this helps.
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:09 PM
7,760 posts, read 15,053,624 times
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She already knows there's a connector bus going through QA/Belltown. The question was whether it was easy to get on and use it everyday-- and that's really something he needs to talk to his work about. I do remember someone here said the connector bus is not as easy as using a public bus, that definitely (DH) will have to sign up and hopefully they have room for him.

There's no guarantee that you're going to find a place that you like on the Seattle side either. Its a tight rental market for sure.

But in case you do find a place in the new said target areas, he can still take (public transit) buses to get close to work (stop is less than a mile). Use the Sound Transit trip planner or insert your address on google maps and push for the public transit options. From DT, he can take the ST 545 (545 | Redmond - Seattle - SoundTransit ) which will drop him off less than a mile from the MS campus (he can bike the rest of the way-- bus will have rack). If you're more north, Ballard, Greenlake or Greenwood, then you could use: 542 | Redmond - University District - SoundTransit His door to door commute will probably be a little over or around an hour. These buses go over SR520. Driving.... on the other hand... If you're willing to pay the toll on SR520 (which its rate is soon to be raise in June)... then it would definitely help. But otherwise, he's very right: it'll stink to high hell.
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:09 PM
Location: Seattle
1,645 posts, read 2,569,951 times
Reputation: 2984
Not all Seattle --> Eastside commutes suck. And how about your commute? It's ok that yours sucks?

My husband and I both work on the eastside and we live in Cap Hill (easy, 15 minute drive to 520 & 148th from our part of the hill). I like to get in early, so it might take a bit longer at peak MS traffic. Previous to that we lived in upper Queen Anne, and before that we lived in Bellevue for 6 years. FYI - I have a good friend who lives on the Sammamish Plateau and I could get to MS faster from Queen Anne (and much faster from Cap Hill). I can say that (IMO of course) I find it easier to drive TO the eastside than to drive to Seattle. Once you get across that bridge it's pretty smooth sailing, and the eastside is full of free, easy parking. Seattle is... not. I'd hazzard a guess that no matter where you live, east or west, you will be taking the bus to DT Seattle because parking and traffic are nasty and most employers cannot (by law) provide subsidized parking for you (there are exceptions). And BTW - the Connector is waaaay more posh than anything Metro has.

It can be realistic to take the Connector, and they are a sweet deal. My husband used to take it from upper Queen Anne. The stop is near the Safeway. He would take it about 50% of the time and the other 50% we drove together, or he would take it home if he was working late and I wanted to head out. He typically made reservations the night before and ocassioanally had to take an early one since the later ones fill up more quickly. They are nearly as fast as driving since they only make a few stops per route and they head straight to/from your origin or destination.

-Few stops
-as comfortable as a bus is going to get
-your co-workers are your fellow passengers. No offense to Metro, but sometimes you get to sit by some really 'interesting' people on the regular bus - esp downtown. But to be fair I've never truly worried about personal safety while riding.

-there are only a few stops per route, so if you want to be withing walking distance - this limits your search radius for housing.
-only runs between certain hours (I think the cutoff is 7pm), so if your husband decides to work some odd ones he's on his own.

*Ok - about reservations. I personally like them, but I am psycotically punctual. If your husband is one of those that is always running late, then the Connector might not be realistic for him. There is an online site where you can go make them (simple, easy interface), and you can do a single reservation or a recurring one. my huband usually did single ones since he pretty much always had the option of driving in with me or even just by himself. If the bus is not fully reserved you can get on without one. If someone has decided to miss the bus (overslept or decided to drive) then you can also get on. All the reservation does is guarantee your seat, but my husband periodically showed up without one and got on. Plus MS likes to track ridership.

Yes - you do have to show up for your reservation time when the bus arrives if you want a guarantee'd spot, but you have to do that for the regular bus and for carpools or vanpools too. I'd recommend not missing it. Even if the next one has room they don't run as frequently as a city bus service. Waiting 20-30 minutes in the cold, dark rain just to find out the next one is full can happen on any bus service here and it sucks - at least he gets to reserve a seat. If you're taking Metro - that can happen quite easily at peak commute times, and there's nothing to do but wait for the next one (and sometimes the next one).

Where should we find a place, really? I'm really tired of looking at home listings and not being able to agree on a location with my husband
I don't think you really want a bunch of strangers on the internet actually dictating this. But here are some questions.. We, of course, loooove giving our opinion.

-Do have kids? or plans for them? School districts should play a big role in your decision if so...
-Does walkability matter?
-How many cars do you have?
-how close do you like to be to entertainment? retaurants? nightlife? Do you like a large selection nearby or are you ok with just a few neighborhood spots.
-do you like older houses? newer? doesn't matter? condos?
-What kind of activities do you like? outdoorsy? or more cultural?

I think renting for a time while you get to really explore and know the area is a terrific idea. No matter where you rent - it's just a year. Best wishes with your decision!
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:13 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
39,372 posts, read 70,636,382 times
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I used to drive daily from Bellevue to Sammamish where I live and with the staggered work hours at MS you could either breeze through or be jammed up depending on when you hit 520. BelRed Road is pretty much jammed up all afternoon with MS people heading toward 520 as many of them live here or Redmond Ridge. I would think he would easily find a carpool to join but even driving it's not far.

I now commute to downtown Seattle and take the bus from the park & ride near Pine Lake in Sammamish and find it relaxing and even enjoyable. The only "characters" are around the Westlake area and one-two may ride with you between tunnel stations. Once you get to the International District station all of the riders are Sammamish residents with good jobs. My bus leaves at 6:06 and arrives at Westlake at 6:50. Coming home, 4:10 to 5:00.

My employer does provide free parking but also pays for the bus passes. Even at 30 mpg the bus saves me about $130/month and a lot of headaches from that traffic on I90 which has gotten a lot worse since the 520 toll.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:13 PM
473 posts, read 1,401,416 times
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Default Quite realistic

I take the Phinney/Greenlake Connector daily - they just added 2 additional trips this week.

As the previous poster mentioned, it helps if you're militant about punctuality (I am as well). They show up at their scheduled times, and they leave.

The "prime times" fill up regularly, but they have a good standby system, and i have yet to not get on a Connector that I didn't reserve. That said, as a time Nazi, I hate the feeling of not having a reservation, so I'm more likely to take a later reservation than try to walk on.

Kudos to you for not just moving to the Eastside sight unseen. Seattle is for many, many people (including me) a much better lifestyle choice for the reasons you mention, and now that 520 is tolled, the commute via Connector or bus is MUCH more predictable and significantly shorter.

Ballard, QA, Belltown, Greenlake, Greenwood, Wedgewood, Laurelhurst, Columbia City, Mt Baker, First Hill, Capitol Hill, Madrona, Leschi and even West Seattle - all have Connector stops, and since you get a bus pass as part of your employment package, even if you're not walking distance to a stop, you'll have good bus connections to the nearest stop. Magnolia is the glaring miss for Seattle neighborhoods, but then, it's the most suburb-like of the neighborhoods anyway.
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:39 AM
1 posts, read 16,837 times
Reputation: 11
Default Curious how it went

I am curious to learn what you decided to do and how the commute is working out. I don't know if you area aware but check out WAHomeowners.com [url=http://wahomeowners.com/finding-a-home]Finding A Home · WAHomeowners.com[/url].. there are great incentives for purchasing in certain areas on the Eastside.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:23 PM
157 posts, read 291,489 times
Reputation: 154
Wouldn't Sammamish/Issaquah to Microsoft be primarily along E Lake Sammamish Rd?
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:29 AM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
39,372 posts, read 70,636,382 times
Reputation: 47721
Originally Posted by Andy Patrizio View Post
Wouldn't Sammamish/Issaquah to Microsoft be primarily along E Lake Sammamish Rd?
E Lake Sammamish Parkway, or across the plateau on 228th/Sahalee Way to 202 and onto 520 or the back roads.
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:30 PM
Location: Past: midwest, east coast
603 posts, read 823,890 times
Reputation: 625
My mother works for Microsoft and her commute varies depending on the building she is working in. We live in the Issaquah/Sammamish area and her commute to the Sammamish offices takes 10 minutes. Going along Eastlake parkway takes ~30 to reach some of the offices in Redmond. Downtown Bellevue is ~20 minute drive (but it takes longer due to traffic). If you are working at the main campus then I would recommend living in Bellevue or Redmond. Issaquah/Sammamish is doable. Many of my neighbors commute to main campus every day and the Connector comes here too.
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