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Old 03-02-2008, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Gulf Coast FL
3 posts, read 6,916 times
Reputation: 10

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Considering moving to a condo in the shore/harbor areas of St. Petersburg or Sarasota. For me, no schools or other suburban community considerations are necessary. Priorities are personal convenience, safety, and a home and community in which I can relax and enjoy after a heavily-loaded and active worklife AND without having to pre-plan or go way out of my way to be involved in my interests. I'm moving for work very soon and will have a short trip in a few weeks for the small bit of exploration I can do before having to make a decision. This is an outstanding forum and I look forward to your advice and suggestions!

BTW, I've moved many times to different parts of the country and know well the quirks and challenges, surprises and disappointments that come with any move with regard to living costs, weather, communities, indigenous creatures (human or otherwise), etc. I've found that living in a new area is the adventure you make it, and no matter where you are there will be strong likes/dislikes that formulate after any move. I'm looking for helpful advice and shared experiences that could make this the most efficient and positive move I could hope (but not expect!) to experience.

Question 1: Can I find my own ideal living situtation: leave the car at home to walk/cab/bike/trolley to grocery or market for staples, drycleaning, cafes, non-chain restaurants, cultural events/festivals, safe and car-free walking/biking paths or beach walking. Quick car trips with easy parking are ok, too, especially when I'll have shopping loads early on. Home would have a waterview with constant breezes. Mid-level professional to pre/early retiree demographic - of course within the expected and welcome retirement age that is FL. Waterside downtown St. Petersburg appeals, Redington Shores and towns south of there appeal, and Sarasota/Keys/Anna Maria Island appeal, at least from what I've researched online including this forum.

Question 2: I won't have a daily commute to one work location, but at times will need to travel to towns north toward Ocala and east toward the Atlantic coast. If Tampa won't be a regular destination, and considering the traffic congestion on the area bridges, would it make more sense for me to live in Sarasota instead of St. Petersburg to bypass this traffic? From maps, looks like it might be easier hurricane evacuation from Sarasota, too?

Question 3: speaking of which....in the event of a hurricane evacuation, could you describe the experience to get inland? Are inland hotels generally available, evacuation roads easy to find and follow, organized enough to move safely and quickly inland? For those of you who live in the mandatory evacuation zones, where do you go and what are some things you need to remember to do (in addition to bringing important docs) before leaving home? Have you experienced long periods of no water or electricity and how did you handle this?

Where I am now, it's been 5-35 degrees and I'm still scraping frost off the car windows and driving and walking through snow and dirty slush. Of course, I'm hiding indoors hoping some errand won't present itself where I'd need to layer on all the heavy winter clothes and go out in the cold. I can't wait to join you all in sunny FL!
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:32 PM
 
849 posts, read 3,268,140 times
Reputation: 199
Cool lots of questions so

I'll put some thoughts right in the body of your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wandrlst View Post
Considering moving to a condo in the shore/harbor areas of St. Petersburg or Sarasota. For me, no schools or other suburban community considerations are necessary. Priorities are personal convenience, safety, and a home and community in which I can relax and enjoy after a heavily-loaded and active worklife AND without having to pre-plan or go way out of my way to be involved in my interests. I'm moving for work very soon and will have a short trip in a few weeks for the small bit of exploration I can do before having to make a decision. This is an outstanding forum and I look forward to your advice and suggestions!

BTW, I've moved many times to different parts of the country and know well the quirks and challenges, surprises and disappointments that come with any move with regard to living costs, weather, communities, indigenous creatures (human or otherwise), etc. I've found that living in a new area is the adventure you make it, and no matter where you are there will be strong likes/dislikes that formulate after any move. I'm looking for helpful advice and shared experiences that could make this the most efficient and positive move I could hope (but not expect!) to experience.
Yes, exactly and even if you find disappointment and frustration sometimes you can turn it around with a positive attitude.

Question 1: Can I find my own ideal living situtation: leave the car at home to walk/cab/bike/trolley to grocery or market for staples, drycleaning, cafes, non-chain restaurants, cultural events/festivals, safe and car-free walking/biking paths or beach walking. Quick car trips with easy parking are ok, too, especially when I'll have shopping loads early on. Home would have a waterview with constant breezes. Mid-level professional to pre/early retiree demographic - of course within the expected and welcome retirement age that is FL. Waterside downtown St. Petersburg appeals, Redington Shores and towns south of there appeal, and Sarasota/Keys/Anna Maria Island appeal, at least from what I've researched online including this forum.
I don't know about constant breezes, This is the Gulf and not Hawaii. We don't have the Trades. Sometimes there isn't much breeze or if the wind is coming from the wrong direction you may not feel too cool. Sometimes there is a breeze and it's also humid so you don't get a lot of benefit. Maybe right on the water but if mid-level refers to price, uhuh. I think the place that meets all of your transportation criteria vis-a-vis the culture, shopping etc. is downtown St. Pete. The trolley even goes to the beach. Readington is a suburb with sand. NO public trans and no real shopping. They won't allow a supermarket. Culture would be Downtown or maybe in Dunedin and you'd have to drive.
Haven't been to Sarasota but if you can afford to be near the water, it would be similar from what I hear may require a bit more driving. Actually, It's probably closer to your demographic. St. Pete has a lot of younger professionals and with 2 universities in town, it's really not as old as it first seems. IMO it's a good mix and I'm peri-retirement.


Question 2: I won't have a daily commute to one work location, but at times will need to travel to towns north toward Ocala and east toward the Atlantic coast. If Tampa won't be a regular destination, and considering the traffic congestion on the area bridges, would it make more sense for me to live in Sarasota instead of St. Petersburg to bypass this traffic? From maps, looks like it might be easier hurricane evacuation from Sarasota, too?
Yes, probably. The big problem with St. Pete is that we're on a peninsula and those bridges flood quickly. You have to be willing to "jump the gun" and go before the mandatory evac. That being said, not all of the peninsula is an evac zone. I live within 2 mi. of water and it's no evac. Right now the crossings are he** because of construction so while Sarasota would put you somewhat South, you'd just get on 75 south and connect in Ft. Myers with SR 80 to Palm Beach or north to I-4 to go to Orlando and points north of Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic. For Ocala you stay on 75.

Question 3: speaking of which....in the event of a hurricane evacuation, could you describe the experience to get inland? Are inland hotels generally available, evacuation roads easy to find and follow, organized enough to move safely and quickly inland? For those of you who live in the mandatory evacuation zones, where do you go and what are some things you need to remember to do (in addition to bringing important docs) before leaving home? Have you experienced long periods of no water or electricity and how did you handle this?
Roads are clearly marked but they may prove inadequate for a major storm. Could be a gridlock situation if people wait too long. I haven't been here long enough to answer all of this but my suggestion about hotels is once a hurricane is mentioned as possibly coming this way make your reservation in a chain that lets you cancel "up to the day of..." That way you have something locked in and can get out if it at the last minute. Timing can be a bit tricky but if you watch the weather reports and look on the NOAA web site, you can see the projected path. I'd make my reservation for the 3rd day out and if it looks like it is going to hit here, go then and stay put. If you don't have hurricane windows get them. If you can't afford them, board up. Bring plenty of bottled water and food as well as some personal hygiene products because after the storm once you return, if it's a bad one it might take a while to get supplied.
You can find all the info on return times and restoration fo services by reading archived stories from 2004 in the St. Petersburg Times or Tampa Bay's 10 News, Weather, Traffic, Sports - WTSP TV - tampabays10.com Don't ask people to relive their traumatic experiences, please.

Where I am now, it's been 5-35 degrees and I'm still scraping frost off the car windows and driving and walking through snow and dirty slush. Of course, I'm hiding indoors hoping some errand won't present itself where I'd need to layer on all the heavy winter clothes and go out in the cold. I can't wait to join you all in sunny FL!
So, how you supply yourself in anticipation of a blizzard is how you prepare for a hurricane. Make sure you have enough to ge you thru the storm and for several days after.
Enjoy the new adventure.

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Old 03-03-2008, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Gulf Coast FL
3 posts, read 6,916 times
Reputation: 10
Default St Petersburg or Sarasota

Thanks, Jessiesma! You've given me lots to think about. It does seem St. Petersburg might be better for lifestyle, but then the work travel might be better from Sarasota. You didn't mean that the bridges flood easily during regular rainstorms, right? I think you meant during hurricanes.

Downtown St. Petersburg vs. Downtown Sarasota:
Do you know if there are walk/bike paths right around downtown? (I'm just a klutz trying to get my bike rack on the car and the bike on the rack!)
Would you recommend a part of downtown that is a more walkable, safe area, especially since some downtown areas in other cities are ghosttowns when the workforce goes home?
Would the downtown area be less affected by most hurricane evacuation warnings?

Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:10 AM
 
849 posts, read 3,268,140 times
Reputation: 199
Default yes, during hurricanes

making evac to the "mainland" impossible, Pinellas will become an island in a Cat. 3 storm.
I'm not familiar with Sarasota, Hello other forum posters! But St. Pete does NOT become a ghost town. There are restaurants etc. The Pinellas trail doesn't go downtown you'd have to drive out a bit to pick it up but there are great areas, parks, pier, etc. along the Bay that are fine for biking. Stay north of central ave and you'll be fine.
Because Downtown is right along the Bay, no it will be affected in hurricanes. But I think you're making too much of Hurricanes. We don't necessarily get EVERY one that forms in the Atlantic. 2004 was a weird year. very rare.

Of course I've said that hurricanes don't know history but it's not like Midwestern tornadoes where they pop up out of nowhere on an almost daily basis. You have plenty of time to avoid a hurricane if you use common sense. Listen to what the forecasters are saying DURING an approaching storm, not what your neighbors say regarding history. We've all heard the stories about Charlie (2004). If you have any concern, let them laugh, just get to where you think you'll be safe. After one or two you'll have a better feel for what they do and be better able to gauge. It's a learning experience. We got to FL a few mos. after going thru Katrina and wouldn't you know, the first "hurricane" to come our way was on June 1, the first official day of the season. Everyone laughed at us for running to a "no evac" zone (we lived at the beach) but after it was over we could laugh at ourselves too but we WERE scared. Anyone who disses you for that is just a jerk.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Wandrlst View Post
Thanks, Jessiesma! You've given me lots to think about. It does seem St. Petersburg might be better for lifestyle, but then the work travel might be better from Sarasota. You didn't mean that the bridges flood easily during regular rainstorms, right? I think you meant during hurricanes.

Downtown St. Petersburg vs. Downtown Sarasota:
Do you know if there are walk/bike paths right around downtown? (I'm just a klutz trying to get my bike rack on the car and the bike on the rack!)
Would you recommend a part of downtown that is a more walkable, safe area, especially since some downtown areas in other cities are ghosttowns when the workforce goes home?
Would the downtown area be less affected by most hurricane evacuation warnings?

Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
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