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  1. #1
    Member TexasRider's Avatar
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    Where to live in ride if you were in DC

    I may be moving for a new job in Washington DC. If so, I would rent an apartment. I need to know what areas have easy acess (via train, subway, etc) to DC and also have ample bike friendly riding. I don't khow the DC area all. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Do you have a budget in mind? This area is expensive compared to most places.

    DC if you can find a decent place that's affordable. Apartments in the city are popular right now, and a lot of rental units were lost to condos and redevelopment in recent years. There are a lot of small buildings tucked all over the city.

    Central Arlington thru Vienna has Metro Orange line and runs parallel to the W&OD and Custis bike trails. Also good road riding in the Virginia suburbs. Arlington's Wilson Blvd corridor has a lot of night life (which wasn't the case when I lived there 25 years ago) but apartment rents have gone up a lot. Rents out by Vienna are less, but there is less rental stock to choose from.
    Some parts of south Arlington can be pretty rough, but others are nice. Check around Shirlington.
    Pentagon City/Crystal City is close in and has good metro, but prices are high. Same true for most of Alexandria (although West End should still have some affordable things)
    Some big rental complexes near Huntington, but parts of the Richmond Highway corridor are iffy.

    DC area also has some good bus services - Metro, Ride-on, Dash. Metro buses all have bike racks on the front. That makes places like Fairfax City, Oakton and Springfield more accessible.

    I'm less familiar with rentals in the MD suburbs. Maybe someone else can post.

    PS Where is the job located? That will make a big difference on your commute and living choices.
    Last edited by cc_rider; 07-21-08 at 07:21 AM.

  3. #3
    Cat 4 J.Lockdown's Avatar
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    Its all really based on your budget. DC, VA, and MD are some of the most expensive states to live in but not the top ones. Currently I am in Montgomery County about 30 min outside DC (it is north of DC and a little west). Housing here cost a arm and a leg and I have found that many friends are moving farther North to place such as Fredrick due to housing prices. So it will really depend on what you are looking to spend on housing in relation to distance to office.

    In the area we have a great commuter service in my option called the Metro. It has stations in DC, MD and VA and its very popular along with the MARC or VRE which are rail services into the city. Also Georgetown is a great place for the night life having many bars and great restaurants to eat at. Also great bike store which has just about very frame you could think of ha.

    For biking it all depends, their is some good trails in the area but are some what crowed on the weekends. Outwere I live their is less traffic compaired to down town so I cant really speak of what to epect if you are biking in DC. Either way DC is a great place (well mostly great, their are some areas you want to stay away from) but most is a good and freindly place to live.
    Last edited by J.Lockdown; 07-21-08 at 08:37 AM.
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  4. #4
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    I lived, worked, and commuted by bike in and around DC for six years until last year. My job was in Old Town Alexandria

    At first I lived in Glover Park north of Georgetown. I rented a dump for a fortune, but the neighborhood was okay as long as you didn't have a car to park or didn't want to make friends (very transient). It was also not convenient to the Metro, but there are busses that serve the area. It was an easy 2-mile ride down to the Potomac River to the Mount Vernon Trail straight into Old Town Alexandria.

    Then I moved to Prince Georges County, Maryland, just over the DC line. The neighborhood was rougher, but I really enjoyed the sense of community there. I was able to buy a house for less than renting. It was 4 miles to Logan Circle, another mile or so to Dupont Circle. I had a great commute through the city to the Mount Vernon Trail to Alexandria.

    Then I lived in Alexandria only a mile from my office, so I walked. I paid more than my mortgage to rent a very nice but very tiny apartment. It just about broke the bank, and I missed my bike commute terribly.

    I think I would have liked Capitol Hill alot, but it was too expensive for me. But it's convenient to everything, interesting, and has lots of transit options.

    Springfield seems to me way far away from DC and a PITA to get into the city. Plus, to me it's not interesting at all, but then, I have a fondness for cities and not 'burbs. I was happy to start out in DC and figure out where I wanted to live.

  5. #5
    Senior Member emcb1230's Avatar
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    This is all good advice. So much of your choice needs to be based on where you work. Urban sprawl being what it is, commuting on a daily basis to certain areas is almost impossible. I lived in Upper northwest DC on conn ave. and now I reside in the Ballston area of Arlington, VA. I enjoyed both and have found equally good cycling routes in both areas.

    One of the many great things about DC is the thriving cycling community. There are tons of great places to ride and more importantly, great people to ride with. There are also tons of racing and touring clubs. Here's a good place to start:

    www.bikewashington.org
    www.waba.org

  6. #6
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    Springfield seems to me way far away from DC and a PITA to get into the city. Plus, to me it's not interesting at all, but then, I have a fondness for cities and not 'burbs. I was happy to start out in DC and figure out where I wanted to live.
    Springfield has Metro, so getting around isn't too bad. Rental rates may be better down that way.
    With the major renovations at Springfield Mall and Landmark that area is about to go thru some major changes.

    If apartments are too expensive, there are some group houses and shared rentals around. Older neighborhoods like Pimmit Hills and Greenway Downs, or older townhouse communities tend to have these. Just last week I saw two "for rent" signs on houses in Fenwick Gardens.

  7. #7
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    I think I would have liked Capitol Hill alot, but it was too expensive for me. But it's convenient to everything, interesting, and has lots of transit options.
    "Expensive" is no joke. Get lucky like I did and find a tiny condo/apartment that you can afford and you're set. There's no way I'd be able to move into the half-million dollar townhomes next door, though, at least not without marrying into some serious money.

    If I could pick any place regardless of expense, and of those where I've spent time, it would be here on the Hill, Rosslyn, or Crystal City. That is, unless my job was near or outside the beltway, in which case I'd do everything possible to live near it. Crosstown commuting is a b*tch..

  8. #8
    Member TexasRider's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info. If I move, I'd be working at 810 Vermont Ave NW. It looks like a one bedroom apartment would cost more than i pay on my mortgage for a 3 bedroom house in Texas. I'd be willing to downsize, if I can limit my communte to less than an hour each way and keep my monthly rent below $1,800 per month. I'd like a safe area with bike lanes. Am I asking for too much?

  9. #9
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Yup, you're asking for too much.

    Well, not really -- for most people, it costs about as much to live in a downtown apartment in DC and either walk, bike, or Metro everywhere as it would to live in a 3 bedroom Texan house with a long driving commute.

    The trick is to live on an easy commute route. Your workplace is between four Metro stops, which makes Metro look like an obvious commute choice. Check http://www.wmata.com/ for maps, and use it to check the accessibility of whatever living quarters you're finding.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Miguelangel's Avatar
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    Great post..Tomorrow I will be accepting a job offer in Annadale... Annandale does not really inspire me to live and I was thinking on looking for a place in the Rosslyn / McLean/ or maybe old towne Alexandria. As we have to small doggies we might look to rent a townhouse or a small house with a garden... I wonder will I be able to commute in my bike from McLean to anandale?

  11. #11
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    McLean, eh? One of the higher priced neighborhoods. You might consider in or near City of Falls Church, save you a few $'s, a few miles and a few nasty major highway crossings to Annandale. Or out by Fairfax City, Burke or North Springfield.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Miguelangel's Avatar
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    Falls Church? I thought about it, and its actually closer to dc right??? So do you think the commuting will be possible ? I always thought it would be more expensive than McLean....at least way back when like in early 1980's I thought it was very high priced...

  13. #13
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    If you are willing to have a longer (~20 mile) commute, the Reston area may be viable. There is decent bus service to the West Falls Church metro station from Reston Town Center and P&R lots at Whiele Ave@Rt 267 and Herndon/Monroe. The W&OD bike trail runs thru Reston enabling a long commute entirely on bike trail via W&OD and Custis Trails into Rosslyn and DC (especially Georgetown). There are also some express bus routes so you could bike one way and take bus the other. If you want to bring bike on Metro, get a folder - full size bikes aren't allowed during rush hour. BTW, don't believe anyone who says "Metro is coming to Reston" - they haven't turned a spade of earth yet and it's only going as far as the Whiele Ave P&R, if it even gets that far.

    That said, if I was working downtown, I'd look first at the closer-in areas: Arlington, Alexandria, or Falls Church. Lots of good info at waba.org, bikewashington.org, and www.fabb-bikes.org.

  14. #14
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ks1g View Post
    If you want to bring bike on Metro, get a folder - full size bikes aren't allowed during rush hour.
    Ah, yes -- the Metro bike policy is the main reason why I'm even considering a folder.

  15. #15
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I commute from Annandale to Tysons, and know a few good routes to suggest. I haven't ridden from Tysons on to McClean though, so I can't help you there. Let me know if you move to the area and I'll be happy to help (no furniture moving though, sorry )

  16. #16
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miguelangel View Post
    Falls Church? I thought about it, and its actually closer to dc right??? So do you think the commuting will be possible ? I always thought it would be more expensive than McLean....at least way back when like in early 1980's I thought it was very high priced...
    McLean almost touches DC, but up near Chain Bridge. Falls Church has better access to downtown.

    There is a BIG premium for a McLean address. Falls Church has expensive sections (north towards McLean and center of town) and cheaper sections (Seven Corners, south and west). Route 50 corridor is generally less expensive and has several large apartment complexes.
    W&OD trail and Metrorail both go thru Falls Church. Also several good biking routes to Annandale.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    .... I haven't ridden from Tysons on to McClean though, so I can't help you there....
    Use Lewinsville Road or McGarity (if you're inside the B'way). Avoid route 123.
    Last edited by cc_rider; 07-22-08 at 10:09 AM.

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    If you can, live close to where you work. There may be times when cycling will not be practical (rain, snow, too hot, too dark...), and then you will be faced with an unpleasant and very long commute. The more transfers you have to do, the longer your commute will be.

    To the OP, if it were me, I'd look for a place in DC or close in 'burbs like Alexandria, Arlington (both in VA, both very expensive) or close in Montgomery County Maryland (expensive) or Prince Georges County Maryland (Hyattsville area is nice and less expensive). But your needs may be different.

  18. #18
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    The Metro Orange Line corridor (Arlington, Falls Church, Vienna) area in Virginia is great for biking and bike commuting. Prices in these areas vary inversely with the distance to a Metro stop. All of these neighborhoods offer good access to the W&OD trail, Custis Trail, and thereby the Mount Vernon Trail.

    I currently live in Ballston, and commute to Capitol Hill via the Custis/Mount Vernon trails. It's a nice ride with some good hills, especially on the return trip.

  19. #19
    mjw
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    Income tax rates are higher by a few percentage points if you live in DC also.

  20. #20
    Go Blue! Nick Carraway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasRider View Post
    Thanks for all the info. If I move, I'd be working at 810 Vermont Ave NW. It looks like a one bedroom apartment would cost more than i pay on my mortgage for a 3 bedroom house in Texas. I'd be willing to downsize, if I can limit my communte to less than an hour each way and keep my monthly rent below $1,800 per month. I'd like a safe area with bike lanes. Am I asking for too much?
    Your office will be extremely close to the Orange and Blue lines, and an easy walk to the Red line. This gives you the flexibility of living in lots of places in DC, MD, and VA and still having a manageable commute. I live in DC, close to Rock Creek Park, and really like the biking access I have (though none of it involves bike lanes). If all you want is to be w/in an hour of work, you should have no trouble finding something decent for less than $1800/month.

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