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Old 07-07-09, 07:30 PM   #1
ban guzzi
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Denver to Austin relocation

I did a search but still came up light on information. I'm coming from Denver to live in Austin with my girlfriend/future wife. She is going back to school (hopefully) at UT. We are car free and have made a good go of it in Denver. We are curious if there is any areas of town to be aware of or stay out of? Good bike shops, how social are other riders, that sort of thing. We've been looking at condos on the south side (River Crossing and surrounding area). They look accessable to UT and downtown.
How is it going over the bridges into Downtown? Any of them better than the others? I'm in water treatment, so I'm curious what the employment situation looks like for blue collar professionals/trades people, also.
Any unsolicited advice for us?

Thanks in advance and hope to see a few of you in a couple of months!

Pat
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Old 07-08-09, 11:37 AM   #2
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That is kind of SE ... don't know anything about that area other than from jogging around Town Lake. If it was me I would be looking more in S Congress S. Lamar area. I would think car free there would be very doable. Would not have to deal with getting east over I35 and lots more bridges to head North. In general that area North of Town Lake and East of I35 is primarily Hispanic and as you go North black, but I never felt uncomfortable there.

I lived by Mopac and commuted daily up to 183 along Capital of Tx and it was a great route. Not as familiar with downtown, but assume it will be very congested during peak commute times. But that would slow everyone down, so the bridges might be OK on bike. If not there are a few ped bridges in that area too. Might touch base with Mellow Johnnies. They were saying they wanted to be a hub for commuters, don't know if it actually happened.

You might try posting in Road and Commuting Forums as I know some Austin people hang out there. I moved to Dallas 4 years ago so some things may have changed.
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Old 07-08-09, 04:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information! I might post there for the Roadies, too. Calling Mellow Johnnies might be a good idea....
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Old 07-08-09, 05:00 PM   #4
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definitely south lamar, south congress, west campus, or even north of campus (airport blvd) - those are all really easy and close to UT/downtown. you could also try for something around lake austin blvd (there are some apartments over that way, if you're not looking to spend a fortune on a house in that area)

east of 35 is also 'up and coming' supposedly, but i'm not sure of the road quality over there for biking.
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Old 07-08-09, 05:56 PM   #5
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We lived in Fort Collins for 5 years. Occasional hot days, but still cool at night, and relatively low humidity. Summer is good for cycling, hiking, etc.

Down here in Texas, be prepared for hotter temperatures and higher humidity. Which means you can ride around okay, but you're liable to be totally soaked with sweat when you get to your destination. (If you recall, one of Mellow Johnnie's attractions was showers for commuters.) Sometimes, you can open your front door at 6:00 in the morning and it's hot out there.

In Fort Collins, it would rain. Then 30 minutes later, the little thunderstorm would have blown over and it'd be nice again. I don't think I ever ran my windshield wipers on "high" during the rain up there. Down here, it can rain for 3 days straight. Austin tends to be drier than the coast, but still a lot different from northern Colorado. There in Fort Collins, you had about 6 months out of the year when it didn't rain a drop (any precipitation was frozen)- not so in Texas. You can have thunderstorms in the winter, and in the morning here, both of which seem odd after Colorado.

Anyway, just be prepared that being car-free in one place might be a lot easier than the other.

On the plus side, Austin is sort of the cycling capital of Texas.
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Old 07-08-09, 06:14 PM   #6
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In general that area North of Town Lake and East of I35 is primarily Hispanic and as you go North black, but I never felt uncomfortable there.

maybe you should feel uncomfortable





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definitely south lamar, south congress, west campus, or even north of campus (airport blvd) - those are all really easy and close to UT/downtown. you could also try for something around lake austin blvd (there are some apartments over that way, if you're not looking to spend a fortune on a house in that area)

east of 35 is also 'up and coming' supposedly, but i'm not sure of the road quality over there for biking.


I find central/north Austin to be very bikeable - lots of bike lanes, and an easy grid layout that gives route options through shady neighborhoods on parallel roads - downtown, campus area, hyde park, north loop -- all nice and easy to bike


shoal creek/allendale/ far west area becomes more sprawling, but still easy


I don't get south as much as I should - I do enjoy riding the east side, though
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Old 07-08-09, 07:59 PM   #7
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definitely south lamar, south congress, west campus, or even north of campus (airport blvd) - those are all really easy and close to UT/downtown. you could also try for something around lake austin blvd (there are some apartments over that way, if you're not looking to spend a fortune on a house in that area)

east of 35 is also 'up and coming' supposedly, but i'm not sure of the road quality over there for biking.
Thanks for the heads up! We're looking to buy a condo, cheap-ish. Hard to tell whats what compared to Denver but it shouldn't be too bad around the 80K range? She has final decision. I don't look friendly at firstand she is little BUT she is the one you need to worry about! we will use these tips in our search...

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We lived in Fort Collins for 5 years. Occasional hot days, but still cool at night, and relatively low humidity. Summer is good for cycling, hiking, etc.

Down here in Texas, be prepared for hotter temperatures and higher humidity. Which means you can ride around okay, but you're liable to be totally soaked with sweat when you get to your destination. (If you recall, one of Mellow Johnnie's attractions was showers for commuters.) Sometimes, you can open your front door at 6:00 in the morning and it's hot out there.

In Fort Collins, it would rain. Then 30 minutes later, the little thunderstorm would have blown over and it'd be nice again. I don't think I ever ran my windshield wipers on "high" during the rain up there. Down here, it can rain for 3 days straight. Austin tends to be drier than the coast, but still a lot different from northern Colorado. There in Fort Collins, you had about 6 months out of the year when it didn't rain a drop (any precipitation was frozen)- not so in Texas. You can have thunderstorms in the winter, and in the morning here, both of which seem odd after Colorado.

Anyway, just be prepared that being car-free in one place might be a lot easier than the other.

On the plus side, Austin is sort of the cycling capital of Texas.
Should be okay still. Just an adjustment. Heat makes me cautious but what yanks my chain is ice. you guys get some nasty ice storms? I have no problem commuting 20 miles RT in a blizzard but ice, even with studs, makes me pucker a bit.

Anythign like Lookout Mountain there? I have a love/hate relationship with that mountain. Makes my Clyde Centuries a bit more 'special' for me...
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maybe you should feel uncomfortable









I find central/north Austin to be very bikeable - lots of bike lanes, and an easy grid layout that gives route options through shady neighborhoods on parallel roads - downtown, campus area, hyde park, north loop -- all nice and easy to bike


shoal creek/allendale/ far west area becomes more sprawling, but still easy


I don't get south as much as I should - I do enjoy riding the east side, though

Thanks for your input. For myself, I get along everywhere. No neighborhood or enclave causes me to worry. People are People to quote a crap song...

I'm making a list for rides, too. I like doing centuries and usually ride around 50 miles on up for fun. I was told I won't get bored anytime soon with all the roads, trails and rolling hills.



Thanks again! I'm noting this all for when we get there in a few months! Hope to catch up with you all at some point!

Last edited by ban guzzi; 07-08-09 at 08:04 PM. Reason: spelin'
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Old 07-08-09, 09:30 PM   #8
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Ice is usually not a problem. Here in Dallas, you might have one day a year when bridges get icy, and Austin is that much farther south.

On the Lookout Mountain- don't know. Austin is in the hill country, but there's not that much net elevation change, so you're not going to find a single 3,000' climb like you might in Colorado. More like a bunch of little climbs.
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Old 07-09-09, 08:23 AM   #9
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Colorado to TX? Wow...you're going the wrong direction my friend!

That being said, there is some 'okay' road riding in the hill country west of Austin and San Antonio but it won't compare to what you may be used to in CO.

As far as riding in the city, from what I recall is that inspite of Austin's urban sprawl, the downtown area is relatively small and very congested traffic-wise, due to that lake running across the southern end. I wouldnt' think you'd have a lot of problems getting around on a bike in standing traffic
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Old 07-09-09, 09:00 AM   #10
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UT has an excellent shuttle bus system. If you want to live car free in Austin you need to make it as easy as possible for your GF, so look at places where a UT shuttle bus route runs right to the campus location nearest your GF's major department.

When you've selected the best UT shuttle bus route, find a location which is near a grocery store. The biggest grocery chains in Austin are HEB and Randall's.

When you've found a good candidate location, verify that it's near a Capital Metro bus route. Ideally you'll want to be near one of their transit centers. All buses here have racks for two bikes. This is a major convenience if you really intend to be car free. To guarantee that there's a space on the rack for your bike, try to catch inward bound buses at the far end of their routes.

Personally, I like to cycle on the south, east and north sides of Austin. The west side has prettier views but the grades are steep and there are fewer road choices (i.e., you're often forced onto scary arterials).

An example neighborhood that women tend to like is just west of Loop 1 at Far West Blvd. Short walk to a grocery store & lots of retail, on a UT shuttle route, on a couple of Capital Metro routes, easy bike crossing of Loop 1 over to Shoal Creek Blvd (which is the bike route of choice in that area). Condo and apartment prices not too expensive there. Easy access to the western hills if you like that kind of recreational riding.

There are numerous other neighborhoods where it would be possible to live car free in Austin.
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Old 07-09-09, 05:17 PM   #11
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80K? I bought 2 years ago but couldn't find anything under 125K except for old crack houses in E. Austin. Good luck!
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Old 07-09-09, 08:06 PM   #12
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80K? I bought 2 years ago but couldn't find anything under 125K except for old crack houses in E. Austin. Good luck!
we're looking at condos if that helps. Apparently, a portion of that market has fallen thru. Thats kind of the impression anyway...
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Old 07-09-09, 09:41 PM   #13
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For condos under 80K I think the areas with the best car free potential and easiest access to UT are near West Anderson Lane & Burnet Rd, and in the Hancock Center area near 45th Street & Red River. Both are bikey neighborhoods where a couple can feel quite safe walking around in the evening.
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Old 07-10-09, 09:24 AM   #14
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Thank you Platy1 I forwarded the info to her...
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Old 07-10-09, 09:28 AM   #15
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there's a crapload of empty condos west/downtown - they've scrapped plans to build more (the Gingerman is no longer being razed for a tower) - the Triangle seems mighty vacant right now, as well


both are incredibly bike friendly locations - no idea on pricing, though


east side is opening up, Mueller - tons of housing
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Old 07-10-09, 10:55 AM   #16
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Interesting, I had not heard about the change of plans for the Gingerman. Definitely a good time to haggle like a bulldog Guzzi. Also when we were looking, we only looked at high rises, not any of the apartment conversions. I am pretty sure those are significantly less. Also if you haven't seen the Austin bicycle map, it may give you a good idea of bike friendly routes. It is here.
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Old 07-11-09, 08:30 PM   #17
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since the bar already moved, the talk is that a new music venue will go in the old spot
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Old 07-23-09, 08:53 PM   #18
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So she put a bid in on a place. Looks pretty good from our perspective, even with a kind of sketch neighborhood to pass by on the way in. I won't post the listing but based on the zip what do you all have to offer up as opinions to the area? Not looking for feel good info, looking for opinions. I don't plan on getting upset if you don't like it, just gathering info for a possible new place and the vibe from locals on the area. I know its high crime and yeah we can prepare for it, sadly already used to that sort of thing. "if it ain't nailed down and even then, it might go away..."

Austin, TX 78741

Off of East Riverside between Pleasant Valley Rd. and Montopolis Dr.

Any input? Good/Bad/Ugly?


Looks like we will see you all around end of August, mid September if all goes as planned.
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Old 07-27-09, 11:23 PM   #19
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78741

i live just north of the area (78702) and it can get kind of sketchy over there, but no trouble that some common sense shouldn't keep you out of. Besides that, you are close to central austin and I envy your access to some of the south-eastern road routes.
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Old 08-03-09, 06:40 PM   #20
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East Riverside/Oltorf is like a cockroach motel for students. I know your gf will be a student but I'm talking a massive concentration of 18-22 year olds. Most people get the hell out of that neighborhood by the time they hit 20. In my opinion it's just about the least pleasant area of town. If you're going to be south of the lake (it's really a river, we call it a lake.. I know.) stay west of 35.

78704 and 78702 are my personal favorite zip codes... Just north of campus is lovely as well.

78702 - Many neighborhoods on the east side (meaning north of 35, south of say.. Manor). Some seem kinda sketch, but they have really strong communities, lots of families, lots of artists/studios.. This is mostly concentrated on the southern end of 78702, down to the lake.

78704 - This encompasses the South Lamar/South Congress neighborhoods mentioned here already.. South First is also pretty great. Zilker park, lots of shopping and restaurants, etc.

I mostly exist in these 2 neighborhoods and I can ride everywhere easily, they're both very close to downtown and between 8-20 minutes to ride to campus depending where you are.

Something to keep in mind: Public transport here can suck. Bussing it north/south is no problem, but going east-west can be more of a time investment than you want to deal with. Luckily it's almost totally flat going east west so riding will always be more appealing.
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Old 08-08-09, 12:45 PM   #21
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I'm in 78704 on south first street, they're some really good places all along south first from north of ben white to downtown. i lived on pleasant valley/riverside, it is ghetto... but not as ghetto as around the 12th/chicon area which is just some miles north of the pleasant valley/riverside intersection. though it is true, the entire riverside area is mostly consumed with students, a lot of students. there's a lot of student housing available there is why.

the bike scene rocks, from road cycling to fg cycling, even to mtb cycling. there's always really good rides going on, you just have to go to bike shops, ask questions, etc. but without fail, every saturday and sunday morning and most weekday mornings there is a ride leaving from a bike shop.

so in terms of living in the downtown area, i know living anywhere south of downtown, in the south congress/south lamar/south first area is neat. going downtown from my area (south first/ben white) rocks, but coming up is hills all the way.
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Old 08-12-09, 09:03 PM   #22
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e Riverside is where a lot of transplants wind up at first, every vulture apartment locator/real estate agent sees to it, knowing they won't move the property if they show it to a local


I did my 6 months on Royal Crest Dr - never again
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