Moving to DC

Old Jun 16th, 2005, 12:33 AM
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Moving to DC

Husband has accepted a position at the Washington Navy Yard. We have one son left in high school. Looking at Waldorf, MD and Woodbridge VA for housing. Which one would be a better commute? What are the high schools like? We need a good kennel for our four animals as well. Any guidance would be most appreciated.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 04:33 AM
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Waldorf will be a much quicker commute due to the fact that you won't have to cross any of the Potomac River bridges to get to the Navy Yard as you would if you lived in Woodbridge. Furthermore, traffic on Route 95 south to Woodbridge can be a nightmare. From the Waldorf area, your husband would likely take Route 4 into the city. As for Waldorf itself, the Route 301 corridor is an ugly stretch of every chain restaurant known to mankind and sometimes two of the same chain. Waldorf used to be home to several nude dancing clubs but I don't know if that is true any longer. Waldorf and the neighboring development of St. Charles are towns in decline receiving much of the spillover from some of the worst sections of slummy, high-crime Prince George's County. You might rather look for a home at Mechanicsville, Hughesville, Golden Beach, La Plata or even deeper into St. Mary's County where many old tobacco farms are being carved into exurban residential developments. Sad to say, schools are marginal in most of the Washington area east of the city.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 06:29 AM
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IMO, they are both awful commutes: 60-90 minutes one-way depending on the whims of the traffic gods that day.

What is an acceptable commute for your husband?

With only one year of school left for your son, a private school for one year would allow you to live in DC where his job is or even some close-in, affordable, nice areas such as Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Old Hyattsville, College Park, etc. that are about 20 minutes down the B-W parkway to the Navy Yard.

Good private high schools like DeMatha start at about $6000/yr and go up from there.

Generally speaking, commuter traffic worsens once you get outside the Capitol Beltway.

I don't think the schools in either Woodbridge or Walforf are very good.

There are good kennels throughout the greater DC Metro area.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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Another place to consider is Cheverly, MD, just across the District line with great access to both 295 and Rt. 50, New York Ave., which would be a very short commute. It has some lovely, hilly and treed neighborhoods; the houses are generally smaller than farther out in the suburbs. Schools are another issue, however. But I sure wouldn't recommend the Woodbridge commute.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 08:07 AM
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Hi

Waldorf and Woodbridge have horrendous highway tieups both morning and night.
I would be thinking more along the lines of what Bardo said. On the north side of College Park there's some lovely homes - many of the college professors lived there.

Another great spot is Annapolis - you'd have to take a map to see the reality of this as you would drive in Rt 50 to Kenilworth Ave south and then S Capitol St into the Navy Yard. I drive the route often and find that portion to be about 45-50 min. Then again it could help to come into town and drive some of the various routes.
good luck
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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You might want to consider a large townhouse in Crofton, just east of Bowie. Your commute would be 30-45 minutes, depending on time of day and whether an accident has happened.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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There are several major factors in making recommendations that we would need to know before making a real good recommendation. What is your housing budget - and what is the absolute max you are willing to pay. If you have four animals you might want something larger than a condo or small yard townhome - which means going further outside the beltway and/or ponying up the big bucks.

Same must be said in terms of school district - again the better districts (of which there are very limited options in Prince George's County MD - do your research very carefully if that is important to you) are going to cost you $$$.

My father in law worked at the Navy Yard until very recently (maybe 2 months ago) and he lives with us during the week in Germantown, MD. However he worked off-peak hours (6:30 am - 2:30 pm) to have a tolerable commute (not good - tolerable). If that is an option for your DH it makes finding a home a lot easier.

You didn't mention whether you were looking to buy or rent. The housing market is still scorching hot in many areas; the rental market is reportedly getting softer b/c so many have left to buy.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 04:21 PM
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Someone above mentioned that you have a child with only one more year of high school. If this is the case, I'd rent in a good public school district for a year while you get the lay of the land regarding commutes, neighborhood, prices, etc. in the DC area. It's a huge place and the two locations you've mentioned are, as noted, not great commutes.

Look at Fairfax Country, Arlington (North), Montgomery County to rent.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 07:12 PM
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My husband transferred to downtown DC a few years ago, so we faced the same dilemma. Our choice was Crofton (thanks, Shane, for spilling the secret!)

In any DC suburb you will have to balance affordability, commute, and schools. Waldorf may have a decent commute, but the schools are iffy and affordability is not as good as it used to be. If you must look at Charles County, I'd recommend LaPlata, but that will add 20 minutes to the drive.

Woodbridge has great schools, but affordability and commute are a nightmare. Any way you drive it, you have to cross the Potomac River, and all the bridges are chokepoints. With Wilson Bridge construction (and lane closures) continuing for the next few years, I would not consider Virginia until 2008.

We like Crofton because the schools are great, we can get to a Metro stop, BWI airport or downtown Annapolis in 20 minutes. We're 30 minutes from the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Travel time to DC is 30-45 minutes, longer on Friday afternoons in the summer when the crowds flock to the Eastern Shore.

For your pets, we have a great home pet-sitting service that I can recommend if you are interested.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 07:25 PM
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I like bardo1's suggestion of Hyattsville, College Park area. Also the nearby town of University Park is nice. DeMatha is an all-boys Catholic high school in Hyattsville with a good reputation. Or if your son is a good enough student, he could test into the county's science & tech magnet school, Eleanor Roosevelt, which also has a good reputation.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 05:07 AM
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I don't know what your husband will expect as a tolerable commute but mine is anywhere from 1:15 to 1:40 one way. I live three miles from Kent Narrows on Maryland's eastern shore and I commute to my business two blocks from the White House, a little longer commute than one would be to the Navy Yard. I use my commute by listening to audiobooks aided by a large coffee on the way to work and two ice cold beers for the commute home at night. With the audiobooks, I get to "read" books I would never have read- just finished one on the Israelis-Arab Six Day war of 1067. Fairly nice houses go for $ 250,000 to $ 325,000 in Queen Anne's County these days. In Queen Anne's, you are close to fine dining in Annapolis, Queen Anne's, Easton, St. Michaels, Oxford, Tilghman Island, Rock Hall and Chestertown. The speed of life is more relaxed. Although my wife homeschools our children, the public schools are above average in Queen Anne's. Taxes in Queen Anne's are lower than any other suburban DC jurisdiction. As a warning, however, whenever the MD state transportation bureaucracy bungles handling the Bay Bridge traffic, Fridays can be disgustingly bad. However, the powers that be seem to have learned from the debacles of last September-October (one delay I sat in was 18 miles and two hours) and Bay Bridge delays have been more than tolerable. Ironically, this was even so for Memorial Day weekend (fine weather in MD that weekend) this year and the Bridge delay was zero.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Depending on where at the Navy Yard your husband will be working, Metro might open up more favorable options. There's a stop very close to ease the concerns that some undoubtably will mention about SE DC.

Schools in PG County MD are struggling and Woodbridge isn't great. Best schools, in general, are in Montgomery and Fairfax counties.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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I worked in the Washington Navy Yard about 10 years ago and getting there wasn't as much of an issue as PARKING there, a near impossibility if you weren't in the gates by the crack of dawn. I've heard that a parking garage was constructed since NAVSEA employees were relocated there. Hope that solved the problem!
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 10:52 AM
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I agree with obxgirl that driving should be your husband's very very last option. Too many people on the road already. And just because you drive there doesn't mean you can get a parking space.

One can always drive to the end up the Metro line if you want to live further out because of finances (although with just three of you, there really isn't a need for as large a house). Or consider somewhere near the VRE (Virginia Railway Express) which can drop him off at L'Enfant plaza, which is a short Metro ride to Navy Yard.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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It is, I guess, unfortunate, that you perhaps cannot afford to live in North Arlington which is MUCH closer to the Navy Yard than even parts of the District itself (and if you could get yourself in the Yorktown HS district..one of the 50 top high schools in the Nation) it would be even better.

I would agree that if you can get yourself situated within walking distance of a Metro stop no matter where you live it will be a better option than driving.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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Heck, South Arlington would be even closer.
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