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Thread: Washington DC

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Washington DC

    Hello,

    I will be moving to the DC area (to be more specific Alexandria, VA) in a month to start my grad school there. I visited DC and the area last month and got the impression that i may be able to get around the city with the metro and bus system they have. Anyone has any thoughts on whether I should buy a car to get around the area and would I be able to live without a car.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Don't buy a car unless you absolutely need it, have dedicated parking space or can afford a garage. Welcome to the area from a fellow Midwesterner.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  3. #3
    I'm not sure exactly where you'll be in Alexandria or which school you'll be attending, but the local bus system (DASH) along with the Metrobus and the Metro itself should get you pretty close to everywhere you need to go. For periodic transporation, cabs are in abundance. In addition, there is Flexcar if you really have to have a car to get somewhere once in a while. I know (and work with) a number of people who live in the Alexandria area, don't own a car and are happy as clams.
    And a pre-welcome to the area!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    I concur with other posters a car is not necessary. I live in DC (for 2 more days) and I did not have a car. Flexcar/Zipcar is always a good option. Find out which one is more convenient to your location. Flexcar is cheaper but with less choices of vehicles but unless you are a car nut that should not matter. I have Zipcar do to connivance. As for taxies Alexandria and Arlington have some good cab companies. If you grab a cab in DC make sure you know the zone system. It will save you so money and a lot of grief.

    Good Luck, its a great place to live.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bozerwong View post
    Hello,

    I will be moving to the DC area (to be more specific Alexandria, VA) in a month to start my grad school there. I visited DC and the area last month and got the impression that i may be able to get around the city with the metro and bus system they have. Anyone has any thoughts on whether I should buy a car to get around the area and would I be able to live without a car.

    Thanks.
    If you're going to be in Alexandria and probably frequenting Arlington & DC you'd do just fine without a car, the public transportation system works pretty well. It gets a little more difficult as you move further out from DC, where things are still more automobile dependent.......but we're working on that.
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
    - Yogi Berra

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I lived in Arlington for two years and had a car, but used it rarely. If you can walk to the Metro or take a reliable bus to the grocery store, you'll be fine.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I was just in Washington DC last weekend. What an amazing city! Particularly Arlington and all its little urban villages like Pentagon City and Crystal City. Talk about a planners' dream.

    The Metro transit system works great, is very cheap, has lots of transfers, and granted you're close to a station, and your school is close to a station (within walking distance), you should be fine. The only thing is that it's nice to have a car if you like going out in the country or have to cart around furniture or other big items from time to time. It's nice having that luxury to use when needed, but if you can do without it, go ahead.

    Also, just a warning that the Metro does not go out to Dulles Airport (which sucks for travelers like me, but is probably not a problem for you).

    Just study the Metro map and its relation to your home and school before making your decision.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    My sister works for Time magazine in DC, uncle owns/maintains a bunch of section 8 housing near the new stadium in the SE quarter (he is going to make a killing once that quarter develops in the next couple of years). He took us on a tour of many of the less travelled areas of DC and a lot of the town is still questionable (but then again Congress ran the town for two centuries and Marion Barry didn't help things either).

    If you want to live within DC, stay within the NW quarter. Capitol Hill, which is in the SE quarter is also up and coming. No need to use a car, metro is very very clean. Cherry festival was not as stellar this year due to the unfortunate frost, but check out the new FDR memorial. Very cool.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    thanks for the inputs!
    i guess i will see how public transportation works out for me....but i can't wait to start grad school!!....if you are curious, i am going to VT at Alexandria.....anyone heard anything about it?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    Also, just a warning that the Metro does not go out to Dulles Airport (which sucks for travelers like me, but is probably not a problem for you).
    Metro is going to be extended out to Dulles, the first phase of the extension (through Tysons Corner out to Reston) is scheduled to break ground this fall and the second phase (to Dulles and Loudon County, VA) is expected to be completed in 2012/2013.
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
    - Yogi Berra

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bozerwong View post
    thanks for the inputs!
    i guess i will see how public transportation works out for me....but i can't wait to start grad school!!....if you are curious, i am going to VT at Alexandria.....anyone heard anything about it?
    I've heard it's a good program, I know a few Planners who have gotten their masters degree there or are currently enrolled. The program works very well for working professionals in the DC Metro area.
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
    - Yogi Berra

  12. #12
    Member
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    My girlfriend and I are moving into NW DC and hope to rely on one car between the two of us and I'm sure we'll be fine. I'd love to hear how it's working out for you.

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