Moving; bike friendly neighborhood?
My significant other and I are planning to move in together; he lives in Oakland and I live in the Southside currently. We are looking for a neighborhood that is affordable; our goal is $800 or less if possible for 1br. We also need a place that is bike friendly, because I want to continue commuting to grad school in Oakland via bike; accessibility to bus lines is also a must. Squirrel Hill seems like a good bet, along with Highland Park. Shadyside is nice but a bit out of our budget. Any other advice is appreciated!
This topic has come up a few times. You may want to read these old threads for any wisdom (hey it happens sometimes), although things may have changed as far as rents go. Generally, just stay away from neighborhoods that have the word “hill” in them (South hills, Penn hills, etc.) unless you are into type-2 fun.
Oh, and congrats on the relationship.
I live in Sq. Hill now and used to commute to CMU (now I commute to E. Lib), it’s definitely easy especially if you’re on the north/west side.
When I was in school (Pitt) I mostly lived in Shadyside, and that’s definitely an easy bike commute – short distance, no hills, relatively decent roads. But, I see I am out of touch with the rental market prices – ugh. I also spent a year in Sq. Hill (although about as far from Oakland as possible – Alderson St.) and in Greenfield (Lydia St). I rode both places but obviously you add in the hills, and in the case of Greenfield the impending closure of the Swinburne bridge cuts off one route.
Highland Park is a little further away, but still a relatively easy ride. In that direction I’d look at Friendship, Bloomfield, Garfield or Morningside.
Or, there’s always staying in Oakland…
Also Park Place / Regent Square and Pt. Breeze. A bit more out but pretty well connected for transit and bike routes.
I’ve lived in and commuted from Wilkinsburg and Regent Square (to Oakland). The direct route (through Squirrel Hill) does indeed include a “hill” but the ways around it (say using Ellsworth) are not that much out of the way if you want flat (well, flatter). Consider also Swissvale; even more out but still well connected.
Can’t speak to the rents… don’t live out there anymore. Wilkinsburg was definitely cheap (and yes, it has “nice” bits).
I second everything that has been said. There are a lot of decent options with decent routes to oakland on a similar elevation.
An area that wasnt on the radar until recently would be the communities around the waterfront in Homestead. Since the GAP trail is now completed it is a straight easy ride into downtown and a not too hilly six mile commute into Oakland. Plus you would be close to shopping etc. and there are multiple bus options. I imagine rents would be cheap down there but you may want to find someone who lives there for the nicer areas to search.
@kaaden: I just moved out of an apartment at 1104 S Braddock Ave in Regent Square. I lived there while commuting to grad school at Pitt via bike. I was paying under $700 for 1 BR, including heat & water. Call Rick Levine at Equity Real Estate if you’re interested. It should be ready to rent immediately.
The 61B stops across the street, it’s on the same block as the popular D’s 6-pack & Dogz, it’s close to Frick Park, the East End Food CoOp, and Free Ride. If you continue south along Braddock Ave, things get less bike-friendly for a few miles, but there are plenty of side-roads that help alleviate that. Going north on Braddock, you’ll see things get much bike-friendlier as you approach Forbes Ave.
I know a guy who lives in the big apartment complex on Winebiddle and Friendship and he pays $600 for an efficiency apartment. I used to know another guy who lived in the complex with a one bedroom, but don’t know what he paid. Hauling bikes up stairs can be a PITA though. When I lived in a similar complex on 5th and Negley I locked my bike up in the laundry/storage room with a U-Lock to a steel pipe
From the 6th ward, especially between Penn & Liberty, it’s not too bad to get up to Bloomfield—there are multiple parallel side streets with much lower traffic volumes—from which it’s mostly downhill to Oakland, and of course the 54 is close, as well as the 86/7/8 to Downtown.
As for Central and Upper Lawrenceville, Butler is a PITA, but there are (mostly) alternate routes available, and if you’re not interested in seeing the climb up to Penn as an invigorating wake-up, the 93 runs up 40th twice an hour weekdays until about 7pm. (Remember that both cemeteries are now open to respectful bike traffic, so you don’t have to also fight traffic while you work up the hill.)
(I’ve lived both in Lower, near 38th & Penn, and in Central, near the cemetery, and work in Oakland.)
Thanks guys! We would really like to get away from Oakland; Lawrenceville is a place we haven’t considered and will look into. I’ll make sure to do some digging in old threads as well. Is it difficult to find places with bike storage? Right now I can bring mine inside the front door of my apt building; I would rather not have to leave it locked outside for long periods.
I keep mine in the hallway outside my apartment; if I’m going out again and don’t feel like carrying it up and down stairs, I’ll lock it up outside, but try to never do that overnight. Previously, I lived in a house with a giant kitchen, so that was where the bike lived, though if the basement stairs hadn’t sucked I might’ve kept it down there.
I’ve been in Squirrel Hill for 5 years and would highly recommend it (as someone who bikes practically everywhere I go), even living deep in the farthest corner from the universities (where we commute to). There are lots of nice ways to get to CMU in 15 minutes or less and between the long down hill and the Jail Trail it’s possible to be downtown very quickly too. There are 2 bike shops in the neighborhood. Bike theft seems not to be a big problem judging by all the barely-locked bikes that don’t go anywhere (though maybe it’s not in most neighborhoods). Being between 2 big parks is really nice and adds a lot of trail and scenic-road options. (If you mountain bike, this is a huge factor.) It’s also great that it’s not much of a drinking destination and pretty quiet at night, because I really don’t worry about drunk drivers as I would if I lived in a lot of other places. The fact that it’s a little hilly has never really bothered me (if anything, the opposite), and it’s pretty easy to avoid hills you don’t like.
Regarding bike storage in Squirrel Hill, we have more than 10 bikes in the (locked) basement, and my last place had a porch and fences in the back yard. Since so much of the housing is actual houses, I think safe storage is not much of a concern in Sq. Hill.
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