D.C.-neighborhoodfilter: How's this area and this rent?
April 3, 2011 7:58 PM   Subscribe

(Posting for a friend, on behalf of their friend, all three of us equally un-D.C. savvy:) A friend of mine is thinking about renting in an apartment in Washington DC, near P St NW and 4th St NW. Based on some internet research, it looks like this is the Truxton Circle or Shaw neighborhood, but we're not quite sure about that. She's a single white female in her mid-twenties, and will be a student keeping irregular hours. She has a car, and has lived in major cities before, though always in relatively safe areas. How safe is this neighborhood? What is the crime situation like? Will she be comfortable walking around alone at night?

Also, she would be paying $1000 to share a nice-looking house, and would have a private bedroom, her own separate living room, and a private bathroom (while sharing a kitchen etc.). Does this seem like a reasonable deal for the area? She'd love to just take this place and be done with the housing search, but wants to make sure she's not making a mistake. Thanks for your help!
posted by dixiecupdrinking to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: If it matters, her area would be in the basement of this house.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 8:10 PM on April 3, 2011

Hi! I used to live near there, a bit north, at 4th and W.

It is probably Shaw, but not very close to the metro station. Those extra blocks south and east put it into a more dangerous area. Not the worst in the city by any means but difficult to navigate at night. Having a car in DC can be really difficult without getting a permanent change of residency and DC plates, so keep in mind that relying on that might be more trouble than it's worth.

No way is 1k in a shared house reasonable for this area. She could find a one bedroom in a nice area for around that much (though it might end up being cramped, isn't that worth it for a safer neighborhood that has stuff going on? This area of Shaw isn't really near anything cool either, it's too far from both Chinatown and U Street.

She should look into sharing a big house in Mt. Pleasant, Adam's Morgan, Dupont Circle or Columbia Heights for which I'd expect to pay 6-800. Or she could look for a one bedroom near Union Station in NE, or in Capitol Hill in SE, or Logan Circle in NW. All of those are both more affordable and safer. It sounds like she's being seduced by all the sweet amenities at this spot.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:14 PM on April 3, 2011

Seconding Potomac Avenue. She can do better.
posted by phrontist at 8:18 PM on April 3, 2011

Thirding. It's not the safest neighborhood in the city, and it's somewhat out of the way. (not really walking distance from much)

This page may be helpful, but the neighborhoods Potomac listed are better guides.

It can be HARD to find a place without being in the city (especially a good group house), and I'd highly recommend coming out for a week or two to look in person. Being close to your school can be a huge plus, and walking, biking, and public transit is usually a much easier way to get around than driving.
posted by ropeladder at 8:25 PM on April 3, 2011

I lived in a rowhouse with 3 bedrooms, a back patio, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, dining, living room, washer dryer, etc. at the Potomac Ave Metro stop. Total rent was $1800. She could definitely find something better than what she's currently looking at.
posted by coupdefoudre at 8:27 PM on April 3, 2011

People make fun of me for living in a "dangerous" neighborhood, and I won't go anywhere near Truxton Circle (which, BTW, specifically refers to the intersection of Florida Ave and North Capitol Street. It used to be a really awkwardly-configured traffic circle, which was removed years ago in favor of a normal intersection. The Google Map has the label in the completely wrong spot).

Oh, and my neighborhood's fine, thankyouverymuch. The statistics back this up, although people do still get freaked out when I tell them my address.

Shaw's very hit-or-miss, and covers a rather large geographic area, which makes any sort of accurate generalizations hard to do. The area around the Metro is pretty decent, although things drop off rather quickly from there. 4th & P itself is probably fine, but you'll have to pass through some pretty sketchy spots to get anyplace useful. In fact, this is probably one of only two or three places west of the Anacostia river that I'd unconditionally warn newcomers against living in.

$1k for a room share is on the high side. She can find something better on Capitol Hill or Columbia Heights for that price. You might not get as many amenities, but it'll be a much better location closer to Metro.

If your friend brings her car, make sure to either register in DC, or sign up for ROSA if she qualifies. If you don't do it, you WILL get a ticket the moment that the 30-day grace period is over. (Cop cars, buses, and other city vehicles have OCR-equipped cameras mounted to them that snap shots of parked cars' plates as they drive by, which then get uploaded to the mothership, which figures out if you've been in the city long enough to be in violation of the registration law. If you are, a meter maid is dispatched, and a ticket is on your windscreen in about 15 minutes. Despite all of the DC government's faults, their parking enforcement operation is alarmingly efficient)
posted by schmod at 9:50 PM on April 3, 2011

Oh. And meet the people in the group house first. 99% of them are fine, but there are also some really weird ones.
posted by schmod at 9:53 PM on April 3, 2011

Nthing that is too much money for a share in that area, and that area is sort of sketchy and a bit far from the closest metro stops (Convention Center, Shaw, and NY Ave) for a woman to want to walk safely at night. I have lived nearby (New Jersey and N) and I currently live in a different area that is still developing (Petworth), and I would not move back to that part of the city again, it just sort of has a weird mean vibe that I found to be uncomfortable.
posted by BobbyDigital at 7:04 AM on April 4, 2011

I work at a school on 5th and P so I know the neighborhood very well. I'm a mid-20's female and I walk from the Metro to school every day and night (in the dark) and have never felt unsafe.

I'll nth everything that was said about the area already - it's not dangerous, but also not near anything. Your friend would be walking quite a bit to the nearest grocery store and about a half mile to the Metro. Parking is limited in this area, as well.

All in all, depending on where she is planning to work, she may not need a car at all. Where will she be working? I can give more suggestions based on that information.
posted by brynna at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2011

Anecdata: I went to a house party for some peeps in Mt. Pleasant, which is a neighborhood that lives up to the name "pleasant," and they had three patios, a jacuzzi, a roof deck and the main bedroom was the size of a studio apartment with a fireplace. Their average rent is $1000 and I am, of course, crazy jealous. I have a friend in a group house in one of the borderline sketchy (that is to say, not sketchy at all if you're street smart) areas in north Columbia Heights and their rents range from $725 to $1000. I have a big 1 bedroom in Adams Morgan and pay about $1400. I could easily have a roommate and only bump into them in the kitchen. I saw studios in the $1000 range.
posted by Skwirl at 10:37 AM on April 4, 2011

When I first moved to the area (yikes) seven years ago with my future husband, we lived at 3rd and N Sts NW. We did not have any problems. However, some of the other people in our house did have issues. $1,000/month for a room is on the higher side of normal but when I lived there-ish, FH and I were paying $675/month + utilities for a room in a house and we did not have a private bathroom or living room.

4th and P Sts NW is kind of a weird area as it's between a lot of more established areas. It's not far from Bloomingdale which is up-and-coming but not quite there yet. It's 8 blocks from Logan Circle, 10 blocks from 14th St.
posted by kat518 at 10:51 AM on April 4, 2011

I'm a woman in my twenties in DC, and I wouldn't live there. I am quite safety-conscious, and I wouldn't feel comfortable coming home late at night by myself. As others pointed out, it's not just safety considerations; it just doesn't have the other benefits of city life (fun restaurants, bars, etc) either. She should find a group home in Mt. Pleasant or Columbia Heights. $1000/month is way too much. I never paid more than $800/month for a room in a group house (safe neighborhoods, close to the Metro).

If it's possible, she should try to crash on someone's couch for a week or two so that she can check these places out in person. Just getting a better feel for the area could help her avoid making a mistake about her housing.
posted by LizzyBee at 2:40 PM on April 4, 2011

I work at 1st and P, so very close to that location. A female friend used to walk home from work along "P," and after a couple of very violent robberies in the area, and getting hassled quite a bit, she had to stop. The neighborhood is not particularly bad, but it is in transition, which leads to those kinds of flare-ups that can go either way. A guy was just killed (a couple of months ago) at North Cap and Florida for trying to intervene in a fight.
posted by OmieWise at 5:25 AM on April 5, 2011

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