Moving to the Steel City!
October 24, 2012 2:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Pittsburgh, but I'll be working in Vandergrift. Can you help me with Pittsburgh neighborhoods and its environs?

I've looked at a few previous questions, and it seems that Squirrel Hill and Shadyside are clear winners. However, I'm working in Vandergrift (45 minutes NE of the city,) so I'm curious if any other oft-represented neighborhoods or towns (Wilkinsburg comes up often in Craigslist searches) in between are good. I start the week after Thanksgiving, so this is pretty short notice for a move.

I've narrowed down a few places on Craigslist that I'll call; are there other apartment services or listings in Pittsburgh?

For what it's worth, I enjoy walking and biking, and living around fun things/good food, which is why I think the commute will be worth it moreso than living in a rural town.

Additionally, my girlfriend lives in Morgantown, WV, so nothing too far North, please.
posted by Turkey Glue to Travel & Transportation around Pittsburgh, PA (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It really depends.

Squirrel Hill and Shadyside are adorable, but if you're working in Vandergrift, you might want to look in Monroeville. It's more suburban, but it's right off the parkway and should have a lot of apartment complexes (versus basements in people's houses.) North Versailles (versayels) has a place that might be worth a look. Also, Plum Township.

My family is all from Squirrel Hill, so I have an affection, but for the commute you're contemplating, I really hesitate to recommend it for you.

Here is a website I like,

That should get you started with standard Aparment Complexes.

When I lived in PA, I had a hard time finding rentals in Pittsburgh, it's just that kind of place. I ended up renting a townhouse in Oakdale in North Fayette Township (West on 22/30) but that worked out really well for me.

If you don't live in Pittsburgh proper, you will save about 2% on city income tax, so there's that to consider.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:11 PM on October 24, 2012

Wilkinsburg can be hit or miss in terms of pleasantness/safety. Places near the border with Regent Square or Point Breeze could be pretty good (I've had a few friends who lived in that area, and it was really nice, quiet, tree-lined streets, etc.), but maybe somewhat lacking in amenities. Assuming you'll have a car, though, the East End proper (Wilkinsburg is its own municipality) would be readily accessible. There are a decent number of bus lines around there that would go straight into Squirrel Hill or East Liberty/Shadyside, as well.

However, the part of Wilkinsburg I'm familiar with wouldn't give you much of an advantage in terms of shaving time off your commute, but maybe someone else could speak to the more far-flung regions.
posted by i. shishkin at 2:13 PM on October 24, 2012

When I lived in pgh, I rented in Sq Hill, Aspinwall and eventually bought in Lawrenceville. SH was definitely my favorite, but I liked Aspinwall (although it's a bit more suburby) and it seemed like Lawrenceville was going to come into it's own eventually, it was a little scruffy when I was there, but quick to get onto 28 or downtown or just about anywhere. I think if I had to do the commute you're describing, I would also look at Highland Park over Wilkinsburg, it would put you a lot closer to 28N, and I always thought it was a cool neighborhood, great for walking, and the areas near by have really taken off in the last couple of years.
posted by snowymorninblues at 3:03 PM on October 24, 2012

Vandergrift is a long haul from the city for commuting, even from the eastern neighborhoods. That 45 minutes is sure to get longer in the winter. Oakmont might be a compromise to consider. Easy access to Pittsburgh proper, and it will cut your commute time to Vandergrift by about a third. But it is a small town, not the big city, and it would put you that much farther from Morgantown.
posted by Longtime Listener at 3:38 PM on October 24, 2012

Highland Park is gives you some of the neighborhood characteristics of SqHill/Shadyside (less retail/restaurants), and is just about as the closest edge of the city proper to Vandergrift. Commuting up Allegheny River Blvd or Rt 28 wouldn't be that bad as it would be the reverse commute. There are rentals here and it will offer much if what you want. You can also bike to the more retail and restaurant filled East Liberty (adjacent to Shadyside as well) in under ten minutes and walking is doable as well.
posted by buttercup at 4:37 PM on October 24, 2012

North Shore. Yes, it's north, but most of it has easy access to 279/376/Mt Washington Tunnel... and BAM! you're headed south to WV.

Pittsburgh travel isn't about what's closest on the map; because of all the mountains and 3 major rivers, driving here is about what highways and major thoroughfares are available (and open). I can get to WV from my location on the "Nah-Side" faster than some can on the other side of the mountain.

Now that I've looked up where Vandergrift is, consider Oakmont. Your commute will be shorter; it's a great little town with lots of great towns near it (Fox Chapel has multiple nature trails, Blawnox has nice pubs & antique shops, good shopping in Waterworks Mall and ??that other mall I can't recall because I just moved back here), and you can get south on the Turnpike, or by following 28 West to 376/Mt Washington Tunnel...
posted by IAmBroom at 5:07 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

We live in Mt. Washington and I've got the reverse commute out Route 28 every morning - I came in basically to suggest Oakmont. Or Aspinwall or Blawnox (the downside there is that traffic near the WaterWorks shopping area is a fiasco). Oakmont is a quaint little walkable town, but some of the perks of the affluent surrounds. I really wouldn't stray much further North on 28 for any convenience to the city. (I think "that other mall" IAmBroom refers to might be Pittsburgh Mills which is really only useful at this point for Big Box stores. Any farther north than that is really not convenient for much.)

FWIW, I believe there are some short term rentals available along the river in Oakmont - that tends to be where my company houses people until their relocations are complete. If you're curious about building names, PM me and I can ask around at work tomorrow.

We've been fairly lucky the past few winters re: snow and Route 28. Keeping in mind that it's going to be a construction nightmare until at least 2014, I'd make your daily commute as easy as possible (further North) and not let your travel to WV impact your decision much. If I leave work promptly, I can be back in my southern city neighborhood in about 20 minutes, door to door (against traffic - Fully admitting that those of us on 28 every day are a special kind of insane drivers.)
posted by librarianamy at 6:03 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I lived for a couple years in Wilkinsburg - Regent Square and it was awesome. Regent Square isn't really a proper place, it is really a couple neighborhoods and the Wilkinsburg side is cheaper because the schools suck. But, if you don't have kids that isn't such a concern. It is walking distance to good transit into town, great amenities and the interstate.
posted by meinvt at 6:09 PM on October 24, 2012

On one hand, it would be cheaper, and in some places, significantly cheaper, to live in Westmoreland County, closer to Vandergrift. And like IAmBroom said, the topography matters more than actual miles when considering travel time between Morgantown and SWPA.

On the other hand, there's fuck all in WmlndCo. I'd consider the commute well worth it: I commuted from Highland Park to a job in Oklahoma (PA) for awhile. It really wasn't bad at all. I really, really second buttercup; I loved living in Highland Park. I lived all over the city and it was one of my favorite places. Plus: zoo.
posted by peacrow at 6:33 PM on October 24, 2012

I did a movie in Vandergrift a few years ago. My apartment was in Bloomfield, and while the drive was long, after a 12+ hour day it was important to come back to somewhere that I liked. I found my apartment on Facebook marketplace, which was nice because you have the added benefit of getting an idea of who you'd be renting from before meeting them.

I don't have a ton to add except that Vandergirft is amazing. The couple who runs the print shop are hilarious and run a sidewalk art festival every year, I met the guy who plays Santa every year as well as his arch nemesis who plays the Grinch, and also I met a 40+ year old dude who told me that he was going to beauty school because he like touching girls hair, and thought maybe he should "try to do something productive with that."
posted by thebrokenmuse at 10:28 PM on October 24, 2012

Yes, IAmBroom is worth listening to about distance being misleading. Vandergrift looks like a hell of a commute. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of job are you working there? Is it one that you could telecommute a day or two per week?

If you want to stay near major roads: North Shore, as mentioned; I like Edgewood more than I like Wilkinsburg. Oakmont's a great choice. Forest Hills. I live in Bloomfield/Friendship and I love our neighborhood.

Pittsburgh is a wonderful, wonderful city. At least you'll be heading the opposite direction of rush hour traffic, hopefully.
posted by amicamentis at 7:50 AM on October 25, 2012

Follow-up: I decided on Highland Park. It's close to 28, which means I won't have to deal with Penn Ave in the morning (holy cats that was a mess even on the weekend), but I can still walk to the zoo, parks, restaurants, etc. It's a long commute (45 minutes), but shorter than something from Squirrel Hill, and like I said, I won't have to drive on many surface streets during rush hour.

I can always move if the drive is too much, but I found a beautiful place, so I don't think I'll want to leave. Thanks for the tips!
posted by Turkey Glue at 8:05 AM on October 30, 2012

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