Commuting in MD
July 29, 2004 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Can any of you recommend a nice place to live in MD that is good commuting distance to both Suitland and Columbia? [more inside]

I live in New Jersey right now, but I just accepted a job in Suitland, MD. The boyfriend lives and works in Columbia right now, and we'd like to find a place together. Our main concern is that it's in good commuting distance to both of our jobs. However, we'd also like it to be nice. In my research, most of the apartment complexes I've looked at are rated poorly by past and current residents.

Any area mefites have advice or recommendations?
posted by MsVader to Travel & Transportation around Maryland (13 answers total)
 
Oh yeah, and did I mention that I start my job right after Labor Day? Yeah. That means that I need to find a place ASAP.
posted by MsVader at 6:00 AM on July 29, 2004


Somewhere in Bowie or Silver Spring? I don't know Maryland well, but I would think those are some decent areas...
posted by armage at 6:06 AM on July 29, 2004


Well, it depends on what you want. I lived in Hyattsville for several years and really loved it. I didn't live in an apartment building though-- I lived in a house. Small rental houses in the area are not too difficult to find and often represent much better value than apartments.

Bowie is best avoided unless you're part of the white-flight crowd. There's more segregation and anger in that one little town than in most places I've been.

Greenbelt might be a good bet too. There are some great apartment buildings, the area is very close to the Beltway and to the GW Parkway, and it's cute. Beltsville is right there too, so that's another place worth investigating.

There's a huge urban renewal movement going on right now in the Brentwood/Mt. Rainier corridor, so if you think you'd be interested in buying a place, investigate that. Plus, the best food co-op in the entire Metro area is in Mr. Rainier-- The Glut.

Best of luck!
posted by yellowcandy at 6:27 AM on July 29, 2004


Depends on whether you want to rent or buy and how much you have to spend. Anywhere near a Metro stop will cost you.

My wife and I bought a house in Silver Spring and absolutely love the area.

Yellowcandy's advice is sound.
posted by terrapin at 7:07 AM on July 29, 2004


We're looking to rent for now. And we'd like to pay somewhere around $1200/month for rent. A little more is acceptable, but once it gets past $1400, that's moving out of our range.

I'd definitely be open to looking at houses to rent, it's just that they're hard to find listings for online. And since I'm not down there, I can't really drive around much. Anyone know of any good resources for house rental listings?

And we don't need a close Metro stop.
posted by MsVader at 7:21 AM on July 29, 2004


PedantFilter: Actually the name of the best food co-op in the DC area is just Glut. I've lived four blocks from it for the past 21 years.

All the suggestions and warnings above are spot on. If I may be a local town booster, I'll pitch Mount Rainier: (pronounced for some reason, 'rain-YER) Depending on where in Columbia, that commute is 30 to 40 minutes and against traffic, Suitland is 25-30.)

Mt. Rainier is a funky early 20th C trolley-car suburb, right by the DC line - Downtown DC is 20 minutes. Lots of 20's-era bungalows, a great size for couples, with a fair number of four-squares if you want something bigger. While prices have gone up in recent years -no, really - but are still very reasonable by DC-bubble standards; a tolerance for sweat-equity can still get you a bungalow for $150K [On Preview: Don't know rents, but they've got to be better than most DC]

It has a active local town government with very, very progressive politics. My family, sitting here as I write this, is demanding I also include the tree-shaded community swimming pool as an attraction/institution.
posted by mojohand at 7:32 AM on July 29, 2004


I can answer a few things, since I am the aformentioned boyfriend.

We're looking to rent, not buy, and would like to pay between $1,200-1,400 a month. Closeness to a Metro stop is not necessary. I'd personally prefer to not live inside the beltway. I'm also not to big on living in downtown areas. I enjoyed my 2 years living in Silver Spring, but I like the less urban environment of Columbia better. (I like lots of trees, and I believe MsVader does, too.) Ideally, I'd like a place like Columbia, or even less urban.

I'm going out at lunch to look at a place in Crofton. Anyone have any opinions on Crofton?
posted by emptybowl at 7:38 AM on July 29, 2004


I've cycled thru Crofton and it made no impression on me, just another faceless sprawl-burb (but that's what I think of Columbia, too - I'm your reciprocal: I like to be near, but not in, the action of city) It's further east than Bowie, and will be quite a long commute for your SO.
posted by mojohand at 7:47 AM on July 29, 2004


The neighborhood of Berwyn Heights is bounded on the west by railroad (and Metro), on the north by University Blvd (193), on the east by Kenilworth Ave (201) and on the south by Calvert Rd. I lived there while I was at the University of Maryland and I still have relatives there. It is a beautiful little island of tall trees and old houses. It is accessible to both 95/495 and the Baltimore Washington Parkway, and could suit your purposes pretty well.
posted by coelecanth at 9:27 AM on July 29, 2004


I would highly recommend Silver Spring - especially the Four Corners area. (Born and raised here, so slightly biased opinion). I'd also look into College Park if you want to stay in tune with the young, hip crowd.
posted by grateful at 9:50 AM on July 29, 2004


I lived in College Park for 4 years while in college, and I'd like to live far, far away from there.
posted by emptybowl at 10:34 AM on July 29, 2004


I lived in Columbia for 10 years as a kid, and I do live far, far away from there. I can't imagine that there's a nice place to live within commuting distance of Columbia, at least not how I define "nice."

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.
posted by waldo at 1:38 PM on July 29, 2004


Oh puh-leez, Waldo, take your 'tude and ride! Unless your definitions of nice demand palm trees, igloos, or the NYC Library, every single one (...OK, IMO College Park's is problematic, but all the rest) of the suggestions here are excellent.
posted by mojohand at 2:42 PM on July 29, 2004


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