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  1. #1
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    moving..detroit area

    It looks like my job is going to be taking me to DTW . I will be working at DTW, but i don't plan to live in Detroit. right now, Ann Arbor is on the top of my short list for places to move to, but I have never actually been in MI before.

    Where are some other good places that are safe and worth looking rather than living in detroit. What are the trails like w/in a 2 hr drive of the dtw area? cost of living/average rent for the region?

    Feel free to add anything else you can think might make my move easier or give me some piece of mind..
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  2. #2
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    Ann Arbor (A2) is a great place to live but not cheap....I live in White Lake (30min N of A2) and have some of southern MI's best single at my door step (Highland, Pontiac, Holdridge) due to Michigan's sinking economy, there are plenty of empty houses, apartment, and God forgive me, Trailers for sale/rent...generally startling around $600...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kattywhumpus
    Ann Arbor (A2) is a great place to live but not cheap....I live in White Lake (30min N of A2) and have some of southern MI's best single at my door step (Highland, Pontiac, Holdridge) due to Michigan's sinking economy, there are plenty of empty houses, apartment, and God forgive me, Trailers for sale/rent...generally startling around $600...

    Where else is worth looking into? I would like to stay w/in 30-45 minutes of DTW. My rent budget is right around 600 to 800 at the absolute max(not the best paying job). Safe neighborhood is still a requirement.

    any pictures of the local trails anyone?
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  4. #4
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    kattywhumpus is right, Ann Arbor isn't cheap!! I work in Ann Arbor but live out by Commerce (about a 40 mile drive that can take close to an hour to make). Commerce is a pretty good area and not too far from some decent trails in Oakland County.

    If you look at Oakland, stay out of Pontiac!!!! (also known as Ponti-crack) Waterford is okay, depending on the area and if you have kids. Price wise... Novi, Wixom, White Lake, Commerce are all pretty fair. Novi and Wixom are right off of I-96 and not too bad of a drive to Detroit (pending on what time you leave).


    If you want to check out the trails for MI, go to mmba.org. You can use the zip 48382 (Commerce) to search for the stuff in Oakland.


    pm me if you want and I can answer more questions.
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  5. #5
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    When you say you will be working at DTW, do you mean the actual airport? If so, I would look into the Livonia/Northville/Canton area or thereabouts. That would give you pretty easy access to several really good trails (Maybury, Novi, ILRA) and fairly close access to a whole bunch more. Just don't settle south and/or east of the airport - whole lotta nuthin' down that way.
    Let the market decide!

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  6. #6
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    I would second not living in Ann Arbor. That commute can be hellish during rush hour, in the snow and with $4 gas.

    If you're looking for a similar scene, check out Royal Oak. It's pretty close to everything in the city, but a little further from the airport and the good trails. There are plenty of apartments and houses in your price range and you won't be far from downtown RO, Ferndale or Birmingham.

    Farmington and Farmington Hills are close to the places utabintarbo mentioned. Close to the freeways, easy to get to DTW, nice apartments and close to decent trails.

  7. #7
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    If I were in your shoes, I'd move to Corktown, a Detroit neighborhood between Downtown and Mexicantown. It's close to the airport (20-25 minutes?), downtown, and has some incredible urban riding and restaurants. You're not far from Maybury and other trails, but you're not as close to trails compared with places like Milford. The cost of living in Corktown is very reasonable.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the help so far. I wish i could say i have made some progress, but all i have accomplished is crossing ann arbor off the list.

    utabintarbo: "When you say you will be working at DTW, do you mean the actual airport?"

    Yea, i'm a new hire with a regional airline which just hardly bumps me past a college budget. (sub 20k) Rent and safety are the most important things right now.. entertainment is going to have to wait until i am able to afford to go to the bars.

    are the neighborhoods/cities out side of detroit safe enough to walk around at night solo (girlfriend walking dog)

    What areas should i stay away from?
    Last edited by laackund; 06-11-2008 at 12:51 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by laackund
    ...

    What areas should i stay away from?
    There are places nearly everywhere where you will be safe, and the opposite. I really can't in good conscience rule out any area totally. Even Detroit proper has some pretty nice areas. Though I wouldn't live there.

    However, I would avoid the "close-in" suburbs both south and west of the city (Redford, Ecorse, River Rouge, etc.). Unfortunately, safety comes at a price, and the safest places are generally more expensive. With the salary you specified, you are going to have to take what you can get to a certain extent. That is a VERY low salary for this area. I hope the SO works.
    Let the market decide!

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  10. #10
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    Most of the cities west and north of the city of Detroit are pretty safe. All the ones mentioned previously are decent places to live and there's more than enough housing that will fit in your budget.

    A few areas that might be worth checking out are Livonia, Dearborn and Dearborn Heights. They tend to be a little cheaper rent-wise, and they skew older, lower middle-class and/or have large ethnic populations. It's pretty quick to get to the airport (down Middlebelt, Inkster, Telegraph, etc.), and quite a few airport employees live around there so you might be able to carpool to save money.

    Places to avoid (and I'm generalizing, so residents of the following don't be offended)
    -Romulus
    -Taylor
    -Inkster
    -Garden City/Westland
    -anything due south of detroit
    -Pontiac
    -Southfield is hit or miss

  11. #11
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    yea, the pay does suck.. its definitely not enough to make ends meet wherever i go, especially while still paying off student loans.


    anyone have pictures of the local trails? What does the immediate area have to offer trail wise? ex: flat, rolling hills, technical, etc..
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  12. #12
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    Check out www.mmba.org for a comprehensive list and map of local trails. Most have descriptions, but no pictures.

    You'll find a pretty good mix of technical and open rolling trails. Not really any long climbs like you'll find out West. Here are the Detroit-area trails I'm most familiar with:

    -Pontiac Lake: good mix up climbs, short downhills and rolling hills. Some technical stuff thrown in and an overall rewarding ride. Haven't ridden there in a few years, but it used to be more experienced riders.
    -Island Lake: fast and open, two trails that total about 15 miles. Mostly flat and wide, great training spot. It can get really crowded on weekends, and beginners coupled with racerboys = frustration.
    -Maybury: been expanded over the years to about 7 miles. Not usually a first choice for trails, but a really good one nonetheless. Tighter and a little more technical than Island Lake, a couple decent climbs and really well taken care of trail.
    -Stony Creek: Rocky and not really marked all that well. Some technical parts, but overuse and lack of maintenance are an issue.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by laackund
    It looks like my job is going to be taking me to DTW . I will be working at DTW, but i don't plan to live in Detroit. right now, Ann Arbor is on the top of my short list for places to move to, but I have never actually been in MI before.

    Where are some other good places that are safe and worth looking rather than living in detroit. What are the trails like w/in a 2 hr drive of the dtw area? cost of living/average rent for the region?

    Feel free to add anything else you can think might make my move easier or give me some piece of mind..

    if you MUST move to Detroit for whatever reason - you might want to check out Royal Oak, Ferndale, Birmingham, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Huntington Woods, Clawson as good options to be central to the greater Detroit area (ie. from those areas get anywhere in greater Detroit in about 30-40min or less)... and they are not too "suburb-y" feeling...

    not to offend anyone, but i would avoid places like Redford, Livonia, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Garden City, Taylor, Warren, etc... real estate in those area far too volatile and dependent on the auto industry

    but other areas are alright as well Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Rochester, Auburn Hills... however getting to and from those areas can be a ***** when there is lots of traffic

    Ann Arbor is great - but depending on where you will be working (you didn't specify) it not be the best option... i have coworkers (i work in Troy) that live there - and the commute will kill you....

    as for trails - SpartaSpartan listed good ones... there's also Addison Oaks and Bloomer which are nearer the Rochester area... (i haven't tried those yet)

    And i've also heard Pickney/Potowatmei are really good as well...


    Good luck with the new job!


    Cheers


    (P.S. you may want to check out the area before making your final commitment if that's still possible...)

  14. #14
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    You do not want to live in Royal Oak or Southeast Oakland County and commute to Metro airport. That would not be a smart move. Dearborn and Corktown are some decent choices along the I-94 corridor -- they're less generic than the Westland's and Livonia's. Yes, they're safe to walk at night. You'd have to pay city income tax in Corktown but the rent might be cheaper. Dunno.

  15. #15
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    We live in Dearborn- more in the price range you mention, barely. If you want to get to a trail, you can get to several in 40 minutes, more in 55-100 minutes. You can even get to Fort Custer in Kalamazoo in two hours. Plus, if you like the urban style riding, you can leave from your door and get downtown in about 12 miles and find several brew pubs if that's how you roll. We rode downtown for dinner the other night on Michigan Avenue and saw several street walkers about. Business is good in that respect; don't believe what you read in the papers about the bad economy. People are still paying to get laid!.

    Hahaha...

    Anyway, Dearborn is a good mix of ethnic areas and cute bungalow homes. If you want another cookie cutter suburban sprawl with stepford wives personaltiy and sterility and meth labs in the basements made by angst ridden teenagers, yes, look at the white toast suburbs mentioned here. But if you want something more real, try Dearborn.

    Here's the selling point-I can get to a gate at DTW in ten minutes. Why create a long commute with gas prices?

    Oh, yes it is Ford country, but I drive Honda. No one has shot me yet, but they still may!

  16. #16
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    i love royal oak, good for young people, very active downtown and also a safe neighborhood, troy (right next door to royal oak) is a nice city and i think its consistently rated as one of the safest cities in the states. personally if i was good to move now (aka not in school) i would be headed to royal oak, alot to do, very active downtown, wide range of prices in housing, as for trails out that way im not to sure, im from milford and and we have trails all over out here, which come to think of it Milford is a nice place to live as well, but very small.

  17. #17
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    I would say live somewhere between novi and brighton. It's about a 45 min commute to DTW and its within a 30 min drive to several local trails maybury, island lake, pontiac trail, proud lake, and my personal favorite the tree farm to name a few. Do a search to find trails on mmba.org. It wont have the best night life but south lyon is a good midpoint for the brighton, novi, milford area and you can get housing for cheap and you can live out in the country (if thats your thing).
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  18. #18
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    I would recommend Ferndale or Royal Oak, There are plenty of rental flats within walking distance to many great bars, clubs, and restaurants.

    As a fellow pilot (gave up on doing it for a living) I know how important it is to have bars within walking distance - not that all pilots drink

  19. #19
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    I live in Hartland and love it, houses are priced right for you

  20. #20
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    Don't let the people that never hang out in Detroit make you feel like you're going to get shot the minute you step foot there. I've been living in Woodbridge, near Wayne State U for almost eight years now, and I love it. People are always out walking their dogs in my neighborhood. The rent is cheap, though as someone said earlier, you WILL have to pay approximately 2.5 percent in city income tax. I own a duplex and rent the upper flat to a couple for 700 a month. They have central air, their own laundry and it's a 1550 square foot apartment. You are close to lots of great bars/clubs in downtown D and are located fairly central to all of the trails. I can be at Maybury or Tree Farm within 35 minutes and DTW is fifteen minutes away, even at rush hour. That's another one of the great things about living in Detroit - since everyone lives in the burbs and drives into the city for work, the traffic jams are ALWAYS on the other side of the freeway from me.

    capn

  21. #21
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    plymouth?

    any thoughts on the plymouth area?
    i am going to relo and work in dearborn

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimh21524
    any thoughts on the plymouth area?
    i am going to relo and work in dearborn
    From an MTB perspective, not too much bad can be said about Plymouth. Easy access to Maybury, Novi Tree Farm, ILRA, Brighton. Many more a short distance away.

    OTOH, traffic out there may cause thoughts of suicide. Pick your poison!
    Let the market decide!

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  23. #23
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    utabintarbo.. fancy meeting you here...
    Plymouth, Canton are amazing places to live.. near trails, 30 minutes to Detroit, great for kids, family oriented, tons and tons of shopping and restaurants..
    Cannot go wrong..
    Drop me a PM if you want more specific details..
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by power-san
    utabintarbo.. fancy meeting you here...

    ...
    I am ubiquitous.
    Let the market decide!

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by capn 35
    Don't let the people that never hang out in Detroit make you feel like you're going to get shot the minute you step foot there. I've been living in Woodbridge, near Wayne State U for almost eight years now, and I love it. People are always out walking their dogs in my neighborhood. The rent is cheap, though as someone said earlier, you WILL have to pay approximately 2.5 percent in city income tax. I own a duplex and rent the upper flat to a couple for 700 a month. They have central air, their own laundry and it's a 1550 square foot apartment. You are close to lots of great bars/clubs in downtown D and are located fairly central to all of the trails. I can be at Maybury or Tree Farm within 35 minutes and DTW is fifteen minutes away, even at rush hour. That's another one of the great things about living in Detroit - since everyone lives in the burbs and drives into the city for work, the traffic jams are ALWAYS on the other side of the freeway from me.

    capn
    No, it only took my friend 25 minutes to get shot. I have been there and it is a crap hole. Two friends car got stolen when they went to Wayne State and a friend was followed home and mugged. Do you live there? Or are you trying to rent to him. Stay away from Detroit
    Last edited by jkkfam89; 07-03-2008 at 07:29 AM.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimh21524
    any thoughts on the plymouth area?
    i am going to relo and work in dearborn
    Plymouth is more expensive than Dearborn. There are plenty of homes for sale in Dearborn below what they are worth, like every place in MI.

    Face it, we love to ride bikes, but we can't every day. Yet, we DO have to go to work 5 days a week, so why not live close to where you work to save gas $$$?

    Then, ride every chance you can except when you can't...

  27. #27
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    ...I rest my case. Detroit isn't any more dangerous than your average big city.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by utabintarbo
    I am ubiquitous.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpartaSpartan
    -Stony Creek: Rocky and not really marked all that well. Some technical parts, but overuse and lack of maintenance are an issue.
    Have you been there recently. There is no loop if thats what your looking for, but thats not what it is, with the exception of the gravel 2 tracks, Almost every rock is exactly where we want it. And every intersection is numbered if you have a map you can get anywhere. It is busy though.

    OP the balance of budget, safety, close to trails, and getting to the airport daily is gonna be tough. probably the NW burbs that others have mentioned Novi, Westland, Livonia, Canton, Plymouth. There is great riding by me but it takes me well over an hour to get to the airport from Rochester. There is no good way. Something along I-275 would proably be your best bet. Just about all the trails are north and west of the city. close to work, but easy escapes to the woods would be very doable. Plus you'd have the most closeish options that way.

    Just remember almost every town has good and bad areas. I've seen million dollar mansions within a half mile of a run down trailer park/apartment complex.

    If you really want to research the trails, or ask a larger group of locals come on over to MMBA.org we'll help you out.

  30. #30
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    I live in Ann Arbor, it's nice =) Saline, Ypsi, Rockford, Birmingham, Auburn Hills, Northville, are all nice places near by. 30-40 minute commute to DTW.

  31. #31
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    Kinda late to the game, but...

    If you're at 9E I would avoid Ann Arbor, your second year rate will never put you in a position to be able to really afford to live there.

    If you're at XJ or Compass I'd consider it as once you hit second year pay things become a lot more manageable. Ann Arbor ain't a cheap place to live by any stretch of the imagination, and with how much gas costs it'll start to cost you fast.

    You may consider Ypsi, but there are only a few parts of Ypsi I'd live in.

    Good luck with your first year, I just hit second year and I'll be furloughed from XE by October.

  32. #32
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    I'm finally getting a chance to move this week. .Ypsilanti and canton are the 2 places i'm still looking into. It came down to ease of apartment shopping w/o being able to visit. I still prefer to live outside or at least close to the edge of detroit. Any last second suggestions? any resources to use to search? I've been looking only on craigslist and rent.com...

    Jtrain- 9e..... money will be tight. Sorry to hear about the furlough. I have a few friends over there that are in the same place..
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  33. #33
    ride like you stole it
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    I don't know if it will be any use but for info on ypsi housing you might want to take a look at EMU's website has any housing resources.
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  34. #34
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    We the people ...

    The living conditions and safety of the Metro Detroit area is not drawn on city lines. There are safe places inside the city and there are unsafe places outside of the city. Its not easy to know where to go. Of course the places percieved as unsafe will cost less. And safety is a factor of time of day as well. I doubt you will ever have reason to go into an area considered "unsafe." The police is strong in areas of new development too.

    You will probably find the best deals within the city itself because of perception. You can't really get it all in Metro Detroit like in other places. If you do get it all, you will be paying LOTS of money. Such as living in Ann Arbor, or downtown Royal Oak.

    If I were from out of town just coming into Detroit area I would start looking

    Taylor
    Dearborn
    Dearborn Heights
    Westland
    Central Detroit (Developing areas)

    I live in Southfield which is not that expensive for rentals. Farmington Hills is good too.

    If you look at Detroit you need to look between the Tiger Stadium/Ford Field area and Wayne State University area (Google Earth wont do this area justice). Not on the borders. You can look downtown but it gets expensive. They want more people in the city so they offer deals on property which can trickle down to renters sometimes too. Detroit proper has I believe a 1.5% tax for people living in the city but not working in the city. plus car insurance redlining... But access to entertainment in Detroit is very good.

    If you plan on doing lots of riding then I would favor areas further West and North of Detroit. e.g. Ann Arbor.


    Good luck.

  35. #35
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    Maybe too late, or maybe not...

    I'd try to get a 6 - 12 mo lease in Dearborn, Canton or Belleville (all easy commute to DTW) then learn the different areas and decide on longer term housing. Just my 2 cents.

  36. #36
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    I live in Novi and the best part is its a 5 min ride to the tree farm.

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    Just my 2 cents but I would look at Dearborn. It has a nice redeveloped area on Michigan Ave between Military and Oakwood with restaurants, bars, shops, etc. that are easy walking distance from a number of nice, decent and safe neighborhoods and very close to DTW...you can be there in 10-15 minutes. You can get to a number of riding areas within an hours drive. I lived in Dearborn for over 5 years and loved it...it has a small town feeling and lots of great city services. If Ford had not come on hard times I would still be there.

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