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  1. #1
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    Moving to Seattle - Apt Suggestions?

    I know this question has been asked a dozen times, but I'm not so much concerned with the drive time to trails as I am to work. There's a chance I'll be moving to the Seattle area in early/mid April, and from my research Renton looks like the best option for me. Factors included cost of living, distance between work and trails (I'd like to live "in the middle"), and just general "niceness" of the area.

    To anyone that lives/lived in Renton, can you recommend some nice apartments? I figure the best people to ask would be the ones who share similar interests to me. I've checked out some online but more than likely won't be able to visit in person before moving.

    To anyone else, I'm open to suggestions on where to live. For reference, I'd be working near the University District. I'd like to keep rent below 1K, and realistically only need a 1BR.

    Thanks in advance, hoping this all works out and I'll be in the NW soon enough!

  2. #2
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    I don't really know much about Renton living but if you're working in or near the U dist then commuting could be a drag. 405 will always be a parking lot during rush hr only to get onto I-90 for more waiting. Then the cluster that is the I-90/I-5 interchange. If you don't mind traffic then Renton is going to be OK. I work in South Lake Union, which isn't far from the U dist and I live in West Seattle. Not a bad commute, not the best. Nice neighborhood too.

  3. #3
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    I don't think living in Renton and commuting to the U District would be a good idea at all. It doesn't satisfy any of your criteria. It would be a terrible commute and Renton isn't really close to any trails anyway. Not sure where you're coming from but the traffic around here can be brutal. Renton isn't really halfway between the U District and trails anyway...that would be more like Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, etc. Apply the gas money you'd spend commuting and the value of your time to paying a little bit more in one of the North Seattle hoods (Maple Leaf, Phinney, Greenlake, Fremont, Ballard, etc.). It's not that bad getting to trails from those areas on the weekend, and if you're working in the U District, sorry you're not going to be doing much mid-week riding anyway (Seattle has zero trail riding in the city, which sucks). Or Kirkland wouldn't be bad. You'd still have to cross the bridge to get to work but would at least avoid most of 405 and could have easy access to riding at St. Edwards, and would more accurately fit your critera of being in between trails and work.

  4. #4
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    I live in Renton and commute to downtown Seattle. It isnt bad at all. You can catch the Sounder Train on the Renton/Tukwila border and it is a 12 minute ride to Seattle. Then you can cross the street the the bus tunnel and catch a bus further north.

    Renton is pretty much right in the middle and you have easy access the I-5, I-405 and Highway 167. I can get to Tiger, Black Diamond, Duthie Hill, in 20 minutes, and then there is the Tapeworm area on the hill that is a full afterwork ride.

    As for apartments, I'd avoid the Highlands side and most of downtown Renton. I'd also avoid the Skyway area. They are cheaper, but crime is much higher. The Benson Hill area is a lot nicer and you have easier access to the local trails. Kennydale and NewCastle are nearby and great area, but is a bit more expensive.
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  5. #5
    That Waters Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Lynch View Post
    You can catch the Sounder Train on the Renton/Tukwila border and it is a 12 minute ride to Seattle. Then you can cross the street the the bus tunnel and catch a bus further north.
    My old boss used to take the Sounder and it worked well for him. Buses up the tunnel to UW should be frequent. So if that's the plan, rock on.

    If you're car-bound, I'd be concerned either with the traffic or with the likelihood of ending up paying $7 a day for tolls on I-90, which looks more conceivable than not at this point in time.

    Time of day of your commute is huge for I-90 East -> 405 southbound in the evening, it's the longest rush hour of all right now. But of course the train avoids all that.

  6. #6
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    If you can pull of the train/bus commute than Renton ain't bad. I'd want to be minutes away from the worm for after work fun...right Chris?
    You're also that much closer to the 410 trails. A car commute from Renton to the U would SUCK! Better would be to get closer to the Bellevue/Kirkland if you can afford another bill or two. Good Luck!

  7. #7
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    I would NEVER car commute, so if that is the plan Renton is a bad idea.

    In the summer you are 75-90 minutes from all the 410 goodness, so that's a plus!
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  8. #8
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    Suggest you do some public transportation research online, or maybe they still have phone assistance available, and approach this from the perspective of how much time the commute via bus would be from, say Issaquah vs Renton vs Bellevue, ect. There are some nice parts of Renton, but last time I went to the movies in that newer theatre not far from Fry's, there was a squad car parked out front and a police officer stationed in the lobby keeping an eye on things. Just sayin.

    I live in Sammamish, and can be at Duthie or Grand Ridge in 5 minutes, Tokul in 15 minutes, and Tiger in 20. I night ride Duthie and Grand Ridge year round after work, and it is not uncommon to have the trails all to myself and the deer I see (and lots of mice). The transit stations in the Issaquah area run numerous busses straight downtown Seattle and back all day every day. Living out this way, you have the opportunity for getting all the riding you could want. It is all around you if you live in the right place.

  9. #9
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    My wife did the West Seattle to U district commute for three years by bus. Takes about 45 minutes. It's an easy route to bike commute and get there quicker. Great community on this side of the bay and quick access really to I-90 and points south. Commuting from Renton to the U district is going to be a slog both ways.

  10. #10
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    Since you will be working more than riding unless you're lucky live closer to work.
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  11. #11
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    Wow, thanks so much for the information everyone! I was strictly going by a mileage to work, wasn't sure what to expect for traffic. Sounds it's not the best option for me. I'll take a look at what's been suggested and come back with any questions I have.

    Where I'm living currently, I get home from work, change and pack up, and can be at the trail head within 20 minutes so that's ideal for me. Weekends I don't mind travelling a bit further to ride, but on weeknights I'd like to be a short distance from some trails for a quick hour or two of riding.

  12. #12
    That Waters Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayonays View Post
    Wow, thanks so much for the information everyone! I was strictly going by a mileage to work, wasn't sure what to expect for traffic.
    We live to serve.

    My wife works at UW. The public transit options there are kind of limited if you want to do a single bus and live on the east side. Biking to / from the bus stop widens it a bit, but a commute of less than an hour and within 20 minutes of single track is difficult.

    I do recommend playing around with Google Map's tool for transit.

    The three closest options for trails I can think of:

    Downtown Kirkland / Juanita, bus is about an hour to UW, with St. Eddies as the trail. Not sure you can hit your $1k budget here.

    Issaquah or Sammamish, bus is about 75 minutes, with Grand Ridge and Duthie as the trails. Probably you can hit your $1k budget here.

    Totem Lake end of Kirkland, bus is about 70 minutes, with the little single track at Willows and the mostly gravel and occasional single track bits of the Thrilla. Definitely can hit a $1k budget here.

  13. #13
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    As has been stated the drive during normal commute hours from Renton to the U-district will be horrible. Also Renton is terrible - the Walmart downtown is one of Walmart's most crime ridden of all its stores. Renton has come a long way but it's still a pit. The Landing north of downtown near Boeing is nice but it's a small area.

    For access to after-work riding your best location is Issaquah and points east and N/NE - Tolt, Grand Ridge, Cherry Hill, Duthie, Tiger, Tokul East, Tokul West. If it were me I'd live as close as possible to the U-District and then hit these trails after work. Other trail systems (HWY 410, Galbraith, Capitol Forest, Cle Elum area, etc.) are going to be so much further such that where you live in the Puget Sound region isn't really a big factor IMO.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAL9000 View Post
    If it were me I'd live as close as possible to the U-District and then hit these trails after work.
    After thinking over everything that's been mentioned, I've decided to go the "live close to work" route. I've been commuting 45minutes for the past few years, so it doesn't sound that bad to continue doing it. However, I want a break from that so living within a few miles of U-District is what I'll be looking to do.

    Even if I wanted to ride a few nights a week, I'd be better off than HAVING to drive/commute an hour each way. I'm heading to Seattle Thurs-Sunday this week and will be spending a couple days looking at apartments. I've got a dozen or so appointments set up already, and I've found that I'll have to bump my budget up for rent a bit. No problem there, I'll just have less money for bike parts...

  15. #15
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    I don't know where you're moving from but one thing people haven't mentioned is between May and early Sep it doesn't get dark until after 9pm. I live north of Seattle near where I-405 connects to I-5. I generally ride St.Edwards St Pk a couple nights mid-week not leaving my house until after 7pm and still get a couple hour ride in. Even leaving my house at 7pm and driving 45min to Duthie Hill a couple times a month I have more than enough time to get a good ride in. Driving from the U-Dist Paradise Valley would be just a bit longer drive than to St.Eds. Living in the U-Dist area will be just fine - just keep your bikes locked up eh?!

  16. #16
    That Waters Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayonays View Post
    After thinking over everything that's been mentioned, I've decided to go the "live close to work" route.
    That's what I'd do, too.

    In addition to the "drive to" places already mentioned, hard cases can definitely ride to St. Eddie's from UW; I used to do it occasionally from further away.

  17. #17
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    Better to live slightly closer to work.

    I live in Issaquah, work in Renton. Rt 900 goes right from my house to Renton, so it works out well.

    Find a new job on the East side would be the best deal!
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  18. #18
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    For cheaper rent and reasonable proximity to both work and trails, you might try Beacon Hill/Rainier Valley. Depending where you are it's pretty up and coming, right on the new train line, and it's easy to hop on the highway to get to Tiger/Tokul/Duthie and 15-20 to Tapeworm in Renton. About the same to UW.

    Welcome to Seattle and good luck in the hunt!
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  19. #19
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    Thanks for all the help/input. After looking in a few neighborhoods, I went with a new(er) apartment building in Fremont. It's pricey, but the job offer came with a bit more money than I expected so I'm still within my budget. I'll be 2.5 miles from work and can get out to the trails when I have time. I plan to get involved with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to help with trailwork and meet some new people, since I don't know anyone in the MTB community out there. Looking forward to perhaps meeting some of you, see you on the trails!

  20. #20
    I didn't do it
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    Congratulations on the job and finding a place to live. Fremont is a nice neighborhood, good call. Now get out and ride!

  21. #21
    That Waters Guy
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    Awesome, and welcome!
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