Moving to Boston- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ExCactus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    570

    Moving to Boston

    So I will be moving to Boston in August to start 4 years of post-grad studies at Tufts. Being that I'm from Seattle, my knowledge of the Boston area is fairly minimal beyond what I got to experience when I was out there for my interview. Just from what I've read/heard talking to the few people I know that have lived in Boston, I think I want to live in the South End. It's pricier than I would like, but it's on the Orange line which will take me right to the tufts med/dental center, and it sounds like it has everything I'd want/need within walking distance and will give me the true feeling of living in Boston.

    I will most definitely be bringing my Banshee Rune with me, but I have no clue if bringing a car makes sense or not. I know the mass transit system is awesome, and my reason for wanting to live in the South End is convenience of things within walking distance, but what about for those times when I need to escape the city or want to make my way out to Highland or some other trails? I'm assuming there's no sort of shuttle that you can take from downtown Boston to Highland or some other trail system But is street parking reasonable, or should I expect to be paying $100 a month for parking or something? I'll be allowed to use $2000 a month from my student loans toward all living expenses, and I'm not sure how far I can make my money go while living in Boston compared to Seattle so that's why I'm stressing over costs of parking.

    So ya, if anyone feels like just throwing some Boston knowledge my way, either on other neighborhoods I should check out, or awesome bike shops/ groups I can meet up with for rides, trail systems that are within riding distance of some stop off the T or a bus, or just any other miscellaneous tips I would really appreciate it.

    AND if anyone just so happens to be a mtb'er and real estate agent, or has a trusted agent that they have worked with for finding appartments in Boston, I would appreciate it! As much as I would love to just fly out there and check out neighborhoods and appartments on my own for a week, I just think I would have more options available and gain a lot more knowledge of the areas I'm looking at if I used an agent.

    Thanks for any info/help that is given!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: agabriel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    851
    I think its safe to say the riding is a bit better on the north of riding if you're not bringing a car. Did you also consider - cambridge, somerville, or medford? Most of which can be had near the orange line and are much closer to Tufts and MTBing.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ExCactus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    570
    Quote Originally Posted by agabriel
    I think its safe to say the riding is a bit better on the north of riding if you're not bringing a car. Did you also consider - cambridge, somerville, or medford? Most of which can be had near the orange line and are much closer to Tufts and MTBing.
    Oh, I will not be at the main Tufts campus but at the Tufts Medical/Dental center in Chinatown. I liked Cambridge, but riding the red line and having to make transfers sounds like it would just complicate the communte, but once again I don't know enough about transit to know if it would take more/less time to get to the med center from Cambridge vs. the South End. And are you saying there is riding that I would be able to reach on the North side of the city using transit?

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: agabriel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    851
    I hear you with china town; on nice days you can actually walk through from Downtown Crossing.

    Yup, there is T accessible riding just north of town. If you take the Orange Line up to Oak Grove the fells is probably 5 - 10 minutes away on bike. Some folks just ride up from somerville. The fells is mostly xc, but once you learn your way around a bit its pretty easy to find trail to all mountain. The politics are a bit nuts in there, but whatever... I don't know many spots on the south shore, so I could be missing something - but I don't think I am. I would also suggest you check out the nemba website, they also have a web forum. Lots of folks from Boston, and if you get on the email lists you can figure out when the organized rides are to help you get a feel for the spots.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: woodyak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,202
    I'm going to go ahead and make a recommendation for you. If you want to be in the city but be able to get out of the city to ride try Somerville. Living near Chinatown is going to be tough with a car. It's a boatload easier if you live in Somerville and take the T to class. Most of the riding is north or west of Boston and it's quite easy to pop onto 93 north or Rt.2 West from Somerville. If you live near the Tufts campus in Somerville you can ride your bike to the Fells. Hop in your car and you have Lynn Woods and Harold Parker within 20 miles. You have Highland about 1.5 hours away and Kingdom Trails about 3 hours away. Then there are the trails along 128 north that rock as well. I've been to Seattle and I know what you are riding. It's going to be different here for sure. Not bad, but different. Feel free to PM me if you want more of the inside scoop.

    Cheers!

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    292

    boston parking

    Congrats on grad school. That is great. I lived in Seattle before grad school in Boston and returned to Seattle afterwards. It has been ten years, but here is my take:

    Parking in Boston, or anywhere near Boston, is among the most frustrating experiences ever. It is easier to park in the U district during a football game than anywhere in Boston.

    I would absolutely go car-less. Put the money you save towards the closest apartment you can get to the orange line because after parking, the second most difficult thing to get used to in Boston is how much colder 20 degrees is than 40 degrees. On those frigid January days you will appreciate being as close to the T as possible.

    The good news is that aside from parking and the frigid winters, Boston is a very cool place to spend some time, especially grad school.

  7. #7
    Class Clown
    Reputation: dundundata's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    2,470
    Southie is alright you could probably walk to Chinatown if you wanted. Transferring from red to orange line is no big deal. In fact you'd probably end up at South Station alot which is red line and just one stop from Downtown Crossing (red and orange).

    Parking could be expensive so I'd start looking into that maybe you can find a cheap spot somewhere.

    As long as you're within the main lines - green, red, orange then your commute should be fairly easy. Of course you could always get a beater and just ride to school!

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: fireball_jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    301
    Boston has about a billion zipcars, plenty of which are big enough to fit a bike in. I would still consider living in Somerville and taking the orange line in. It's not that bad of a commute, there's just as much to do out in the 'Ville, and it's a little more laid back than living in the city. For reference, living with one roommate I was paying $650 a month over there with off-street parking. The South End will be much more expensive.

    You can get to the Fells by T, and Blue Hills is close to the city, but if you have a Rune, you're probably more interested in Lynn Woods, Harold Parker, or Vietnam, which you're going to need a car for. There are plenty of good bike shops around, JRA out in Medford is my favorite, and more mountain bike oriented, but there are a lot in the city too.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ExCactus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    570
    Quote Originally Posted by onobed
    Congrats on grad school. That is great. I lived in Seattle before grad school in Boston and returned to Seattle afterwards. It has been ten years, but here is my take:

    Parking in Boston, or anywhere near Boston, is among the most frustrating experiences ever. It is easier to park in the U district during a football game than anywhere in Boston.

    I would absolutely go car-less. Put the money you save towards the closest apartment you can get to the orange line because after parking, the second most difficult thing to get used to in Boston is how much colder 20 degrees is than 40 degrees. On those frigid January days you will appreciate being as close to the T as possible.

    The good news is that aside from parking and the frigid winters, Boston is a very cool place to spend some time, especially grad school.
    Thanks for the comparison, it definitely puts it in perspective! And from what I can gather, would you say that the South End is comparable to Fremont, and Somerville is more like Queen Anne (not comparing location relative to city but just the style of neighborhood)? The only comparison I've had is that Jamaica Plain is like Shoreline, which is definitely not the type of place I'm looking to live in.

    And thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'll start looking into Somerville for sure, as well as zip cars and the price of parking in prospective areas just for kicks. Wherever it is I end up living it sounds as if I will need access to a car to get to the good stuff.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: fireball_jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    301
    In terms of location
    Fancy:
    South End, Back Bay, parts of Cambridge (mostly Harvard Square), whatever they're calling the waterfront South of Boston but not Southie these days. High rent, low parking spaces. Close to downtown. Not necessarily the most places to hang out, and not cheap.

    Gentrified:
    Somerville, Dorchester East of Dot Ave, Jamaica Plain, North Cambridge. Cheaper, some nice places to live, more ethnic restaurants and markets. Parts of JP (near the Pond) are really nice. Outside of Boston, I think having a place near Davis is the best place to live.

    Full of Italians:
    Medford, the North End. Parts of Medford are like Somerville, almost as close to the city, but you can rent half a house and a yard. North End is the total opposite (cramped, high rents), but it's downtown and near the Garden.

    Full of College Kids:
    Allston, Brighton. Avoid if possible. Fun to hang out on a Friday night, not fun to live in unless you like waking up in the middle of the night and finding your kitchen full of rats.

    Full of people who hate college kids:
    Brookline, Newton. If I was going to live in Boston, I'd probably live near Coolidge Corner. Pretty quiet, lots going on, easy to get to everywhere from there.

    Places you don't want to live:
    Dorchester west of Dot. Ave, Mattapan, Roxbury, Chinatown, Southie, above a bar, near Fenway Park, any parts accessible only by tunnel or bridge.

  11. #11
    Just a flesh wound
    Reputation: Prophet Julio's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    2,254
    The South End is nice. You could walk to school from there. There is riding North and South of the city. Blue Hills is good, lots of climbing and just South of Boston. Also South is Wompatuck with about 40 miles of twisty, rocky, rooty single track. It is on the commuter rail and there is a trail into the park from the station in Cohasset. 45 minutes from South Station.

    Good luck with your search!
    My name is Chris and I ride a Ripmo now.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    173
    The Fens is probably the cheapest place in "downtown" Boston. It's not really close to where you need to be at all.

    South End is expensive, and full of young lawyers and middle age doctors, who are waiting until they can afford Beacon Hill or Commonwealth Ave.

    What is your budget?

    On sub-$2000 a month properties, real estate agents are available, and they will call, but only about a specific property, i.e. the one you inquired on. They really won't help you find somewhere else to live. This is strictly my own opinion.

    You won't need a car for getting around Boston. You will need a car for getting out of Boston. I have used Zipcar and I am generally happy with them. That said, this year I plan on using a car for several days a week, and Zipcar no longer works out for me (3x as expensive as owning a car). If you wanted to have your own car and you plan to only look for places in "Boston", i.e. Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End, "Downtown", I would recommend looking for a separate parking spot separately from your apartment hunting. If you'll live off the Red Line (Cambridge, Somerville, Medford), you can look for units that include parking for a single car. If you're planning on having roommates, see if they have a car -- most units will have one parking spot.

    You can rent a parking spot in a "prime" area of Boston for around $300. Most will be snatched up on August 1 or September 1 each year. Parking garages will be your cheapest option.

    The Red Line runs often (even at night) and it is very easy to connect to the Orange Line. It is also not that crowded (except during rush hour, 7-930 and 330-630). From Central SQ, it will take about 7-12 minutes from arriving at the station to getting to Downtown Crossing, depending on the wait for the train.

    Really look hard at the map of Boston: Everything is VERY close. When I go to Boston I regularly get asked by tourists (usually families) how to get to XYZ on the T. I tell them to walk 3 minutes that way and skip waiting for one of the Green Lines. I have gladly walked from Boston Medical Center to my friend's shop on Newbury St in less than 25 minutes (through the South End). Besides that, once I am at Park St (Red and Green Line station), I cannot think of a single time I have walked more than 15 minutes to get somewhere else in Boston.


    I live in Allston (where the rats live or something like that) and love it. It's super quiet, and I don't have to deal with Harvard undergrads all day long. It's a 20 minute walk to where I need to go, when I don't stay home and work, and I am surrounded by parks. It takes me 15 minutes to walk to the Harvard SQ T stop. I'm on the corner of 3 bus lines, 2 of which go to Harvard SQ. I pay $1700 for a three bedroom (with 1 parking space), and occasionally rent the spare rooms, depending on my mood. Hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, new kitchen/bathroom, central air, etc, etc.. I absolutely love living here and I will only move when I finally find a place in Inman Square to purchase. I really don't mind the walks, but saving ten minutes (when I move to Inman Square), I admit, will be nice.

    If you're willing to walk a bit every day (or take the bus), real values are to be found.

    In short, I'd recommend living around Central SQ (not IN Central SQ, unless you like noise/drunk people), somewhere in Somerville, and take the 10-15 minute commute to classes each day.

    As an aside, the mbta.com website is terrible -- use Google Maps and click on the "public transit" link. Then go to mbta.com and download the bus schedules of what Google Maps recommends, and see if the buses run regularly (not all do).


    If you need any more help, feel free to ask.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: woodsguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    502
    There are apps at the mbta site that give you live gps coordinates of the buses and trains so you know exactly when they will be there.

  14. #14
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
    Reputation: scrublover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    8,846
    Another west coast guy here - I spent two years in Boston, and my experience more or less echos what ephie and fireball_jones are saying.

    IMO, I'd pick the best location for grad school convenience. Traveling to ride in/around Boston isn't bad.

    And you don't need a car. It's nice, but is a pain/expense with parking -unless you find a place with decent parking, or paying for a spot is not an issue. For riding places further out you've got the Zip cars and hooking up with other riders. Throwing a few bucks there way to cover gas is less expensive than keeping a car there.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    173
    Quote Originally Posted by woodsguy
    There are apps at the mbta site that give you live gps coordinates of the buses and trains so you know exactly when they will be there.
    Yeah, they are pretty good for buses. A few glitches, here and there, but about 95% accurate (I use openMBTA on an iPhone). For subways, you'll never get reception in the T station anyway, and they are always coming within a few minutes.


    That's another thing, reception in Boston is almost as bad as reception in San Francisco. Tmobile has the best reception as a GSM carrier. That said, Verizon (CDMA) is regularly considered as having the best reception in Boston.

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.