NVHEngr New Reader
6/8/10 12:19 p.m.

Hey Guys,

I'm going to be moving from Indy to Washington DC in the next month or so.

Anybody live in that area? Any advice on where to live/avoid? I'm just looking for any information on the city.


foxtrapper SuperDork
6/8/10 1:14 p.m.

DC itself is automotive hell. I'd avoid it at all costs. As for Maryland VS Virginia, it's really a coin toss. Pro's and con's to both, but in the DC area, it's all a wash.

1988RedT2 New Reader
6/8/10 1:20 p.m.

I had a friend who owned a house in the district. He eventually bailed out and ended up in Mt. Vernon. Another friend lives in Fairfax. The traffic there is hellacious.

There are some nice areas in No. Va., but very expensive, and the commute is gonna be a bear if you work normal hours.

nutherjrfan Reader
6/8/10 1:34 p.m.

living in the district, there's really no need for a car. some areas are worse than others for parking especially on the weekend. the local government is getting increasingly anti-car, but it's by no means hell on earth. downtown can be a bit chock a block at rush hour, but other than that you can drive anywhere in about 10 mins - traffic inside the city is actually very easy and there's a ton of parking if you're willing to pay, but most people are cheap and then bitch about parking!

nderwater Reader
6/8/10 2:27 p.m.

The cost of living will be very much higher than Indiana. DC proper is a great city, but an expensive place to live, eat and imbibe. The Northern Virginia suburbs tend to be nice, but expensive. The Maryland suburbs tend to be a little less expensive (more so to the East and South of the District) but are also less desirable. I lived a year on the DC line and only needed a car for weekend errands, then later moved to the Maryland suburbs where decent housing was much more affordable.

If you're going to be working in the District, the best advice you can heed is to find a residence with close access to public transportation - meaning walking distance to Metro if in DC itself or a short drive to a commuter train station if you're out in the burbs. Traffic on the interstates (bad) and arteries into downtown (infuriating) makes commuting by car a daily exercise in frustration, and parking in the District is absurdly expensive and frustrating ("What do you mean my parking spot becomes illegal at 4pm?", "WTF this parking ticket is $100?!", etc.)

neon4891 SuperDork
6/8/10 2:36 p.m.

+111,000,000,000 on the metro. It is the only big city I would live in, but I wouldn't drive much.

The only cheap part of being there can be recreation, if you mostly stick to the free stuff(Smithsonian, parks, monuments).

My personal bad idea is to live on a used boat down there, but that has already been discused in another thread...

1988RedT2 New Reader
6/8/10 2:42 p.m.

Yah, the Metro (commuter train/subway) rocks. Makes the NYC subway system look really.....disgusting.

wcelliot Reader
6/8/10 7:14 p.m.

Critical to know where you'll be working... you likely want to plan where to live based on the commute. I live near Frederick, MD (beautiful area, country living close into the city) but my wife has a hellish commute into downtown each day. No way we would have chosen to live here had that job been part of the original plan...

mistanfo Dork
6/8/10 7:30 p.m.

Summit Point Raceway is less than 2 hours from downtown. VIR is less than five hours. NJMP is less than 4. Sounds like you could do worse. Active autoX scene nearly every weekend in season.

motomoron Reader
6/9/10 4:44 p.m.

DC area resident for 50 years (shudder).

The near in MD/DC suburbs where I reside have the absolute worst drivers I've encountered anywhere. They somehow manage to be distracted, vague, unpredictable and jaw-droppingly slow while being incredibly aggressive about their territorial imperative.

Imagine a parade of Priuses and new A4s and 328is all trundling along at sub-25mph punctuated by latino guys on revoked licenses in work trucks and an infinite number of double and triple-parked UPS and FedEx trucks. Everyone is either on a cell phone or texting on a iPhone.

The Local highways are impossible to predict. My evening commute from Beltsville to Bethesda can take 25 minutes in horrid rainy grey weather, or an hour-fifteen on a clear, sunny day in August when the whole city is on vacation.

Downtown, if you see a motor cop parked at 2 consecutive intersections - drive like hell. You may be able to stay ahead of the motorcade like outrunning a tsunami. Otherwise you're screwed.

Upsides? Summit/VIR/NJMP/BeaverRun all are close. SCCA, Autocrosser Inc, Capital Driving Club, BMW, Benz, Porsche clubs all have active autocross series.

DC craigslist seems pretty fruitful for cheap cars.

Unless you're from SoCal near say, Malibu the shear numbers of crazy expensive "look at me" cars will amaze. When I worked down town I was waiting to cross the street after work on day and there were 2 Aston-Martins, an Elise, a Bentley and a Qvale Mangusta at the intersection. That don't happen in Des Moines...

As said above where you live vs. where you work is huge here. There are commutes that would make me choose homelessness as an alternative.

As a longtime local (and in the DC area they don't ~have~ natives) I'd be happy to share restaurant recommendations, good roads, and the use of my blast cab to a fellow GRM-er...

pete240z Dork
6/9/10 8:08 p.m.

Do like our House Reps do. Sleep in your office. I really feel bad for these guys! I also gave you the highlights.....the total article is below.

WASHINGTON — It's going on 10 p.m. when House Democrat Mike Quigley, in track pants and a T-shirt, tosses a flimsy mattress on the floor of his congressional office and prepares to call it a night. The 51-year-old Democrat from Chicago regularly sleeps there. Several other members of the House of Representatives, perhaps as many as one in 10, also bunk out in their offices, according to estimates.

Quigley and other House members, who earn $174,000 a year, cite two reasons for taking advantage of this little-known perk. One is frugality. The other is image. With two daughters in private college, Quigley says, his home in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood is all he can afford. Moreover, planting roots in the nation's capital — a place plenty of Americans love to hate — doesn't seem like good politics to Quigley, who is fifth from the bottom of the House seniority list.

Two other Illinois Democrats, Reps. Dan Lipinski and Luis Gutierrez, also sleep in their offices. Another, Rep. Bobby Rush, either crashes on his office sofa or a hotel bed "depending on his schedule, mood or comfort level," said Sharon Jenkins, his communications director.

On a night last week, Quigley shed his power suit and slapped a sign on the door to Room 1319 in the Longworth Building, giving fair warning to third-shift cleaning crews. "Member sleeping," it announces. "Miembro durmiente." By morning, he would stash the mattress into a private hallway and the sheets and pillow in a metal filing cabinet. Quigley and others in what some call "In-Office Caucus" said they survive by showering in the House gym, schlepping dirty laundry home and grinning and bearing what can be a fitful night.

One former office sleeper, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., thinks about 10 percent, or roughly 40 members, now make it a habit. Quigley noted that when he met top House officials after winning his primary, he was told "in an offhand way, 'Well, there's like 30 or 40 people who sleep in their office.'"

No senators are believed to follow suit.

Chicago Tribune Article

pinchvalve SuperDork
6/9/10 8:11 p.m.

The only thing you need to know about DC is the Old Glory Tavern in Georgetown. Some of the best BBQ anywhere. (and I have tried it from Texas to Memphis to Carolina and everywhere in between.)

OK, the Udvar Hazy is freakin awesome as well.

Hal HalfDork
6/9/10 9:08 p.m.

Where your job is located is the most important factor to consider. I have lived in Frederick since 1966. And like wcelliot like living here. Fortunately my jobs have always been in Frederick county, but my wife commuted down the road to Gaithersburg for 36 years. She carpooled the whole time so only drove one day a week. But a 1/2 hour drive in non-peak traffic usually took at least an hour and any disruption might make it much worse.

Wally SuperDork
6/11/10 6:13 a.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: Yah, the Metro (commuter train/subway) rocks. Makes the NYC subway system look really.....disgusting.

It's easy to keep a system nice and clean when you close every night at 10. Now if they could just go a week without running someone over.

Wally SuperDork
6/11/10 6:16 a.m.

In reply to pete240z:

At least one senator may be following suit


Congress Beginning To Suspect Senator Mark Warner Might Be Homeless

WASHINGTON—Citing a marked decline in his appearance and personal hygiene, as well as growing piles of personal items under and around his desk, members of Congress have begun to voice concerns that Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) may be homeless.

Worries first arose after Sen. Warner was seen picking up old cigarettes around Capitol Hill during a congressional recess."At first, I thought he was just burning the candle at both ends," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who noted that the unshaven Warner is always the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave the Capitol at night. "But then on Sunday, I dropped by to pick up a few things and found Mark asleep under a blanket of Washington Posts on the Senate floor."

"It never really crossed my mind before, but I think the poor guy might be homeless," Reid continued. "It would explain why he's always asking the other lawmakers if they're going to finish their lunch."

According to sources on Capitol Hill, suspicions first arose that Warner had nowhere to call home after the Virginia lawmaker attended daily Senate sessions for several weeks in the same wrinkled Brooks Brothers suit. In addition, Warner's recent habit of introducing legislation written out on large pieces of brown cardboard only furthered speculation that he had hit hard times.

"With the way the economy has been lately, I guess I wouldn't be surprised," Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) said. "All I know is that I walked into the Senate bathroom a couple weeks ago and there was Mark, soaking a pair of dirty socks in the sink and holding his unmentionables up to that hand dryer thing."

Sen. Warner has been seen, on multiple occasions, napping inside a locked handicap stall."I tried to ask him if everything was okay, but he just mumbled something under his breath about 'people needing to knock first,'" Lugar added.

Over the past few weeks, Warner has reportedly signed up to be placed only on Senate subcommittees that serve complimentary breakfast and coffee during meetings. Warner's behavior on the Senate floor has also changed as of late, with the legislator voting in favor of more comfortable benches in public parks, and adding several riders onto bills calling for "universal access to soup."

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) said he believed Warner was homeless after seeing the bleary-eyed lawmaker rummaging through a trash can on the National Mall. Byrd reported that when he approached Warner, the freshman senator claimed that he was just looking for "some health care reform bill" he had thrown away.

According to sources, Warner also claimed to be looking for "that damn health care bill" when he was found sifting through a Dumpster behind the Capitol, rummaging in a garbage chute outside the Russell Senate Office Building, and attempting to hock a congressional lectern at a local 24-hour pawn shop.

"I feel bad for the guy, I really do," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), adding that all of Warner's mail is now forwarded to a P.O. box at Union Station. "For instance, this morning he got up from his seat, wheeled that abysmal shopping cart of his onto the Senate floor, and lobbied us to pass a $3 million 'Spare Change Act.'"

"Look, we'd love to help Mark out, but if there's one thing Congress doesn't believe in, it's handouts," Hatch added. "Plus, you know he'd just waste that money on booze or arts funding or something."

Warner, who was unavailable for comment, is currently in a Bank of America ATM lobby, holding the door open for customers in an effort to raise campaign funds.

TucoRamirez Reader
6/11/10 12:37 p.m.

NVHEngr, if your occupation is your screen name, you'll love the DC streets. I lived in NW DC for a year or so & liked it. It's a great place to start driving down a road and see where you end up. Resist the temptation to leave flaming bags of poop near the HQ of some entity that participated in destroying our economy. And keep an eye out for rats.

captain_napalm Reader
6/11/10 1:15 p.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: Yah, the Metro (commuter train/subway) rocks. Makes the NYC subway system look really.....disgusting.

Yeah, bit the subway runs 24 hours 7 days a week, and $2.25 gets me a ride over 722 miles of track encompassing 4 of the 5 boroughs.

NVHEngr New Reader
6/22/10 7:27 a.m.

We went out and found a place to live this past weekend. We found a nice place in Alexandria. We are pretty close to a metro stop, so out commutes to work will be pretty short. The only bad thing about the whole process is that I won't have a garage or my Mustang to play with.

nutherjrfan Reader
6/22/10 9:11 a.m.

alex. va, I've never been but Cahill Armstrong's place Eamonn's Chipper is good for fried fish, and deep fried candy apparently. Stole my name, the bugger, but what the hey. Old Town is supposed to be cool and you can ride your bike out to Mt. Vernon as I did once - great ride. There's a park at Natl. Reagan towards D.C. that makes watching planes land and take off simple fun. Murphy's pub is supposed to be great - I've lived in the District for ten years and rarely leave - typical parochial Paddy Get nice, comfortable bicycles with multiple strong locks and enjoy the area. http://bikewashington.org/trails/ esp. seat locks

Tetzuoe Reader
6/22/10 9:39 a.m.

hey im in falls church if you need anything

JeepinMatt HalfDork
6/22/10 9:49 a.m.

How's the crime these days? NYC gets a bad rap, but they're actually pretty good, while DC usually doesn't get a bad rap, but they were pretty bad for a while.

SpeedTheory Reader
6/22/10 10:27 a.m.

I live a bit out of the city, in Springfield, VA.

Traffic. It sucks. I've learned to be okay with it, but plan on leaving EVERYWHERE early for a while.

People: Lots of snooty folk here. Rude neighbors are commonplace. HOAs are Nazis too, not too great for the GRM types.

Money: Yep, COL is higher that anywhere I've lived before. That being said, I've found there's a LOT more than a 20% increase in pay for my industry (Software development) here than most other areas. YMMV.

Tons of car stuff to do, and after you get used to the idiosyncracies, I love the area. Shoot an email if you want more info on anything specific. I've been here a LONG time.


CSPDrvR None
8/23/10 6:26 p.m.

Have you moved yet? Baltimore Grand Prix and ALMS Race coming to Baltimore in 2011

Money Mag #2 in the country is Ellicott City/Maryland area http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2010/snapshots/PL2419125.html

WDCR SCCA Autocrosses attract 215-260 entrants

Summit Point WVa Track is close

One GRM team from the area

Drewsifer HalfDork
8/23/10 8:54 p.m.

Hey! I'm from Indy originally, and I leave near DC. We're like brothers! JK.

Pat Reader
8/23/10 9:33 p.m.

Rockville, Maryland FTW!

Kidding aside, the DC area is a great place to live. Yes, it's expensive and yes, the traffic is ridiculous (I grew up in NY and I still think this is worse!) but the job market is consistently stronger here than anywhere else in the country, there is plenty to do both for kids and adults, lots of great schools, 30 minutes in one direction and I'm in the city, 30 minutes the other direction and I'm in the sticks. The trick is finding the right neighborhood. If you find the right fit for you, it's a great place to live.

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