Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worcester

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Agrippa
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Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worcester

Post by Agrippa »

My brother and his partner are moving to Massachusetts. They’re having trouble finding an apartment to rent that meets all of their criteria, so I’m tapping the Bogleheads hive mind in search of an answer. Relevant facts:

Non-negotiable:
-He needs to commute to Worcester by car
-She needs to commute to Boston by public transport [EDITED to add: she needs to get to South Station]
-No kids
-They will be renting, not buying
-Must live in an apartment building. (They need two doors between the apartment and the street to cut down on potential pet escapes. Seriously – this is non-negotiable.)

Preferred:
-Like many millenials, they’d prefer to live in a walkable neighborhood. So a location with a high Walkscore (http://www.walkscore.com) would be great
-Roughly equal commuting times if possible

Any help appreciated. Thanks!
Last edited by Agrippa on Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Agrippa
lhl12
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by lhl12 »

Where exactly in Boston does she need to commute to? That will affect the answer, as there are various distinct public transportation options.
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Agrippa
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Agrippa »

lhl12 wrote:Where exactly in Boston does she need to commute to? That will affect the answer, as there are various distinct public transportation options.
Transit that goes directly to South Station would be preferred (whether T or commuter rail).
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MooseandBear
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by MooseandBear »

If South Station, then they would want to look at places that provide easy access to the commuter rail to South Station and the MassPike to Worcester. Perhaps Newtonville or West Newton (both parts of Newton) or maybe Natick? I'm not familiar enough with Framingham's walkability to know whether that is an option.

The other option in Newton would be the Green line subway but that is further south in Newton, meaning a little further from the MassPike, and it doesn't go to South Station.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by jebmke »

I'd look at Newton or maybe even Brookline. The commute west on 90 shouldn't be too bad - most people should be going the other way.
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autonomy
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by autonomy »

Sounds like a Commuter Rail / Pike combination. I'd ask this question on the CityData forums.
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Christine_NM
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Christine_NM »

Something like this -- walkable, allows 2 pets:

http://www.cloverleafapts.com/Natick-MA-apartments.asp

It's in Natick. I grew up there (not in the apartment building!) and as I recall Natick is nicer than Framingham and not as snooty as Wellesley, Newton, Weston, Brookline and all the rest. There was a marked demographic shift at the Natick and Wellesley border that shows up still today in voting results. I'm sure things have changed a lot, more yuppieness than the working class neighborhoods I remember. The idea of Natick being a Boston suburb is very new, inconceivable in the 40's and 50's.

I had one parent from Worcester and one from Boston. They decided to live in Natick.
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rpike
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by rpike »

Well it's ~50 miles between Boston and Worcester, but they probably want to be much closer to Boston to balance the public transit commute time against a reverse-commute drive.

They might consider places like Brookline and Newton along the MBTA Green Line, Needham along the Needham commuter rail line, Waltham along the Fitchburg commuter line, or Newton or other towns along the Worcester commuter line. Some people settled in Newton because they could not afford Brookline, and some people settled in Needham and Waltham who could not afford Newton.
bestplans
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by bestplans »

I lived in Framingham for a bit (rented a house). Don't consider it if you want a walkable town.
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Agrippa
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Agrippa »

OP here. This is great stuff, guys! Very helpful. Keep it coming.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Calm Man »

Although off the thread's goal, [OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
TA_Lurker
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by TA_Lurker »

I know a couple with this exact same commute and they live in Southie. South Boston sits right on top of several entrances to the Mass Pike, would give the other person a very convenient 10 minute bus ride to South Station, and it is incredibly walkable. It's the hippest neighborhood for young professionals. The only downside is parking is very tight in Southie (http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/0 ... story.html) Also, don't cross too many of the locals. :D They're all very sensitive about being priced out of their neighborhood.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Copper John »

I lived in Brookline for 20 years and in term of walkabilty it is at the top of the list. I never used my car for shopping or work and only used it for out of town getaways. Easy access to public transportation.

Pluses and minuses in your situation:

Pluses

Outstanding walkability
Great restaurants and shopping at your doorstep
It is not a traditional suburb in that there are many multi-unit apartment buildings
Accessibility to the "T"
You are adjacent to Boston and all the positives that offers
Lots of parks nearby

Cons

Expensive housing
Worcester is some 50 miles away and although you would be doing a reverse commute that does not mean no traffic
Getting to South Station on the the T is not a direct shot. Would need to take the T to Park St and transfer for short train ride to S. Station
Would need to get an apartment that has off-street parking or pay $$ to obtain a spot as overnight street parking is banned in Brookline


Newton- would put you closer to Worcester, but would still be expensive as it is an upscale community. Would not be nearly as walkable as Brookline.
Natick and Framington - considerably cheaper than Brookline. Both would cut the commute to Worcester considerably. Neither as walkable as Brookline. Both would offer a commuter train into Boston and apartments would be readily available in both.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by lhl12 »

TA_Lurker wrote:I know a couple with this exact same commute and they live in Southie. South Boston sits right on top of several entrances to the Mass Pike, would give the other person a very convenient 10 minute bus ride to South Station, and it is incredibly walkable. It's the hippest neighborhood for young professionals. The only downside is parking is very tight in Southie (http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/0 ... story.html) Also, don't cross too many of the locals. :D They're all very sensitive about being priced out of their neighborhood.
I hadn't considered this, but I think it is a great idea! The distance between Southie and Brookline/Newton on the Pike is only 5 or so minutes, and depending on where you live in Brookline/Newton it might take you that long just to get on the Pike. I would definitely explore this option.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Altephor »

Are they looking for city, suburb, rural? Acton is a wonderful town, and has a train station that goes to North Station. It's about 35 min from Worcester, not a bad drive at all. It's a little more on the rural side but has some very nice apartments. My ex and I lived there for a year while commuting to Worcester. If she needs just a single train to South Station, then I would agree that Framingham or Marlborough might be a better choice. Areas like Natick, Newton, Acton, Concord, etc are also usually very expensive, so including a budget would be quite helpful.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by gd »

Car commutes from Natick, Acton, Concord, etc. into Boston are brutal. Unless that's tolerable, use commuter rail, and make sure you can get parking if you need it. Both Natick and Acton have commuter rail; Acton is north station. No clue about driving to Worcester. Natick would probably work pretty well, although I don't think the apartment building stock there is all that extensive right downtown. Natick has a real downtown, Acton not so much, more of a bedroom community (lots of crappy rentable 2-bdrm condo buildings converted from apartments in the 70s/80s, though. Be prepared to listen to your neighbor's late night TV. Consider a crappy townhouse complex instead). Both Natick and Acton aspire to be snotty, and do well in certain non-rental neighborhoods. Framingham, next to Natick (edited from Acton, brain fart), is apartment complex/shopping mall heaven/hell. You can even get a very expensive condo/apartment attached to a shopping mall (technically in Natick, I think).
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by ubermax »

Our daughter and SIL live in Newton and the morning commute for him to Framingham is about 1/2 hour - would guess Worcester would be no more than an hour - not sure about the return from Worcester in the pm ??

And I agree with other posters that Newton, Wellesley, etc. are great walking towns but it's still a hike to Worcester.

I think if I were faced with this situation I'd first research the train/metro/T path from the West into Boston and South Station and then start checking out towns - recognizing that you wouldn't need to rent right near the Pike or train station but rather a comfortable driving distance away - for some reason I seem to remember that you could take a train from Worcester into Boston - if that's true then there's a lot of towns that would work .

There's Quinsigamond Village - apartment and condo availability as I recall - near Worcester - have no idea about walkability index or the train time to South Station but it could be worthwhile to check out a train schedule online to see the timeframe of the commute - your brother would have a quicky commute that's for sure :happy

Good Luck !!!!
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by ubermax »

OP, another thing that needs to be considered is commuting time tolerance level - and I think possibly a couple with young children who are starting to set down roots are going to view this differently than a couple who might be thinking short term , i.e. anything is tolerable for a short time .

Our daughter has a 5 minute commute and likes it that way - they have 2 babies and it's perfect for her and down the road all the schools are right around the corner , even colleges - our SIL has a 1/2 hour like I said before and that's very comfortable.

But if , for example, your brother and his partner have very short commutes now, then long commutes might be unbearable ; and in New England an hour commute becomes 4 hours many times in the Winter :annoyed
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by sunstars »

I would look into Maynard which has a small downtown and relatively inexpensive housing. you can catch the train to boston a little north at south acton.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Copper John »

On second thought , I think my target with this situation would be Natick/Framingham. It is about a 40 minute drive to Worcester and about a 40 commuter rail trip directly to South Station from Natick. In reality the train commute will take longer when you include waiting for trains and getting to the train station and work. Both much more affordable compared to Newton and Brookline. Moving a bit west to Framingham increases S. Station rail commute by 10 minutes and decreases Worcester commute by about the same and probably offers more choices in terms of apartment rental options as the Framingham population is around 70,000 versus around 31,000 for Natick.

To really experience the positive aspects of urban living both Southie and and Brookline would be preferable locations. The person working near S. Station would love those options, but I know I would not want to do the Worcester commute from either. Previous poster mentioning that Southie access to the Pike would be better than Brookline negating Brookline's being closer - totally agree. But on the other hand having to go through the city to get to Southie opens up all sorts of other potential traffic backups such as ball games at Fenway.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by protagonist »

jebmke wrote:I'd look at Newton or maybe even Brookline. The commute west on 90 shouldn't be too bad - most people should be going the other way.
There are many factors that you need to consider.
1. Any school-age kids? If so school systems are important.
2. Is affordability important?
3. Are you both interested in what Boston/Cambridge has to offer and is that an important factor?
4. How odious is commuting to either of you?

All things considered, I would opt for Brookline (maybe Brookline Village) or Newton as possibilities.....remember, commuting against Boston traffic is much easier than the opposite, so it may actually not take a lot longer to get to Worcester than parts of Boston during rush hours.. Both communities have great schools and are on the "T" so you can easily commute to Boston/Cambridge. Both have plenty of restaurants, night life, street scene, etc. They are both rather expensive. Access to the "T" is a big plus. Commuter trains run much less frequently and are much pricier.

FYI, I spent years commuting to Worcester from Northampton (3 days/week). I much preferred it vs living around Worcester or the outer suburbs. Your life style considerations will dictate where you want to live. If it was me working in Worcester and my partner worked in Boston, I would probably live in Cambridge around Central Sq (easy access to Mass Pike) and commute, but that is me. Not for everybody.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by wilked »

Brookline will be a serious premium (speaking from someone who moved away from there a year ago). I would aim for Newton, definitely choose a spot walking distance to the commuter rail there (forget about the green line unless she is a serious masochist). Newton is a great town, can be very walkable
http://www.walkscore.com/MA/Newton (use heat map)

South Boston will be a nightmare for the evening commute from Worcester (I lived in Southie and drove to Pike/495 each day for a couple years).

Framingham / Natick are the next obvious choice, but walkability / stuff to do besides shopping goes waaaay down.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by bnes »

OP: Where in Worcester is the job? There is commuter rail to Worcester, and possible ride sharing to/from the station.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Be sure to look at schedules for commuter rails. Dont assume that because a station is perfectly located that the stops there are frequent.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by Slapshot »

I grew up in Framingham many years ago. It's changed for the worse since then. Don't think I'd want to live there now. Train station is downtown, and I wouldn't want my wife walking there, especially at night. Natick would be a good option if you could get an apartment within walking distance of the train station. Only a couple of miles to the Mass. Pike entrance from there. Same commuter rail line also goes to Worcester, so if you were working in downtown Worcester, you could both take the train.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by The Wizard »

Framingham is a fine town, even if you don't speak Portuguese. Look for an apartment near the Chickenbone Saloon, a cpl blocks to the train station and a mile from the MassPike onramp to Woostah...
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logicteach
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by logicteach »

You might also consider Waltham. It's about a 35-40 minute drive to Worcester. You can get to South Station by using the 502 or 504 (haven't lived there in 8 years!) from Central Square, Waltham or from Main Street bus stops. Still a bit of a haul for both of you, but it is more affordable than Newton.
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Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Post by BC_Doc »

Check out Auburndale. Quieter, leafy green neighbourhood at the junction of Route 128 and the Mass Pike. Easy access onto the Pike-- 30 miles to "Woosta." Commuter rail stop, Green Line (The T), maybe even a commuter bus (T again) to get into Boston. As someone who grew up in a Boston, I'd recommend taking a look here.
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