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    Westerly, RI

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  1. So, I got the chance to check out Wayland Square and Fox Point a little bit last week, and then spent some more time in and around the East Side today. I came away quite impressed with the East Side in general, and both my wife and I liked the Wayland Square area and could see us living there. Looking at rental listings, there are definitely places that fit most of our needs, and although owning a SFH seems out of reach in the near future, that's not any different than Bristol or Barrington, I guess. Hopefully house prices will moderate and I will make more money in the coming years... Reading up on PPS, I'm encouraged that at least there are options; Classical HS, especially, seems to be a standout. In fact, it's quite refreshing to find a public school that is urban, racially diverse and high performing. By the way, Garris, by any chance you were in Minerva's (restaurant in Wayland Square) today? Sometime around 1:30pm, I was eating there with my wife and son and I noticed someone get up to leave, who appeared to be a doctor, and I thought to myself...who was it on UP that lived in Wayland Square? And he's a doctor, right? Anyway, thanks for the input, everybody! BJE
  2. Based on what I'm reading here, I may have underestimated the Bristol - Providence commute. Westerly to Providence is 45 miles, but it's almost all highway (I-95). My guess is that the trip would typically take 45min to an hour, based on traffic, and that's more time than I want to spend in the car. Bristol to Providence is about 16 miles, about 50 / 50 surface roads and highway. I was thinking that the commute would be 20min to 30min...and a half hour is about as long as I think I can stand on a daily basis. But maybe the surface roads are so slow that it will take more? And I-195 into Providence will probably be a mess for the next 5 or 6 years while the interchange with I-95 is being reworked... So, back to PPS...What determines which school a child goes to? Is it strictly geography (i.e. district boundaries) It seems there are other options, like the Advanced Acedmic programs for ES / MS kids, and Classical High School also appears to be a more demanding (and selective) school... Lots to think about. BJE
  3. I just looked at the Henry Barnard site too, it does look quite reasonable. So, if there's a lottery, any idea how many applicants and how many available slots? And even if an older child gets in, the younger one still needs to get through the lottery? I know at some magnet schools, younger siblings are automatically admitted so that the kids can all go to the same school... At any rate, a somewhat affordable alternative to the public schools sounds like a good option to have. BJE
  4. Thanks for all of the replys so far. I really would like to try living in Providence; I don't know that I can get my wife to agree though. Still, I'd like to take a closer look at Wayland Square; I've never been through that neighborhood before. What is the main commercial street through there? Angell / South Angell, or Waterman? My target budget (renting) is $1200 - $1600 / month. That is more than I'm paying now in Westerly, but less than I was paying on my mortgage + condo fees when I owned. The thing with PPS is that the school system seems to be going through a tough time right now. I have read about buildings closing, a possible switch to K-8 from ES / MS organization...so who knows what the situation will be when my son starts school (right now, he's 2). Hey, I really appreciate the input everybody. I'll try and get over to Wayland tomorrow, I'll let you know what I think... BJE
  5. I don't think I've ever formally introduced myself to this forum, although I've posted here a couple of times and lurked for about a year or so... I'm a CT native, and lived the last 5 years or so in Hartford (had a condo downtown at Bushnell Tower). By trade, an architect (not licensed -- yet). Then I got married, had a son, and after much soul searching and debating with my wife about where to live, went looking for a small town to raise a family in. I moved to Westerly, RI about eight months ago, and it seemed like a good choice at the time. My office is Hartford based but has a branch office here in Westerly, so (in theory) that should mean a minimal commute, one of my requisites. Unfortunately, the long term prospects for the branch office are not so good, and the short term situtation finds me driving to Hartford one or two times a week, which is just not acceptable to me. At present, my wife and I are expecting our second child, and our first turned two this January. I'm somewhat disappointed that Westerly is not working out, and feel pressure to put together the pieces of my life (work - home - family) and get settled somewhere soon. I thought I might ask the forumers here, most of whom are more familiar with RI than I am, for some opinions on where to live. What I'm looking for is: 1) First and foremost, a community with good public schools. They don't have to necessarily be the highest performing, but can't be at the bottom of the list, either. Unfotunately, this need is at odds with almost everything else I want in a town. 2) Almost as important, my wife and I both want a walkable community, with a true downtown with actual destinations worth walking to. This requisite is what drove me away from CT, which is almost entirely comprised of dull suburbs (West Hartford is an exception but my wife isn't comfortable with its elitist reputation). Westerly is quite nice in this regard, with a great park downtown and several restaurtants plus town hall, bank, some stores, and the post office. I currently live about 3/4 mile from the center of town. 3) I want as short a commute as possible, but need to be close enough to a decent sized pool of jobs. My mistake in Westerly is that I have few alternatives to my current job locally, and I don't want to make a long commute to New Haven, Hartford, or Providence. This is important to me philosophically, not just because gas recently got expensive. I am coming off almsot a decade of walking to work and / or school in the last three places I've lived (Portland, ME; Boston; Hartford), so just driving to work at all is painful for me. I want to live locally, as much as possible. 4) My wife insists upon a backyard. Eventually, she wants a single-family house (right now, we'll rent -- maybe in abother 4 or 5 years we'll buy again) Given our preference for dense, walkable neighborhoods, this one is hard to come by. Myself, I'd be perfectly happy with another condo, but it's just not in the cards. For right now, we're talking a unit in a duplex / three-family / townhouse etc. For the future, it's probably got to be a house. So, with those as general guidelines, what would you recommend in the Providence metro area? Providence is my preferred city, I believe; good selections of jobs (architect) and lots of good work going on (I'm mostly interested in urban mixed-use, high density commercial and residential, that type of work). So far, I'm leaning towards Bristol -- historic and lively downtown, good selection of apartments within walking distance of downtown, relatively short commute to Providence (about 30 min, maybe?), schools seem pretty good but it's hard for me to know. Other than Bristol, Warren is the same school district, closer to Providence but seems a little more run down, and the downtown looks a little thin. Barrington has high-performing schools but no discernible downtown -- just some dressed-up strip malls and fancy streetlights along Rt. 114. East Prov? East Side? I'm very interested in what people have to say... Thanks, BJE
  6. Yeah, I don't see this busway accomplishing much at all. First of all, as everyone knows, people don't like busses. Overwhelmingly, they are used by people who have no other choice, i.e. people who are not wealthy enough to own cars. So the idea that they will reduce vehicle congestion is questionable at best. Second of all, the idea that the busway will promote development around the stations is also doubtful. The fact that bus routes are easily changed and rerouted means that these stations lack permanance, as compared to light rail. I just don't see high-density TODs being developed around bus stations. Lastly, the idea of paving over rail right of ways by the highway-happy CT COT seems prelude to more auto-centric transportaion, not less. Say the busway fails to attract much ridership...what will the DOT do with the busway? My guess is that they will turn it into a HOV / HOT lane. And once that happens, you've lost the railway forever, because people will never go for removing a road and putting rail in its place... BJE
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