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Coming back to Cleveland - Advice on Neighborhoods

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After time in Athens, Germany and Columbus, I will finally be returning to Cleveland to stay for a while.  I’ll be pursuing a Masters Degree at John Carroll and my partner works downtown.  I currently live in the Victorian Village neighborhood in Columbus.  I like being able to walk to the Short North area and the grocery store, but it’s an overly residential area missing the commercial elements.

 

I’m originally from Strongsville and my partner is from Chagrin Falls.  He currently lives in the west end of Lakewood, which is an area we both love.  We love being able to walk to the restaurants, the bakery (mmmm), bars and grocery store.  We also enjoy the quick access to the Metro Parks.  When he drives to work, he hops on Clifton and is downtown quickly, and when he takes the bus, it stops right outside of his apartment.  Unfortunately, we don’t think Lakewood will work because of my commute to University Heights, where I have to be at 8:00 AM.

 

Here’s what we’re looking for:

-Budget of around $800 for a two-bedroom apartment – we can go a bit over that if we need to, but would prefer not to.  We don’t mind being in a duplex or larger apartment complex.  Everything works.

-Accessible to both Downtown and University Heights

-Gay friendly and young neighborhood.  We're both in our mid-20s

-Would prefer walking distance to bars and restaurants and a grocery store.  We love this part of Lakewood.

-Parking for two cars.  We’ve ruled out downtown because of this fact – getting to University Heights would be challenging enough with public transportation, and about a year from now I’ll be student teaching.  The only districts that offer my subject are suburban schools, so a car is a must.

 

The areas we’ve had in mind are:  University Heights, Cleveland Heights (not sure about specific parts) and Tremont.  Would it be ridiculous to commute from Lakewood to University Heights?  And how about the commute to downtown from University Heights?  Because we’re both originally from the outer suburbs, we’re not too sure what the drive is like.

 

Any feedback and advice you can offer would be much appreciated.  I'm itching to get the heck out of Columbus and can't wait to be back in Cleveland!

 

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After time in Athens, Germany and Columbus, I will finally be returning to Cleveland to stay for a while.  I’ll be pursuing a Masters Degree at John Carroll and my partner works downtown.  I currently live in the Victorian Village neighborhood in Columbus.  I like being able to walk to the Short North area and the grocery store, but it’s an overly residential area missing the commercial elements.

 

I’m originally from Strongsville and my partner is from Chagrin Falls.  He currently lives in the west end of Lakewood, which is an area we both love.  We love being able to walk to the restaurants, the bakery (mmmm), bars and grocery store.  We also enjoy the quick access to the Metro Parks.  When he drives to work, he hops on Clifton and is downtown quickly, and when he takes the bus, it stops right outside of his apartment.  Unfortunately, we don’t think Lakewood will work because of my commute to University Heights, where I have to be at 8:00 AM.

 

Here’s what we’re looking for:

-Budget of around $800 for a two-bedroom apartment – we can go a bit over that if we need to, but would prefer not to.  We don’t mind being in a duplex or larger apartment complex.  Everything works.

-Accessible to both Downtown and University Heights

-Gay friendly and young neighborhood.  We're both in our mid-20s

-Would prefer walking distance to bars and restaurants and a grocery store.  We love this part of Lakewood.

-Parking for two cars.  We’ve ruled out downtown because of this fact – getting to University Heights would be challenging enough with public transportation, and about a year from now I’ll be student teaching.  The only districts that offer my subject are suburban schools, so a car is a must.

 

The areas we’ve had in mind are:  University Heights, Cleveland Heights (not sure about specific parts) and Tremont.  Would it be ridiculous to commute from Lakewood to University Heights?  And how about the commute to downtown from University Heights?  Because we’re both originally from the outer suburbs, we’re not too sure what the drive is like.

 

Any feedback and advice you can offer would be much appreciated.  I'm itching to get the heck out of Columbus and can't wait to be back in Cleveland!

 

 

I suggest looking at Shaker Square, Univ. Circle, Cedar-Fairmont, Cedar-Lee, Coventry.

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Welcome back!  I'd think a good location for both your commutes would be Cleveland Hts, Shaker Hts or Shaker Square.  Shaker Sq. in particular offers a lot of walkable amenities (full grocery store, movie theater, wide array of restaurants), an easy drive to University Hts and a very easy rapid transit ride downtown.  Cedar Fairmount in Cleveland Hts also offers a great walkable neighborhood and easy commuter to JCU, but the transit access to downtown is less convenient- still doable, but less convenient than Shaker Square or Lakewood.  Both Cedar Fairmount and Shaker Square are generally pretty young and, I would think, pretty gay friendly (Cleveland Hts has a partnership registry and has elected openly gay city officials).  If you like the idea of a rapid transit commute downtown, you might also consider the Chagrin/Lee neighborhood or even the area around Van Aiken plaza in Shaker Hts.  Both offer great grocery stores and other day to day shopping, rapid stops, and a variety of rental housing, though the commercial areas are a bit more suburban in nature.  Good luck!

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Welcome back!  I'd think a good location for both your commutes would be Cleveland Hts, Shaker Hts or Shaker Square.  Shaker Sq. in particular offers a lot of walkable amenities (full grocery store, movie theater, wide array of restaurants), an easy drive to University Hts and a very easy rapid transit ride downtown.  Cedar Fairmount in Cleveland Hts also offers a great walkable neighborhood and easy commuter to JCU, but the transit access to downtown is less convenient- still doable, but less convenient than Shaker Square or Lakewood.  Both Cedar Fairmount and Shaker Square are generally pretty young and, I would think, pretty gay friendly (Cleveland Hts has a partnership registry and has elected openly gay city officials).  If you like the idea of a rapid transit commute downtown, you might also consider the Chagrin/Lee neighborhood or even the area around Van Aiken plaza in Shaker Hts.  Both offer great grocery stores and other day to day shopping, rapid stops, and a variety of rental housing, though the commercial areas are a bit more suburban in nature.  Good luck!

Good suggestions as I never think of upper Van Aken.  Those areas aren't as gay friendly as the Square.  The gays on Upper Van Aken are more the stroller set.  The gays here are younger and more hip!  ;) 

 

I always forget about the CH partnership registry.

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Glad to have another ex-pat return.

 

Since your partner works in the City, I believe there is a tax advantage to living in the City (avoid double taxation), so Shaker Square may be a good fit.  There are other parts of Cleveland that border Shaker which may be appealing. 

 

If you go with Cleveland Hts, the two most walkable neighborhoods IMO are Coventry and Cedar-Fairmount.  Coventry is about as walkable a neighborhood (with a strong residential base) as you will find in Ohio.  A little less active, but a slightly older crowd, in the Cedar-Fairmount area.  Lee Road, and the surrounding areas, south of Cedar is another option.

 

At that price point, you should be able to find something you like.  You may want to check out Park Lane Villa in University Circle as well.  UC is a pedestrian nightmare IMO, but it is on the upswing big-time.

 

Little Italy is another area you could consider. 

 

FWIW, I would not want to commute from Lakewood to JCU.

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I live in Lakewood now, and wouldn't relish the thought of a commute to JCU. Mostly because there's just not an efficient route between the two. You would need to dodge both downtown traffic problems, as well as University Circle traffic problems.

 

When I lived in Little Italy (1979-85) it wasn't especially tolerant to outsiders. It is probably a lot better in that regard now, but it's not going to be like Lakewood.

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Thanks for the advice so far.  Please keep it coming!

 

I never thought about Shaker Square, but it should also be an option for us because of the rapid connection to Downtown.  I think we'll probably end up looking mostly in Cleveland Heights, but we really appreciate all of the comments and feedback this site offers.

 

Thanks also for the brutally honest opinion on the commute from Lakewood.  Google says it's about 30 minutes, which wouldn't be that bad, but that doesn't count traffic and all of the stoplights along the way.  If only they could invent teleports within the next few months, we could live in Lakewood!

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If I was to commute to JCU from Lakewood, I would not go through UC.  I would probably take the shoreway to either E. 152 and take Belvoir all the way to campus or get off on E. 185 and cut through the metropark on the way to the Heights.  The latter would be a tad longer but would allow you to avoid some serious potholes you can't avoid going up E. 152.

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If I was to commute to JCU from Lakewood, I would not go through UC. I would probably take the shoreway to either E. 152 and take Belvoir all the way to campus or get off on E. 185 and cut through the metropark on the way to the Heights. The latter would be a tad longer but would allow you to avoid some serious potholes you can't avoid going up E. 152.

 

I live near JCU and have tried all of the routes from the west side at all times of day. Even at rush hour, nothing is as fast as Carnegie. The only place where it's a toss up is whether to head up Fairhill to North Park to Fairmount or stay on Cedar.

 

Either way, this is one of the few areas where the "opposite commute" is worse than the "regular commute". The lights on Carnegie are timed for traffic heading towards downtown in the morning and towards University Circle in the afternoon. It is pretty normal to hit every green light from Murray Hill to E. 55th if you are traveling this direction. However, if you are going the opposite direction, you will stop at about every third light. That said, it's still the fastest way IMO, and would take you about 35-40 minutes in traffic (25-30 without).

 

Keep in mind that JCU is about 3/4 mile from the Belvoir stop on the Green Line (and same distance to Warrensville Center stop if your destination is the west end of campus, also there is bus service on Warrensville Center Road), so it could be a carless commute from anywhere close to the Rapid (especially easy from Shaker Square, which I second the recommendation for).

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From Lakewood to University Heights, or vice versa, you're looking at a 20-30 minute drive based on traffic/weather.  It may be doable if you're only making that trip 2-3 times a week.

 

The best way to go would be I-90 to Carnegie to Cedar (I usually sneak over to Fairmount, because Cedar gives me a headache).  No need to take the odd northerly route that Hts121 suggested, as it will take longer and detour you through some very sketchy neighborhoods.  And there's really no need to go through East Cleveland or University Circle.  No online mapping site or GPS would suggest that route.

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No way you make it to UH from Lakewood in 20 minutes unless you use a helicopter.  30 minutes at best, and that is with no traffic and hitting all the lights... I don't care what route you take.  The route I suggested is a lot easier on the car for a daily commutes (a LOT less stop and go) and only will scare you if you where the same style skirt as Clevelander17 (I keed...).  You can easily make it from Lakewood to the E 152 exit in 15 mins if you are anywhere near a highway entrance.  Another 15-20 minutes from there to JCU.  Difference seems negligible to me, especially when you consider you won't be fighting much traffic.

 

When coming from downtown, I almost always go shoreway to E. 152 and head up to the Heights from there.  It is a consistent 20-25 minutes.  If I take Carnegie to Euclid Hts, the commute varies too much for my taste.  Sometimes it is 20, but more like 30 or even possibly 40 depnending on traffic.

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No way you make it to UH from Lakewood in 20 minutes unless you use a helicopter.  30 minutes at best, and that is with no traffic and hitting all the lights... I don't care what route you take.  The route I suggested is a lot easier on the car for a daily commutes (a LOT less stop and go) and only will scare you if you where the same style skirt as Clevelander17 (I keed...).  You can easily make it from Lakewood to the E 152 exit in 15 mins if you are anywhere near a highway entrance.  Another 15-20 minutes from there to JCU.  Difference seems negligible to me, especially when you consider you won't be fighting much traffic.

 

When coming from downtown, I almost always go shoreway to E. 152 and head up to the Heights from there.  It is a consistent 20-25 minutes.  If I take Carnegie to Euclid Hts, the commute varies too much for my taste.  Sometimes it is 20, but more like 30 or even possibly 40 depnending on traffic.

 

You live in the north end of the Heights, though.  To JCU, where you can take Fairmount, it is a good 5-10 minutes faster to take Carnegie.  And there isn't much more stop and go.  E. 152/Belvoir is pretty stop and go, Carnegie usually moves pretty well except around the Clinic.

 

I agree, though, that 20 minutes is impossible.

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True, I suppose Fairmount would make it easier (I was contemplating the trip down Cedar).  Although Belvoir has virtually only one light (Princeton) between Euclid and Monticello, maybe one (Bluestone) between Monticello and Mayfield, and no lights between Mayfield and Cedar.  So you really would only deal with a few lights after getting off the highway. 

 

Maybe we can race someday?  We can both bring neutral observers.  If I get stuck with Clevelander17, though, I reserve the right to use the Eddy Road exit.

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Maybe we can race someday? We can both bring neutral observers. If I get stuck with Clevelander17, though, I reserve the right to use the Eddy Road exit.

 

LOL :)

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Where downtown does your partner work? If he works within a few minutes walk of Tower City station, then I think MTS's suggestion of Shaker Square (or nearby, like Larchmere) is a good one. Of course your partner could always transfer to the free downtown trolley if his workplace is farther away from Tower City.

 

University Circle and Cleveland Heights might also be worth considering.

 

Sure are a lot of Cleveland relocation requests lately! Keep 'em coming -- the requests and relocators!


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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True, I suppose Fairmount would make it easier (I was contemplating the trip down Cedar).  Although Belvoir has virtually only one light (Princeton) between Euclid and Monticello, maybe one (Bluestone) between Monticello and Mayfield, and no lights between Mayfield and Cedar.  So you really would only deal with a few lights after getting off the highway. 

 

Maybe we can race someday?  We can both bring neutral observers.  If I get stuck with Clevelander17, though, I reserve the right to use the Eddy Road exit.

 

LMAO!

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if you are looking at locations on the west side, check out Detroit Shoreway.  If you are not familiar with the neighborhood, check out the Gordon Square and battery park threads.

 

I worked in the short north for years at Mac's.  That stetch of Detroit reminds me most of the Short North along high street, for its mix of restaurants, pubs, and creative junk :)

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My partner works within easy walking distance of Tower City.  Before moving to Lakewood, he took the Green Line into the city every day, so we're familiar with the Rapid :)

 

Thanks again for all of the advice so far.  I'll be sure to post back with updates along the way.  I think we're definitely going to check out Shaker Square and Cleveland Heights.  We don't go "out" a whole ton, but when we do, we always have a good time on Coventry.

 

And to Punch - Short North today is just a strip of very expensive restaurants.  It's losing the "creative" touch it used to have.

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I don't make the rush hour drive, but it's never taken me more than 30 minutes to get from University Heights to Lakewood.

 

Hts121, fair enough, as long as you allow me to bring my gun.

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I go between Shaker Square and Lakewood a lot, and it's a solid 30 minutes.  It's not easy on the clutch either.  I don't think I'd want to do it daily.

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Based on what you're telling us, my inclination is that you'd like either Cedar-Fairmount or Shaker Square. As far as the commute, I go from Tremont to Lakewood and let's just say that while it's a short commute, it's pretty infuriating at times so I don't even want to think about a Lakewood to University Heights commute!

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I agree. I also don't think the Tremont-University Heights commute is that much better.

 

I agree with the other suggestions of Shaker Sq or Cedar-Fairmont. Especially Shaker Sq.

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I agree. I also don't think the Tremont-University Heights commute is that much better.

 

I agree with the other suggestions of Shaker Sq or Cedar-Fairmont. Especially Shaker Sq.

 

AMN.  I knew I liked you!  ;) ;D :laugh:

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Shaker Square/Larchmere is fine as long as you don't tread too far west or south.

 

I think that depends on the individual.  I've never had a problem walking down buckeye to 116 street.

 

Again in any urban city, use common sense.

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Again in any urban city, use common sense.

 

As opposed to what, an urban small town?


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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Again in any urban city

 

Capece? Never mind...


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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Shaker Square/Larchmere is fine as long as you don't tread too far west or south.

 

I think that depends on the individual.  I've never had a problem walking down buckeye to 116 street.

 

That may be fine for you, but that's not something I think that most natives would recommend to any newcomer to the area.  That's a rough neighborhood with little going for it (other than nice architecture that has deteriorated due to a lack of caring by current tenants), and its problems have and will continue to spill over into the nicer parts of Shaker Square/Larchmere.  At least Cedar-Fairmount is somewhat insulated.

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I live off Buckeye and I'll be the first to admit it's not for everyone.  Not in its current state.  It does depend on the individual, certainly, but I would not recommend a stroll on Buckeye for newcomers.  Me, I walk down the street all bug-eyed yelling KHAAAAAN! and people tend to step aside, out of respect for the crazy person.

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I use a similar method. When an assertive (to put it nicely) folks start to head toward me on the steet, rather than doing the natural veering away which only draws them closer, I steer toward them. They end up stepping away b/c they are caught off guard.

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Me, I walk down the street all bug-eyed yelling KHAAAAAN! and people tend to step aside, out of respect for the crazy person.

 

So THAT was you!


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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I live off Buckeye and I'll be the first to admit it's not for everyone. Not in its current state. It does depend on the individual, certainly, but I would not recommend a stroll on Buckeye for newcomers. Me, I walk down the street all bug-eyed yelling KHAAAAAN! and people tend to step aside, out of respect for the crazy person.

 

Respect?  Or fear?

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Just a quick update - the search continues on and grows more frustrating by the day!

 

We can't seem to find a place in Cleveland Heights which is both affordable and has just basic upgrades that we're looking for (air and a dishwasher).  We've seen some gorgeous old buildings and some not so nice ones, but they're either outside of our price range or something that doesn't appeal to us. 

 

We've now decided to extend our search further into Shaker Heights (Van Aken), but we're also playing around with the idea of staying in Lakewood, where we can find apartments with the things we're looking for at a price we're willing to pay.  The commute would be hard for me, but I have to be at JCU by 8:00 so I'm on the early end of rush hour, and I'm usually out before rush hour traffic for the drive home.

 

I'm currently commuting to JCU from Strongsville and the drive takes around 40 minutes except when it rains and everyone decides to drive 40mph.  If the commute from Lakewood takes about the same amount of time (or less), I wouldn't be opposed to it at all (I don't think).  As someone on the first page said, it's important to love where you live.

 

So I suppose the question is: am I crazy?

 

And the second question: Does the out of place feeling of being a westsider on the eastside ever disappear?  Ha.

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It should take you less time from Lakewood to JCU than it does from Strongsville to JCU. I live at the east end of Lakewood (Gold Coast) and when I smoked, I lit up a cigarette while driving out of my parking garage. I usually finished the cigarette as I was exiting the Shoreway onto Lakeside Avenue/East 6th downtown. The trip is that fast from the east end of Lakewood to downtown.

 

So if you consider the trip time from downtown to JCU and add 5-10 minutes for the further drive to/from Lakewood, that would be your Lakewood-JCU commute time.


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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So I suppose the question is: am I crazy?

 

And the second question: Does the out of place feeling of being a westsider on the eastside ever disappear? Ha.

 

1) You are not crazy

2) Yes, eventually.

 

My suggestion, look into Tremont. It's not so much in the middle, but there are a lot of nice places to live over there. It's a friendly and quiet neighborhood. But I'll add some links below that you might want to check out:

 

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/apa/1814902388.html

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/apa/1814902327.html

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/apa/1814889625.html

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/apa/1814632650.html

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/apa/1814669736.html

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/apa/1814514101.html

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/apa/1814428590.html

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