By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
People often cite the high rates of rent in the district to justify their move to the ‘burbs. A new report may indicate this strategy backfires on suburban dwellers, based on transportation costs.
For example, the average Dupont Circle dweller spends $636 on transportation in a month while a College Park denizen pays $1,246 as reported by Washington Examiner (“Suburban life not really cheaper than city living”).
So even if your rent is too damn high, you may be able to even it out by walking to work or taking a less expensive Metro fare. I’m guessing that $636 per month for Duponters includes people who are making car payments, paying for insurance and maintenance, etc.
If you think about it, this makes sense; with the rising price of gas, if you have to drive your car to work, to Metro, to the bar and to the grocery store, your cheaper rent is eaten up in additional gas and parking expenses. What the study doesn’t tell us, at least in the Examiner piece, is how much higher the rent is in Dupont.
So if you live and work in the neighborhood, $636 seems a little bit high for a total month of transportation. If you are more frugal with your transportation, does the percentage tradeoff still work out in the urban dwellers favor?
Also… I have to add: It’s also more fun and convenient to live downtown.
From Michelle Lancaster. Talk to me on Twitter @MichLancaster.
When we found out that Harry Jaffe had moved to the Borderstan area, we knew he’d be perfect for one of our Q& A profiles of interesting residents. A blunt, combative journalist and columnist for local media (some assuredly call him a gadfly and cynic), he currently writes for The Washington Examiner and Washingtonian magazine. His specialties are the D.C. government, crime and the local media itself (he writes a column on The Washington Post called “Post Watch”). Jaffe is currently known for his prolific stories and columns on crime and the DC police.
Along with WRC-TV reporter Tom Sherwood, Jaffe co-authored Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, D.C. in 1994. As Washingtonian describes it, the book “remains the definitive tale of Marion Barry’s rise and fall, from 1965 to 1994.” You really should read it.
Here’s Jaffe in his own words: he talks about moving to Borderstan, the journalism business and some of his colleagues in the media — and Marion Barry, too.
Borderstan: Housekeeping chores! Thanks for agreeing to be on the ‘other’ side of the desk, Harry! Let’s start with the basics: what brought you to D.C. and when?
Jaffe: I arrived here in 1978 to work as a press secretary for Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. I lasted less than a year on the “flak” side of the news game before I switched to States News Service and then a host of news outlets, including Regardie’s Magazine and then Washingtonian.
Borderstan: What has kept you in D.C. as a journalist?
Jaffe: I have always preferred local reporting rather than covering national politics; it’s more of a contact sport where you write about people and places that you can see and feel. I have been lucky enough to find news outlets in D.C. that will pay me to write about the local scene.
Borderstan: How did you end up in our neighborhood?
Jaffe: Call it a typical story of downsizing: I had raised my three daughters in Chevy Chase, D.C.; once they had moved on to college and such, I was in the market for a smaller homestead. I had lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood back in the early 80’s, but moving back was not an option. Way too expensive. So my wife and I searched for a neighborhood where we could walk to stores and bars, which had bike lanes, where the architecture was genuine. Then she found a great place at a good price.
The Washington Examiner ran a short profile on photographer and Borderstan co-founder/co-editor Luis Gomez yesterday in one of its “3-minute interview” pieces. In addition to providing news, photos and design work to this blog, Gomez has two blogs of his own: One Photograph A Day, where posts photos of DC; and If She Only Had Thumbs, which chronicles the life of Lupe the dog.
Did the crime rate in DC go up or down in 2008 compared to 2007? If you use the DC MPD’s crime stats, the answer is “down.” If you use the numbers compiled by the FBI–based on information submitted to them by MPD–then the answer is “up.”