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Questions about Seattle

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by Liz G, May 17, 2013.

  1. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    Ok, I know this is a bit off topic, but being a Tesla owner I'd like to get the opinion of other Tesla owners on Seattle. The situation is simple. My husband is interviewing with Amazon in Seattle and likely to get the position. But I would like to know what it's like to live in Seattle. Does anyone know if Amazon has charging stations there? How are the commutes? Are there areas to avoid when house shopping? The works. And most importantly, how often does the Tesla club meet. :smile:

    Thanks in advance.
    Liz
     
  2. kunal

    kunal Member

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    What type of area are you looking to live in? Looking to live close to Amazon (namely in the city of Seattle), or outside the city and commute into the city? I've lived near Amazon (in Seattle) for 6 years and now live in Bellevue, also grew up in the Seattle area. As for places to avoid or to live, it really depends on your budget and what type of area you want (have a family or not, want city life vs. suburban life).

    Amazon does have charging stations close by, and the Tesla service and sales center is only 1-2 blocks away from Amazon (in South Lake Union).

    Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

    Kunal
     
  3. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    I don't think my husband could handle living in the city. He's from Upper Michigan and likes a bit of space. Also, my son will be graduating high school next year, so a good high school but school district is not that big a deal as I don't think it would make that big of a difference in his last year. So a house in a safe neighborhood not too long of a commute. I know my husband has been looking at waterfront property, though outside of flood insurance I'm not sure if there are other things we should worry about with waterfront property. We know we will need a 3 car garage as we currently have 4 cars and 2 motorcycles though we will be downsizing to 3 cars once my husband gets his Tesla.

    That's about it. Glad that Amazon has chargers and that the Tesla store is nearby. So at minimum he can charge at work until we get the housing situation settled and a plug installed at home.

    So there is a Tesla club in Seattle right?
     
  4. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Yes, their is a Tesla club, it is [email protected], request access here: Google Groups

    And you'll want to look for a place off of I-90 (might be a toll coming in a year or two) or south/north on I-5 based on your current info. Off of 520 you'll need to pay a toll.

    If you have 1M+ and want waterfront, Mercer Island is nice. Or a bit further is Lake Sammamish, or further yet is Ames Lake. The other waterfront is Sound facing or very dense urban, but also much closer to work!
     
  5. eAdopter

    eAdopter Member

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    I think budget is the first thing to consider. Waterfront with a three car garage is going to mean a large house on Lake Washington or Lake Samammish - fixers in that category are $1.5M and go up steeply from there.

    For someone in your situation, I suggest renting for a few months while you learn more about the neighborhoods. Renting a home near I-90 in Bellevue will provide many commute options. Bellevue also has some of the highest rated high schools in the country. As I recall, all four high schools are in the national Top 100.

    Also, a word about Amazon since I've know many people who have worked there (notice the past tense). The hours are brutal. Personally, I wouldn't buy a house thinking Amazon will work out until you've worked there for a few months. Many high-tech workers, myself included, work or live on "the Eastside" meaning east of Lake Washington (Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland). I'm not saying Amazon is bad, but it's not for everyone. High-tech opportunities are very good here.

    Commutes can be very long and expensive if you choose to live away from where you work. Avoid ALL north/south commutes on I-5 and I-405. Check the local traffic maps every day for a week or two and you'll see the hotspots. You'll probably notice the I-90 bridge is not great, but better than many other commutes.

    Parking near Amazon is expensive or non-existant. Workers are highly encouraged to use the bus, walk, or bike (which I think sucks when it rains).

    Pick the right neighborhood for a bridge commute going east/west. The 520 bridge has an expensive, rising toll. The I-90 bridge is currently free but not expected to stay that way much longer. Again, don't cross a bridge unless it's necessary. I've lived here more than 40 years and traffic only gets worse.

    Also, be aware of a new transit train between Seattle and Bellevue. It's not built yet, but should be available in a few years. Living near the train line could be a very good option. Personally, I like Bellevue a lot. But again, it's not for everyone. Some people like the "grittiness" of Seattle.

    Good luck with your move. It sounds exciting.
     
  6. v12 to 12v

    v12 to 12v Active Member

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    I live on what they call the "Eastside" because I can't handle living in the city either. Not too long ago, hardly anyone lived in Seattle except in the older neighborhoods that used to be suburbs. Seattle was just a place to go to work and shop. The suburbs moved North, South and East. "The Eastside" is everything east of Lake Washington and Mercer Island. No bad neighborhoods on the Eastside really. North and South suburbs are more densely populated and lie along I-5.

    The commutes are tough because you are limited to a couple bridges out of Seattle or driving around Lake WA. The drive to Seattle (the reverse commute) is easier than the commute out towards Redmond and Bellevue from Seattle. You get more for your $ on the Eastside than in Seattle. The Bellevue School District was named one of the top public schools in the country. Bellevue is getting quite dense now though until you get further east. Lake Washington School District isn't a slouch either. Bellevue is the center of the Eastside and between I-90 and Hwy 520 bridges that cross Lake Washington. The Tesla Store is in Bellevue and they are adding a Tesla service center too. Other Eastside Cities include Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Woodinville, Samammish and a few other communities. All good.

    Waterfront is expensive. When it isn't, then its time to ask questions. (Leases, shoreline restrictions, flood plain, etc.) Major lakes are not a concern when it comes to floods. Waterfront on the saltwater isn't much of a concern either. The concern there is slides. Geotech study is prudent. It's the rivers that flood. It is a very hilly and mountainous area and river floods stay more contained here than other areas of the country until you get way north or south of the Seattle area. The Snoqualmie Valley has flood issues. If you are used to brick houses you have to keep in mind that we have earthquake concerns here and that one of the reasons why there are fewer brick homes. Earthquake insurance is pricey but moves to outrageous when one considers brick. Our wood houses flex pretty well.

    There is also the option of commuting by ferry to Seattle if you really enjoy a more laid back lifestyle at home with smaller communities. Bainbridge Island is the easiest ferry commute. Vashon Island is a bit tougher but I know lots of folks who do it for the small town, rural feel.

    I haven't been very active in any Tesla Club activities here. Too busy with the boating clubs! :wink:

    Welcome to the neighborhood.
     
  7. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Regardless of what you may have seen on Disclosure and Grey's Anatomy... it's not exactly fun to live on Bainbridge Island and take a ferry into work every day. Gets old quickly.

    Also, if you drive a Model S, do you really want to have her just sit in a ferry for an hour every day?

    I prefer the eastside as well. 15 minutes to Seattle without traffic, and 30 minutes to the mountains. I however don't have to put up with an in-traffic commute every day over the I90 or 520. If I did I may have felt differently.
     
  8. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    Don't limit yourself to lakes. There's also the shoreline from West Seattle to Federal Way, with commutes from 30-45 minutes.
     
  9. v12 to 12v

    v12 to 12v Active Member

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  10. kunal

    kunal Member

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    I agree with everyone that rent a place first. You don't want to settle on an area you don't like. If you go out to the suburbs (specifically South), you can get some amazing houses and land for not much money (a friend is selling their 9,000 sq ft house on 5 acres, with a total of about 3 million invested for 1.6 million).

    Also a note on waterfront, if you are looking for a house on Lake Washington they start at 1.5m for a tear down (unless you want no land and are looking for a lot about 5,000 sq ft).
     
  11. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    Earthquakes. Hadn't thought about that one.

    Thanks for all the advice. Sounds like the commutes aren't much worse than St Louis. No bridges here but very few highways in to downtown.
     
  12. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Don't underestimate Seattle traffic. Its often features in 10-ten worst traffic in nation lists. E.g.
    Worst traffic cities of 2010 - chicagotribune.com

    Our highway system didn't anticipate the rise of the tech industry on the east side, and the lakes makes it expensive to change now. But we just started to. Its a good thing... but for now you have to add construction to your traffic woes.

    And for extra fun, we just started digging a tunnel through all of downtown Seattle, which will take years to complete - and we all know how painful that was to Boston during the big dig.

    I love Seattle and wouldn't want to live anywhere else - but traffic is definitely a major factor here when it comes to housing choices and even just planning day to day activities.
     
  13. Seattle

    Seattle Member

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    Most people in the Seattle tech world have done some switching between Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. You should probably consider the other two if you are looking at Seattle and there are many many other places to work. No company is perfect of course.

    Probably the best place for a house and working at South Lake Union Amazon based on what you described would be the "east side", that has an I-90 bridge commute, not too bad a traffic. Maybe Issaquah or Sammamish or Bellevue lakefront. I have a friend from St. Louis and when he goes home he talks about how light the traffic is, how cheap the housing is :)
     
  14. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    Yeah. Housing is a bit more expensive there vs here in St. Louis. Luckily we don't need a big house, just a big garage. Based on what you all have said, I think we'll check out the east side. Hopefully, we can find a nice place to rent until we can find some place permanent.

    Thanks again for all the info.
     
  15. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Are 21" summer Contis ok for Seattle winter? I would think not or would you recommend second set of all seasons or just go ahead and get winter tires for added safety. Thanks.
     
  16. kunal

    kunal Member

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    I haven't driven the Model S in the Winter yet, but during Spring and in the rain the Summer Michelins were fine. Will find out this winter if I need to swap out to some winter tires.
     
  17. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    Hi Dsm, my wife and I received our Model S November 2nd and drove it through our winter season here in Seattle. The car has the 21" summer Contis and the car did great. No problem with handling, even in some of the big rain downpours we have that leave standing pools of water on the freeway. Didn't get any feeling of hydroplaning with them.

    We didn't have any snow to speak of in the Seattle area this past winter, so I can't comment on the snow handling, but typically we don't get that much snow in our area. I assume with the traction control the Model S has, it would do fairly well in the snow, even with the Contis.

    I'll put it this way, I'm not going to buy any winter tires for our Model S and plan on driving it even in the snow on the 'summer' tires.
     
  18. goneskiian

    goneskiian Active Member

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    No offense but driving on any summer tire in the snow is just asking for trouble. Please, for the sake of the rest of the drivers on the roads, get some good all seasons or winter tires for when it snows so you don't cause a collision or get stuck on a hill and block up traffic.

    Yes, you can get away with driving the summer tires in all but the 2 weeks of snow (max) we get here in the winter. Actually, summer tires are usually the best tires for the wet too. They are out of their element when the temps drop below 40 or so though.

    If you choose to skip the snow/all seasons for winter have a back up plan for when it does snow. Like stay home to telecommute or have a coworker give you a ride. If you plan on going up over the passes to ski or travel East during the winter you'll definitely want snow tires. I saw an S up at Alpental this winter but it was on the all season 19" tires.

    Why is it good to have snow tires? Because it will often snow midday here so you could get to work and then find you've got 5 inches of snow with frozen streets to great your commute home. Then again, at that point the roads are going to be a parking lot anyway so there is that.

    Anyway, if you can afford this car, you can afford to put proper tires on it for the weather. There is nothing more important for traction than the tires you've got on.

    Cheers!
     
  19. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    To be fair, it doesn't 'often' snow here (close to sea level on Eastside/Seattle). North Bend, higher elevations or further inland is another story. But when it does it will tend to start midday. In the past 8 years we've seen a handful of occasions where you'd be stuck without all-season tires (>4" of snow and/or ice). A buddy got stuck on NE 50th (flat road) with sticky summer tires on his Infiniti FX who now drives an FJ ;)
     
  20. EVNow

    EVNow Active Member

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    We moved from St Louis to Seattle a few years back. We rented a townhome in Bellevue - since I didn't know where I'd work. Commute to downtown isn't too bad from there - similar to working in St Louis downtown and living in one of the western suburbs. Then, you can look for the right place to buy a house. Before coming here I was thinking of getting a house in Renton - but once we were here, we figured it was better to buy on the eastside.
     

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