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05-16-2009 11:24 AM
Check out West Seattle Blog to get a feel for the neighborhood... there's definitely more crime in the Highland Park/Delridge/White Center area then in West Seattle proper (the Junction, Alki, Admiral). There is definitely more gang activity in those areas as well. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is spinning things (some like to point to stats for all of WS as proof that HP/Del/WS are fine, when the stats for those 'hoods are different then for WS as a whole).
It IS well priced compared to the rest of the city- though, I still think it's way overpriced for what it is (kind of reminds me of the CD, only not as close to the city). Drive around the area you're interested in, for several blocks in all directions, get a feel for it- and then do the same on a Saturday night. I lived on Delridge for two weeks, and I've lived near the Junction for almost 5 years... there's a huge difference between the two. At the time we were on Delridge, there weren't any (local) pizza places that would deliver to us (just Domino's, ick)- that might be different now, but in hindsight I should have taken it as a sign ;-) HP is a little better then Delridge but they are so close to each other the effective difference is minimal. Depending on where you live in the U-District, you might not think it's so bad, though. The West Precinct should be able to give you firm stats on the areas you're interested in.
If you are looking at using 99 to get to work, please be aware of the issues with replacing the viaduct- it could make commuting from WS to the north end extremely unpleasant in the near future. There is no good way to get from here to the I-5 North express lanes- you have to drive into the city and get on there, and the traffic is rough. This is one factor for us in looking to move out of WS- we love our neighborhood, but we don't want to be stuck here when the viaduct project begins.
That said, there are some great people in Highland Park, a lot of families and first time buyers have found their way there because it's less expensive then the rest of West Seattle. Many of them are becoming active in building community, starting block watches, etc. But then, there is also the contrast of long-time residents who aren't exactly thrilled about the influx. It's definitely a transitional neighborhod right now, with the issues a transitional neighborhood inevitably faces. Definitely check out WSB and do a search for Highland Park and see what the people who live there have to say about their part of town.
05-16-2009 01:51 PM
As I've lived and owned homes in both areas--Highland Park and the Delridge neighborhood (as well as Ballard, the University District and Capitol Hill)--I thought I'd chime in. Anyway, I don't think you can lump all three neighborhoods (HP, Delridge, White Center) into one. The demographics and neighborhoods are different. Of course, it depends on where you are but Highland Park, on the whole, is a wonderful, quiet and safe neighborhood--especially east of 9th ave sw. If you are looking for nightlife or lots of places to go out to eat, then the Junction or Admiral it's not. There are lots of families (both newly and already established) living in the area and there's a great dog park/park with running trails nearby. With the exception of my car being broken into once (and I suspect it was some neighborhood kids), crime was never an issue. I don't think I would call it transitional by any means. Living in Delridge from 1999-2004 is what I would call transitional--due to crime (a gas station attendant was shot, a neighbor's house was broken into), the changing face of Delridge Way proper and seeing an influx of younger residents move in...I think the neighborhood has become more established since then due to community resources such as the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association. With that being said, as I'm looking to move back to Seattle (where I grew up and lived almost 30 years), I would not consider moving back to Delridge, I would consider Highland Park.
While I disagree with most of SeattleMama's points regarding crime/the CD comparison/the lumping together of neighborhoods, I do agree with driving (and walking) around the areas you're interested in--at various times/days. And regarding the commute, yes it's easy to drive from HP to the U-District, either on 99, or I-5 (where you can hop onto after going over the 1st AVE S bridge and then crossing over onto S. Michigan). I'm pretty sure from that point of entry, you can then catch the express lanes north easily. There are also other routes you can take as well. Good luck with your search. I hope this helps!
05-16-2009 03:25 PM
Nemo, how long have you been gone, and have you been back recently for any period of time? I'm not trying to argue, I've just been here in Seattle for the last 10 years (5 of them in the Junction area, but I'm all over the WS penninsula, drive through Del and HP every day on my way to 509) and it sounds like you've lived outside of the area for the last few years.
Everyone has a different idea of what a 'safe' neighborhood is. The OP simply needs to get the crime stats (neighborhood-specific ones- because if there was no difference in crime between WS 'hoods, HP would be just as expensive as the rest of WS but its not) AND walk the 'hood at night on a weekend, and decide if the area will work for her. Heck, call your insurance co and ask them how much homeowners/renters insurance would be if you moved to that area, to give you an idea of how many people are filing claims for losses due to crime. Usually it IS 'neighborhood kids' that prowl cars- every criminal has to start somewhere, right?
If she's coming from a part of the North End near the Ave, Cowen Park, Lake City (where my car got looted once in 3 years), or anywhere near 99, she might be comfortable with HP. If she's coming from areas closer to Maple Leaf, Wedgewood, Sand Point, etc, then she might not. We moved from Lake City to Delridge, and I didn't feel safe home alone with my 1yo- so we actually broke our lease to be able to move. HP was still too close to Delridge for my comfort, so we didn't even look there- but you can check the stats for yourself, and see what you think. A lot of minor crimes and car prowls don't even get reported, the SPD has bigger issues to worry about and is often slow to respond- again, check out WSB for stories from people who live there.
FWIW, we've never had a car break-in where we live now, and more then once I've forgotten to close our garage doors (once during the holidays even- and I was stashing gifts down there!) and we've NEVER been stolen from. I just don't think you could do that in HP (or most 'hoods, for that matter), and find everything where you left it in the AM. That's what I'm talking about when I say that those parts of WS are SO different then the main part of the WS penninsula. Some areas are really nice, really safe neighborhoods- and some, well...
One thing I've noticed is that HP residents are quick to point out that they are NOT like Delridge or White Center... BUT those are the 'hoods that border HP- and it's not like there's a wall around it keeping troublemakers out. You walk a few blocks and HP becomes Delridge, walk a few blocks the other way and it becomes WC. Personally, I think part of the "oh, HP isn't like the surrounding 'hoods" mentality that some have, is that HP was WAY overpriced during the peak- so I think people talk it up because they don't want to lose any more value in their homes. I hear what my friends have paid for their houses there, and it amazes me. But then, I'll choose a small house in a good 'hood over a big house in a lesser one any day of the week.
So yeah... I wouldn't buy in an "OK" neighborhood flanked by two "not-so-OK" ones, but you guys might feel differently then I do, and that's okay. I'd much rather the OP be thinking "this is actually pretty nice" instead of "why did they talk this place up, it's not nice at all", KWIM? There might be good deals to be had in HP, but you need to be fully informed to be able to decide how "good" a deal you're really getting.
Hope that clarifies things! Good luck with your search