Reviews & Comments
Fairfax, VAPoor Quality Housing; Nightmarish Highway System
Living in Fairfax, or any of the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC, means dealing with highways that are a Gordian knot of converging lanes and overpasses, making long commutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic even more of a nightmare. Rte 66 into Washington, DC, is a parking lot during rush hour, and in both directions. If you buy a home near your place of employment, know that in a right-to-work (i.e. non-union) state, housing is often built by unskilled labor. Before you buy, check that the kitchen cabinets are level, the doorways square, the fireplace operable, etc. In a subdivision of large homes selling for (base price) $800,000 new in 2005, I saw roofs starting to be replaced after 3 years, windows replaced, flashing missing. When the driveway of my own house started sinking I had the macadam replaced and found no gravel bed under the original drive. Poor housing construction is a serious issue in Fairfax County and in all of Northern Virginia, even in expensive homes. That also applies to contractors hired to make repairs. Good luck.
Washington, DCDay to Day Life is Stressful
I've lived in and around the District for 40 years and have watched it become increasingly congested and stressful. Commutes are a nightmare made worse by the rise of high toll "Easy Pass" lanes for the wealthy and those whose employers will pay for it. The large immigrant population means dealing with a lot of people who learned to drive from wherever they came. I see 2 or 3 serious smashups every week caused by high speed and dangerous driving (swooping across 3 lanes, near constant tailgating). Instead of putting more highway patrols on the roads they try to control it with cameras (mail you a ticket), which doesn't work. Those forced onto the subway system face high fares for a system that frequently breaks down. When I lived in the Virginia suburbs, round trip to take my 4 grandchildren downtown to the museums would run more than $60. Living or driving downtown means dealing with a grid that runs N/S, E/W cut by NE/SW, NW/SE diagonals; it's the only city where continuing to turn right will not bring you back to the same place. Add to that the two-way streets that are one-way during rush hour, the confusing signage, tour buses, bicyclists zooming between cars, and frequent street blockages for politicians driving across town with police escorts. The cost of housing is high, even in the edgier neighborhoods. My husband works for the federal government, which is why we are here. When he retires next year, we are moving back to the Southwest.