Dear PoPville – How is the Neighborhood around Rhode Island Ave Metro?

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“Dear PoPville,

I’ve been looking at rentals near the Rhode Island Avenue metro stop to move around August and was wondering if anyone in PoPville had any insight in the neighborhood. I’m a gay white man and don’t want to be the target of any wrong-doers.

I’ve been there a couple of times and I know it’s a bit “rough around the edges” but it seems not really different than other neighborhoods like Truxton, Bloomingdale, or parts of Shaw. The biggest factor for me looking there is the price – less than $2000/month for a 3 bedroom renovated house less than 2 blocks to Metro is very appealing, whereas a similar house in NW might be upwards of $3000/month. There’s also a lot of budget-minded retail nearby and two grocery stores. I’ll also be moving in with my female roommate, so her safety is also a big concern of mine.”

75 Comment

  • Decreasingly stabby with lingering mugginess.

    But seriously – if you check the police reports, walking along RI Ave at night doesn’t seem to be the best idea. There seem to be a mugging or two a week.

    I live in Brookland and my feeling is that the blocks north of RI are a little safer than those south of RI.

    However, look at all of the construction at the metro! The new apartments are supposed to start move ins in October, I think.

    I feel like change is coming.

  • Proximity to Mr. P’s is a plus.

  • it’s MUCH different than truxton, bloomingdale, and shaw.
    and you need to be more clear about where. west of the metro is not so nice, until you get to the top of the hill in eckington. avoid edgewood. north of the metro is much nicer. east of the metro is a bit of a mess, until you get to langdon, but thats a bit of a hike to the metro.

  • I know a young couple who have lived there for a couple years, love it, and have had absolutely no problems with crime. I run through it occasionally–it’s a little gritty, sure, but it’s a surprisingly quiet part of town.

    whenever I see that terrifyingly massive housing project over there, I always reflect on how I DON’T hear horror stories about that place. seems more or less under control.

    that said, I personally wouldn’t want to live there because it’s not convenient to anywhere I myself regularly go, but if that’s not a concern then it’s definitely worth a look.

  • Doesn’t the bike path where kids are assaulting people run through there?

  • Kinda related —

    What’s up with the metro development? It looks some of it has slowed down or stopped completely – at least the building directly abutting RI ave.

    (I’m not there but once a week or two, so this is just my impression.)

    • There are people out there working on the site pretty much every time I go to and from the Metro (daily commute). There’s a bunch of siding up no one of the buildings and most have windows now. I think I read end of 2011 as an end date, but who knows.

    • no, it’s still moving forward. i think it’s still slated to be done by october or so.

  • That neighborhood WILL be very awesome pretty soon. The trouble is, that won’t happen until those condos are finished. I’d be curious to see what crime reports are around there because it does not get much, if any, late night foot traffic.

    Everyone told me I was nuts when I moved to Bloomingdale 10 years ago (when it was still an open-air drug market controlled by gangs and shootouts where commonplace), but I knew that being so close to U St and having such cool architecture, it would finally come around (plus with off-street parking and an alarm system, I had a false sense of security that was enough to keep me happy).

    The other part to that story is that despite living in a beautiful neighborhood, you couldn’t really walk anywhere because it was so dangerous at all hours of the day.

    So I guess it comes down to what you’re looking for. Do you want a bigger place so you can have guests and entertain or are you just interested in having the breathing room for a better price. Because, at the end of the day, there is something to be said about the basic human need of feeling comfortable walking outside your house whenever you want to.

    • ” that won’t happen until those condos are finished. ”

      why are we always so sure about this? I mean, Columbia Heights’s crime rate doesn’t seem to have changed that much since the money came in. I’ve been here for 13 years, but please tell me if I’m wrong…

      • What does any of this have to do with Bloomingdale, anyway? I thought the poster compared RI Ave to Columbia Heights, which seems to be a thoughtful question. As for RI Ave., I agree with the skeptics that it will take some time for this neighborhood to change. Columbia Heights is a decent example of what to expect when a neighborhood gets gentrified. It’s not a straight line to prosperity and safety.

    • yes, but did you buy in bloomingdale? if you came to bloomingdale 10 years ago to rent, yeah, you were kind of nuts. ( i bought in bloomingdale 10 years ago too)
      i wouldn’t rent around the RIA metro, but i would buy around there.

      • That’s funny… I lived in Bloomingdale for 8 years (2002-2010) and really didn’t see much change in that time. The drug dealing became a little less obvious, but it still felt unsafe to walk alone after dark. One reason why I left…

        • strange. it feels VERY different to me. you saw lots of changes though. windows becoming a coffee shop. big bear. the renovation of the building that rustik is in. the providence condos. the seaton condos. the madison condos. the gage school. crispus attucks becoming a nice place. the opeing of the new york ave metro. the closing of big bear market and the junque store. the motorcycle gang and chops shops on rhode island ave.

          it’s such a different place now.

    • Have to disagree with the certainty here — the neighborhood “WILL be awesome” bit. The only thing that is certain is change, but it won’t have a direction. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people talk about neighborhoods in which one single development is going to make everything better. BS. Particularly when you’re talking about in-fill development, which those condos are, you’re not removing one bad element from the neighborhood and replacing it with something better. You’re just adding people, typically of a different demographic, and hoping that the community sorts itself out around that new mix such that everybody’s happy. Having lived through CH’s development, I certainly think in many ways it is better, but development is not some magic elixir that all of the sudden stops whatever drugs, thuggery, assaults, mayhem, etc. that were in a neighborhood before it gets something new and shiny. Just look at the crime in CH (for my money, the city’s most-changed neighborhood in the past decade in terms of development) that seems as bad today as it was in 2003. It just doesn’t work that way, and yet I think way too many people in the District hold the unrealistic expectation that they’ll be living in their suburban hometown in just a few more months or years once something new comes in.

      Change? Definitely. Improvement? We’ll see. Perfection? Almost certainly not.

    • last time i checked, gangs and shootings are still commonplace in bloomingdale. to each their own, though.

  • One of the big hot spots for violance is the area north of RI west of the railroad tracks (along 4th st north of RI). If you are south of RI to the west of the tracks or anywhere east of the railroad tracks you should be fine.

  • As a gay white male in eckington, I have really liked that area, even since I moved in 2003. it was just me & my partner on our block i thought but turns out on the same block and several around us theres lots of “family”. Its way convenient to stores and elsewher in the city, and we all havent had any issues (about being gay) living in the area, not far from the RI metro. We do progressive dinners and all stumble home. Better than driving to dupont..

  • We bought a house approximately 4-5 blocks north of the RI metro about a year ago and have loved living in the area. Agree that I would stick to rentals north and east of the metro when possible.

    Although there is certainly crime, I have yet to be a victim (knock on wood), and I think if you use common sense you will be fine (i.e. avoid walking alone too late at night, don’t walk talking on phone or listening to music too loud, generally be aware of your surroundings).

    I commute to Dupont daily from the RI stop, and when the weather is nice even walk the 3 miles downtown along RI and have yet to have any issues.

    So far we are loving the Brookland neighborhood. We could actually afford a real house, be close to metro, and almost feel like we’re living outside of DC while still having access to things we like to do in the city.

    • I bought in Brookland 2 years ago, but in the area around 18th and Monroe. I have enjoyed living there.

      I would generally agree, the areas immediately around the RI metro are not the best, but I’ve never had a problem. But I generally use the Brookland metro. The hotspots are the Edgewood Terrace projects, and the yellow painted brick ones around 13th and RI Ave. Most of the crime seems to center around those developments.

      I use the bike trail to run on pretty often and have not had any problems. I also my motorcycle all over that area and have never had a problem.

      I kind of like the rough around the edges feel of this area. Reminds you that it’s not upper NW. And Brookland is a pretty safe middle class neighborhood with really nice neighbors.

      Just my experience.

      • Hey I live at 18th and Newton and everything you say about Brookland is right on.
        As for the RI area, that 4th street run next to the shopping mall where Mr. P’s is is not a good spot, either.

  • As a CUA grad of about 10 years ago, I am thrilled and delighted that this area is turning around. We used to get hassled at the Un”Safeway” all the time and would never venture that way at night. I only go to the Home Depot now in that area so I am sorry I can’t give advice. No problems going to and fro the home depot, for what it is worth.

  • You’ll never move back to NW once you come to NE. It’s great over here, for serious.

    • +1. Never looked back.

    • Unless you ever plan to procreate

    • people wear their NE badge like all of us wear our DC badge.

      it’s a beat on ridiculed place that those who live there love. theres a weird pride in loving a place that others knock.
      but when it comes down to it, theres good and bad wherever you live.

      • Well there’s good and bad in everyone.
        We learn to live when we learn to give each what we need to survive. Together. Alive.

        Ebony and Ivory, live together in perfect harmony.
        Side by side on my piano, keyboard, Oh Lord!!! Why don’t we?

  • My wife and I live in Edgewood (3rd and Bryant) and we love it. My wife metros to and from work and often walks home from RI Ave at night, and I bike to and from work on the MBT, and neither of us has had any problems with crime. Edgewood itself is very quiet, much quieter than our last apartments at Dupont and Eastern Market.

    Don’t know whether north or east of RI Ave metro is “safer,” but it is certainly further away from U Street, the Hill, H Street, etc., and one of the reasons we like living where we are is the proximity to these areas.

    (Oh, and for what it’s worth, we’re white and late twenties.)

    • I used to live at 3rd and Bryant too and I loved it. When did you move in?

    • you are delusional.

      “talking your book” as they say

      you LOVE it?

      well, what would you say if you lived at 14th and Rhode Island? that you LURVE IT DEATH?

      seriously, say what you mean which is, it is tolerable for the price and I wish I was wealthier.

      • Speaking of which, I’m often annoyed at the fact that I can’t have several scantily clad servants feeding me peeled grapes whilst I laze about my palace. How do I go on without such amenities, you ask? Well, it takes a lot of internal fortitude and willpower to not take a nosedive off the Wilson bridge every day. I guess you could say I manage — but don’t call me a hero. You, my friend, are the *real* hero.

      • Ain’t no one’s fault but yer own u bought in Olney. Ouch!

      • it that what you mean when you say you love you boyfriend?

  • I too am a CUA grad from about 10 years ago, and remember taking the metro 1 stop, crawling under a broken chainlink fence and hopping over the railroad tracks to get to the “rape-way” for groceries. It was pretty rough back then, and seems to be somewhat better now. Brookland has been discovered already, but south of brookland, north or RI Ave is gold…

    If I were you, would definitely buy over there. Now is the time. It will be an investment, and you won’t be sorry in the longterm.

  • please note people that the OP is talking about RENTING. not buying.

  • One of the upsides to areas like Bloomingdale, Eckington and Brookland is that they are starting to feel like what they are — center points in the city — rather than someplace on the edge of NW. This will feel increasingly the case as H Street takes off. Whereas it seemed like a hassle getting from Bloomingdale west, it’s going to feel like a hassle to get from Dupont east. btw, did ya’ll see that the Flatiron Condos are sold out already?

  • Rough son…don’t do it!

  • It’s bound to be a lot more like Rhode Island in a few years.

  • Don’t count on it. My reply is no. My sources say no. Outlook not so good. Very doubtful.

    There is a reason it is less money.

    I, a female person, definitely get more graphic catcalls in this area. And just more in general. This may also be a concern for the poster, not just the roommate.

    The developers definitely have a “If we build it, they will come” attitude. It might work out for the neighborhood in the very long term. But right now it’s just not there.

    Traffic is insane on Sundays here because of that big church. People just jaywalk across RI ave for about an hour.

    I have seen the day laborers hanging out by home depot responding to nature’s calls. I know they might not have a lot of other options but gross.

    Go to the Giant on a Sunday and walk around. These are your potential neighbors. Check it out for yourself

  • I just moved into brookland and what I seemed to have noticed as you get within about 2 blocks of Rhode Island avenue things get less nice. That being said I woudln’t recommend against living there especially if you are renting.

    While different sides of the track have a different vibes, on the 4th I meandered from Franklin St to McKinnly High School. Granted this isn’t the best time to get a feel a neighborhood, but I wouldn’t have major concerns about living there.

  • Not a thing like Truxton Circle.
    For one the TC is majority townhome/rowhouses. Over near the RI metro I spy lots of unattached bungelows. There are rowhouses west of the station. Also the station area is surrounded by a lot of commerical/industrial buildings. TC, lacking an actual station and huge swaths of parking lots, is more residential and as my niece says, ‘smooched’. There are probably more parking spaces near RI station than there are houses in TC.

  • Just a FYI – There are up to an average of 5 cars a week stolen from the Home Depot/Giant/RI Metro Station Lots. This was reported just last week.
    That may be an indication, though I do have friends that live in the area (2nd and 3rd @ V Street NE, that just live carefully.

  • As a life long black DC resident who worked on Reed street (side street where the Big blue building is) I would never move there! That bridge and underpass is a crime trap.

  • I’ve owned my condo near 4th and V ST NE since 2006, and haven’t had any problems. I’ve watched the hood transform, and for the better, and it is only getting better. Like anywhere in the city, you learn where to go and not to go, the best options for walking to the Metro and when to take the bus. The P6 is a really great option– takes 15 mins from 4th and V to Metro Center on average. I’ve walked to Brookland and to U street during the day. Like any neighborhood, it has its good and bad. My tenant for the last year has had no problems and if they weren’t moving to Europe would stay another year.

  • I live in Eckington and the area down the way of the RI Ave Metro sort of connects to the epicenter of problems in my neighborhood (east of Lincoln north of Mckinley all the way to the MBT). 3rd-5th streets are pretty uncomfortable, and, while I do think its changing, I never walk that direction. Driving through this area draws all kinds of empty/angry stares from teens and young adults. I like South and West Eckington, as well as Bloomingdale, but the portion of my neighborhood that is closest to RI Avenue Metro is dicey. I would say the same thing about Edgewood. There are nicer parts, but the parts closest to the metro are the worst.

  • Touch and go. I would definitely buy in Edgewood if I had any money left. I wonder if you could rent for that price in a better spot. That said i did live one summer at 4th & Todd in 1998 and if y’all think the RIA i sketchy now, you should have been here when.

    • i knew that area then. daaaaaaamn. would not wanted to have lived there.
      also, 3 members of the todd street gang are on trial right now for murder.

  • FWIW I rent out a 3 bed in Eckington (near n Cap) for $2100, so I would expect a lower price up in Edgewood. I say rent if you can find a decent 3 bed for $1800 or less.

    • did you miss your chance to buy in the hood you’ve been living for 12 years? damn that sucks.

  • To the OC: don’t do it! Alot of that new housing, which many posters beleive will save the ‘hood, is low income. The area around the metro is nothing like Eckington or TC. Better to rent a smaller place in a better area.

    • You are incorrect. One of the buildings is low-income, the rest are market rate.

      Dont talk about things you have no information on.

      • The rest have a certain % that is low income. Check your facts.

        • No it’s not. I can think of at least 4 buildings with over 1000 condos or apartments that are currently being built or renovated that have 0 mixed income allowances… They are all market rate and going into eckington or ri ave metro area near the mbt. There is one low income bldg in eckington but it’s filled with the employed. Stop acting like a ton of projects are coming in or something.

      • you both said the same thing but with different words.

        • Right, so does every new development in DC. They all have to provide a certain number of “workforce” units.

  • I live north and east of RI Ave metro. I use the Brookland metro station, sometimes hopping the G8 when I’m feeling lazy. I often use the met branch trail as well. I think the area is great. It’s kinda sleepy and we miss being able to walk everywhere from Shaw. Neither my wife nor I have had any trouble with crime, and we really enjoy having a big yard for the dogs.

    The area in north eckington or brentwood might be a nice place to buy and speculate that the vibe gets better. But if I were renting for that money and liked the area, I would try to rent closer to the Brookland metro or down closer to the Harry Thomas Sr. pool. RI Ave itself is pretty blighted running through this part of town. That AA club across the street from the metro attracts a sketchy crowd of loiterers at all times of day. Hopefully the development will brighten the mood in the area once it is built out, but that doesn’t do a lot for you if you’re renting.

    To the earlier poster at 18th and Monroe: howdy neighbor!

  • I was robbed in adams morgan…guess it dosnt matter where u live…

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