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  1. #1
    BBQ KING is offline Senior Member
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    Default Get me started on my burb move

    I think all of the below is available on line,

    but I know this forum can address my questions more quickly and interestingly than .gov web sites. Some of the info is a little tricky to find. Trying to get a sense of the inner mainline area. Think we don't want to go as far as Ardmore as each of us has to go to an office in Center city or Navy Yard and don't want a longer commute.

    1) Among the inner Mainline towns (Bala cynwyd, Narberth, Wynwood, Merion station, am I missing one?) do any or all of them have a local "wage tax"? If so, the rate?
    Wife and I both are paying wage tax in Philly at ~4% but are both technically work from home so we could avoid it in the burbs.

    2) From Great Schools all the elementary schools seem very good (9 or 10). Among the inner towns, am I missing something? Any agreed stand outs or those one might avoid?

    3) Among the above listed towns (or others I am missing), what is the feel of each? We are a youngish (late 30s) family with 2 kids (5 and 8). Would pay the premium for an area where the kids are out and about in their neighborhood or there was stuff to walk to do.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBQ KING View Post
    I think all of the below is available on line,

    but I know this forum can address my questions more quickly and interestingly than .gov web sites. Some of the info is a little tricky to find. Trying to get a sense of the inner mainline area. Think we don't want to go as far as Ardmore as each of us has to go to an office in Center city or Navy Yard and don't want a longer commute.

    1) Among the inner Mainline towns (Bala cynwyd, Narberth, Wynwood, Merion station, am I missing one?) do any or all of them have a local "wage tax"? If so, the rate?
    Wife and I both are paying wage tax in Philly at ~4% but are both technically work from home so we could avoid it in the burbs.

    2) From Great Schools all the elementary schools seem very good (9 or 10). Among the inner towns, am I missing something? Any agreed stand outs or those one might avoid?

    3) Among the above listed towns (or others I am missing), what is the feel of each? We are a youngish (late 30s) family with 2 kids (5 and 8). Would pay the premium for an area where the kids are out and about in their neighborhood or there was stuff to walk to do.

    Thank you
    Bala-Cynwyd, or Bala, or Cynwyd, is not on the Main Line. Ardmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr are. Technically Overbrook is also on the Main Line, but I know that's not what you meant. Every place you mentioned above is in Lower Merion School District. You probably mean Lower Merion Township and not the Main Line. Of the places you mentioned only Narberth is not in Lower Merion, and that's not really true, since it's completely surrounded by LM, so it is sort of technically 'in' LM, and it gave up its school system and sends its kids to LM schools now anyway.

    You should look at Narberth, where the speed limit is 25 and kids (and adults) walk and ride bikes around, to and from the park, etc. You should also expand your search to Wayne, which has a very nice feel. It's on the western end of the Main Line, in Delaware County.

    This past spring I took the train to Merion and walked from there to Ardmore - I recommend you do something like that. It helps give you a feel for the places. Ardmore has some nice things to be said about it. I'm much less of a fan of Wynnewood. I'm also a huge fan of St. David's, not along 30 but closer to the train station. What a gorgeous place. The walk from St. David's to Wayne is extremely pleasant.
    Last edited by billy ross; 12-10-2012 at 06:39 PM.

  3. #3
    56MARKET is offline Member
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    Living on the Main Line can be a great experience in many ways.However,do not be under the illusion that you will be saving any money by doing so.Since both of you will be working in Philadelphia you will still paying the City Wage Tax,though not as much as a resident of the city would be.In addition your commuting expenses will increase dramatically.
    I do not understand ,are you commuting now or ''Technically working at home''?

  4. #4
    Eastcoast is offline Senior Member
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    I always liked Bryn Mawr and the little downtown area and a decent commute into the city.

    I have fond but seriously outdated memories of the town from years ago when I was stepping out with a young lady who lived there.

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    Andy Sharpe is offline Never anonymous
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    Just a note that it's debatable as to what's the Main Line. While I see where Billy is coming from with the Main Line being located around the Keystone Railroad Corridor, I would argue that Overbrook is not the Main Line, but Bala Cynwyd is. I would also argue that the Main Line stretches as far west as Paoli.

    *Can of worms opened*

    With that out of the way, I would recommend Ardmore or Narberth. Both communities are relatively walkable, have great access to SEPTA Regional Rail stations (you can connect to the free Navy Yard shuttle in Center City), have excellent schools in the Lower Merion School District and have great police protection.

    All in all, the eastern Main Line is a great place to live.

  6. #6
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    Overbrook is the first town on the main line and the least desirable. People often forget its part of the main line because of that but its not really debatable at all. The main line does extend to paoli since thats where the commuter rail ended.
    "It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past"
    Jonathan Safran Foer

  7. #7
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    Overbrook is the first town on the main line and the least desirable. People often forget its part of the main line because of that but its not really debatable at all. The main line does extend to paoli since thats where the commuter rail ended.
    Yes, and places not on the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad are not on the Main Line. It's tautological. Bala-Cynwyd, Gladwyne, and Belmont Hills/West Manayunk are not on the Main Line, but they are in Lower Merion Township.

    In the past Overbrook was super-desirable, and Narberth wasn't. Norristown used to be very nice and very powerful, while Conshohocken down the river was a crappy backwater. Times change.

  8. #8
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    I personally like Radnor or even Tredyfferin-Easttown (i.e. Conestoga) over Lower Merion for public schools. All are on the Main Line, or some lengthened version of it. I also like Haverford (Havertown). LM school district has more of a sense that we're already on 3rd base, so we don't need to actually do anything. There was recently a Rhodes Scholar from LM who is presently at Yale. I double checked. He went to an obscure private school. It didn't upset my worldview.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Sharpe View Post
    Just a note that it's debatable as to what's the Main Line. While I see where Billy is coming from with the Main Line being located around the Keystone Railroad Corridor, I would argue that Overbrook is not the Main Line, but Bala Cynwyd is. I would also argue that the Main Line stretches as far west as Paoli.

    *Can of worms opened*

    With that out of the way, I would recommend Ardmore or Narberth. Both communities are relatively walkable, have great access to SEPTA Regional Rail stations (you can connect to the free Navy Yard shuttle in Center City), have excellent schools in the Lower Merion School District and have great police protection.

    All in all, the eastern Main Line is a great place to live.
    Last edited by billy ross; 12-10-2012 at 10:41 PM.

  9. #9
    Andy Sharpe is offline Never anonymous
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    Overbrook is the first town on the main line and the least desirable. People often forget its part of the main line because of that but its not really debatable at all. The main line does extend to paoli since thats where the commuter rail ended.
    Overbrook is not a town, but rather a section of West Philadelphia.

  10. #10
    AsYouWere is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    Yes, and places not on the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad are not on the Main Line. It's tautological. Bala-Cynwyd, Gladwyne, and Belmont Hills/West Manayunk are not on the Main Line, but they are in Lower Merion Township.

    In the past Overbrook was super-desirable, and Narberth wasn't. Norristown used to be very nice and very powerful, while Conshohocken down the river was a crappy backwater. Times change.
    Conshy's upriver btw lol, and it's funny seeing other offline towns like W Conshy trying to latch onto the Mainline brand. Technically the present terminus is Thorndale which is a godforesaken place to find yourself at night unless a TownCar is waiting, being so close to
    Coatesville. Communities on the Main Line:

    The Main Line proper is a line of communities extending northwest from the City of Philadelphia. From Philadelphia, the stations on what is now referred to as the Paoli/Thorndale (formerly "R5") Line are: Overbrook,[8] Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr, which inspired the mnemonic "Old Maids Never Wed And Have Babies". The contemporary definition of the Main Line now encompasses many communities past Bryn Mawr. They are sometimes referred to as the upper Main Line and include Rosemont, Villanova, Radnor, St. Davids, Wayne, Strafford, Devon, Berwyn, Daylesford, Paoli, and Malvern. In recent years, the service has extended even further west than Malvern.
    Some communities, most notably Gladwyne, Bala Cynwyd, and Penn Valley, are included in what is commonly accepted as the Main Line, as they are typical Main Line communities. Neither, however, is located on the rail line for which the area is named and therefore may be considered culturally rather than geographically on the Main Line.
    Philadelphia Main Line - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  11. #11
    BBQ KING is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 56MARKET View Post
    Living on the Main Line can be a great experience in many ways.However,do not be under the illusion that you will be saving any money by doing so.Since both of you will be working in Philadelphia you will still paying the City Wage Tax,though not as much as a resident of the city would be.In addition your commuting expenses will increase dramatically.
    I do not understand ,are you commuting now or ''Technically working at home''?
    We both work out of a home office so if our home was not in Philly we would avoid city wage tax.
    However, one of us works for a company in the navy yard and will need to go there often so the inner towns make for a shorter commute.

    But if narberth for example is going to charge 2% in wage taxes then the overall impact is muted.

  12. #12
    BBQ KING is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks. Love Wayne but too far out.

    Wayne to the navy yard seems like 45m or more. Too far to navy yard
    for those days that commute will be needed. Also kids are in east falls
    school. Would like to maintain EF school as an option but add the option of "mainline" lower Marion schools
    for the future (almostly entirely for financial reasons).
    Last edited by BBQ KING; 12-11-2012 at 10:02 AM.

  13. #13
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Sharpe View Post
    Overbrook is not a town, but rather a section of West Philadelphia.
    The only place mentioned so far that is a bona fide town is Narberth, as Narberth is a borough. All of the rest are techincally unincorporated places within larger municipalities like Radnor Township, Lower Merion Township, and the City of Philadelphia. Thus your statement is misleading at best, and incorrect at worst. I'll give you another example of your false dichotomy: Glenside isn't a town, but rather sections of Abington and Cheltenham. Or, Ardmore isn't a town, but rather sections of Lower Merion and Haverford Township. See how silly they sound? Anyone who has been to those places would reasonably conclude that they're towns, even if they legally aren't.

    Quote Originally Posted by AsYouWere View Post
    Conshy's upriver btw lol, and it's funny seeing other offline towns like W Conshy trying to latch onto the Mainline brand. Technically the present terminus is Thorndale which is a godforesaken place to find yourself at night unless a TownCar is waiting, being so close to
    Coatesville. Communities on the Main Line:

    The Main Line proper is a line of communities extending northwest from the City of Philadelphia. From Philadelphia, the stations on what is now referred to as the Paoli/Thorndale (formerly "R5") Line are: Overbrook,[8] Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr, which inspired the mnemonic "Old Maids Never Wed And Have Babies". The contemporary definition of the Main Line now encompasses many communities past Bryn Mawr. They are sometimes referred to as the upper Main Line and include Rosemont, Villanova, Radnor, St. Davids, Wayne, Strafford, Devon, Berwyn, Daylesford, Paoli, and Malvern. In recent years, the service has extended even further west than Malvern.
    Some communities, most notably Gladwyne, Bala Cynwyd, and Penn Valley, are included in what is commonly accepted as the Main Line, as they are typical Main Line communities. Neither, however, is located on the rail line for which the area is named and therefore may be considered culturally rather than geographically on the Main Line.
    Philadelphia Main Line - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Conshy is downriver from Norristown. I agree that historically Bryn Mawr was the end. The development past Bryn Mawr tends to be much more 'developed country' i.e. sprawl, whereas up to Bryn Mawr the development seems to be much more focused around the ability to walk to the railroad, which tends to limit the autocentric feel somewhat. My daughter had a field hockey game against Notre Dame this fall and I don't think that it would be safe at all for a child or even an adult to arrive at that place via any other method than a private automobile. Ditto Episcopal's new campus. Ditto Philadelphia Country Club (1960). However, places like Baldwin, Shipley, Haverford, and Merion Cricket have an extremely different feel. Gladwyne and Penn Valley are parvenu, developed later in the 20th Century around a car-based model. To say that they are on the Main Line would be a travesty.
    Last edited by billy ross; 12-11-2012 at 10:10 AM.

  14. #14
    AsYouWere is offline Banned
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    Oh I see what you meant about downriver. Not sure that Conshy was ever more crappy than Norristown though being that all the river towns seemed to take an economic hit at about the same time.

  15. #15
    BBQ KING is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    The only place mentioned so far that is a bona fide town is Narberth, as Narberth is a borough.
    This has been my impression but not certain. The other areas are nice, but do not seem to have that sense of a central place.

  16. #16
    NickleDimer is offline Senior Member
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    I don't think any of the places you mentioned have an income tax. Maybe Narberth, but I don't think so.
    All the schools are very good.
    Narberth/Wynnewood are more for young families. Merion/Bala has a very close knit traditional Jewish community that might not be for everyone.

    The term Main Line, while derived from the train line of the same name, is now commonly referred to that entire section of the western suburbs.

  17. #17
    billy ross is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBQ KING View Post
    This has been my impression but not certain. The other areas are nice, but do not seem to have that sense of a central place.
    I was checking into prices in Narberth and I'm surprised they're not higher. It's sort of an idyllic place, and generally near-perfect places get priced into the stratosphere eventually and thus lose their diversity (like Haddonfield, for instance). I've spent a fair amount of time walking around Narberth; if I were ever building a town I'd send architects to Narberth to see what they could copy. Narberth has come up a long way in my lifetime, and it seems they're still on the way up - it used to be a dormitory town for railroad workers and domestics, and that's why it's pretty much the only town on the Main Line that isn't on 30. It's only recently switched from a solid R town to a D town, with all of the new arrivals who aren't tied to the land taking over the place (i.e. cosmopolitan types). The only real disadvantage is that it's a little isolated by car, but that's the price you pay for being idyllic. It's certainly not a through route.
    Last edited by billy ross; 12-11-2012 at 11:25 AM.

  18. #18
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    Volanova is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy ross View Post
    I was checking into prices in Narberth and I'm surprised they're not higher. It's sort of an idyllic place, and generally near-perfect places get priced into the stratosphere eventually and thus lose their diversity (like Haddonfield, for instance). I've spent a fair amount of time walking around Narberth; if I were ever building a town I'd send architects to Narberth to see what they could copy. Narberth has come up a long way in my lifetime, and it seems they're still on the way up - it used to be a dormitory town for railroad workers and domestics, and that's why it's pretty much the only town on the Main Line that isn't on 30. It's only recently switched from a solid R town to a D town, with all of the new arrivals who aren't tied to the land taking over the place (i.e. cosmopolitan types). The only real disadvantage is that it's a little isolated by car, but that's the price you pay for being idyllic. It's certainly not a through route.
    It isn't a thoroughfare, but it still seems easy to get places by car since it's situated between Montgomery and Lancaster Avenues.

    But, it's super walkable, and you could theoretically do without a car if you got a little bit adventurous.

  19. #19
    newphil is offline Senior Member
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    Here is an interactive tax map just released by Pew. Interactive Chart: A Look Into Philadelphia Tax Burdens - The Pew Charitable Trusts

    The myth that Philadelphia is a tax black hole is debunked here. It is now ranked 48 in the region regarding tax burdens. We've been decreasing our taxes while the suburbs are begining to experience aging infrastructure requiring tax increases. Good schools and QOL yes.. cheap..hell no

  20. #20
    johnnie's Avatar
    johnnie is offline F the Eagles
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    Quote Originally Posted by newphil View Post
    Here is an interactive tax map just released by Pew. Interactive Chart: A Look Into Philadelphia Tax Burdens - The Pew Charitable Trusts

    The myth that Philadelphia is a tax black hole is debunked here. It is now ranked 48 in the region regarding tax burdens. We've been decreasing our taxes while the suburbs are begining to experience aging infrastructure requiring tax increases. Good schools and QOL yes.. cheap..hell no
    A lot of it depends on where you work. If you click the work location outside the city, many of the burbs are cheaper then Philly in that case, for now. Not that it matters in the OP's case.

 

 

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