Moving to a new town or neighborhood can be a great opportunity and a fresh start. It also means starting over and mastering a new set of basic info, like parking restrictions, trash dates and how you navigate, shop and live. Here are ten important things to learn about your new neighborhood.
Parking. Some neighborhoods have parking rules designed to frustrate homeowners and visitors. Whether it’s no overnight parking, overnight parking on one side of the street only, or no overnight parking during snow season only, learning these rules can save you money in parking tickets and towing fees.
Recycling rules also vary from place to place. Learn whether or not you need to separate your recyclables by type, and whether putting items in plastic bags is prohibited.
Important Dates. Trash collection and recycling pick up are top of the list. Billing dates for water and sewer, and when readings are done for electric and gas meters.
Traffic Patterns. Most places have areas where traffic backs up for inexplicable and mysterious reasons. Other places have heavy freight train traffic that disrupts traffic flow along busy streets. School schedules, sporting events, and large audience venues can also create seemingly random traffic jams, so learn what’s going on in your neighborhood. Until you’ve got everything figured out, use an app like Waze to let you know what’s happening and provide alternate routes.
Walkability and Bikeability. Before setting out for a run or a bike ride, figure out how safe these activities are. Look for sidewalks, pedestrian signals at crosswalks, dedicated bike lanes or paths, and other indicators of safety. Use a site like walkscore.com. A good test is whether you can walk to a store to buy small items like milk and toothpaste, a park, and to restaurants, coffee shops and entertainment venues.
Neighborhood or HOA Rules. HOA rules can be notoriously picky about everything from types of plants allowed in front yards, to banning clotheslines, to only allowing certain paint colors on doors and trim. It pays to learn these before you not only invest in items that break the rules, but also start you off on the wrong foot with neighbors. And there’s always a neighbor who vigorously enforces those rules.
Parks and Recreation Programs and Dates. If you have kids, you’ll want to learn when enrollment dates for sports and activities are. But even if you don’t have kids, it pays to check out your local department of parks and recreations, as most municipalities offer adult programs, have fitness centers and pools, and also provide entertainment.
Farmers Markets, Festivals and Special Events. Most towns run farmers markets through the summer and fall months, and these are a great source for locally grown produce and flowers, as well as baked goods, locally made cheeses, and crafts. Knowing when local festivals and special events, like weekly concerts or open air moves, are can help you get out into your new community and meet people.
Where the Best Grocery Store Is. The best grocery store may not be the nearest one, so take the time to shop all the options. Whether you measure best by price, produce quality, or something else, take the time to explore multiple stores before settling on the right one for you.
Who Your Neighbors Are. Make the time to get to know your neighbors and work at maintaining good relations with them. Neighbors will clue you in to what’s going on in the larger community, and can be a great resource for baby, house and pet sitters. And you’ll adjust to your new life faster with people in the neighborhood to help get you settled.