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Scouting the Oakland neighborhoods - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Scouting the Oakland neighborhoods

By Dan Sostek / Sports Editor

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Finding a place to live can be more daunting than a charging 250-pound linebacker. Thousands of students scramble every winter to find housing, hoping for a good fit and avoid the scrum.

With such a big decision and so many other students hunting for housing, we’ve decided to break down housing around and within Oakland in a manner fitting of it’s competitive nature — by providing scouting reports of potential living options at Pitt.

SOUTH OAKLAND

STRENGTHS: South O’s greatest asset is its proximity. It’s just a walk away from campus, unlike other neighborhoods like North Oakland and Shadyside, so there’s no need to wait for a bus after finishing a midterm paper five minutes before class. There’s also proximity to nearly everyone else on campus — you’ll likely find someone you know walking around every block or so. And there’s $5 … erm, $6 pizzas and other cheap food.

WEAKNESSES: The only real weaknesses from South Oakland derives from its strengths. The weekends require some flexibility, as the streets become a hub for partiers — and trash when classes end for the week. Due to the large student population, South O is almost a club in its own right. It might not be as easy to study or sleep on a Saturday night as it is in a different neighborhood. And while the pizza is a positive in terms of taste, it isn’t so much in terms of nutritional value.

X-FACTOR: Noise tolerance

ON-CAMPUS HOUSING

STRENGTHS: Pitt’s on-campus housing boasts benefits worthy of any potential inquisitor’s attention. Its greatest strength is tidiness. The rooms are nice and cozy, and come fully furnished. The options Pitt provides are low-risk options — you know you’ll be getting a livable dwelling. Food alternatives are also a plus, particularly in Litchfield Towers or upper campus. If you have swipes, you’ve got options for eating at almost any time.

WEAKNESSES: With the low risk comes fairly low reward. There are — understandbly — more restrictions in Pitt housing. Some of these limits include obeying quiet hours, needing to remember your Panther ID everywhere you go, or not having the freedom to subscribe to premium cable channels.

X-FACTOR: Market swipes

NORTH OAKLAND/BLOOMFIELD

STRENGTHS: You get a different feel of the area living off of Centre Avenue. The neighborhood still has a city-type feel while being less densely populated. You’ve also got some more diverse food options, while not being overly expensive. Perhaps the most convenient local amenities are the nearby grocery stores, with Aldi and Giant Eagle on Baum Boulevard and Centre Avenue, respectively, making home cooking simple.

WEAKNESSES: Taking advantage of bussing is a requisite for buying into this area. Walking to campus takes around 15 to 20 minutes from there, so unless you budget for that every time you go to campus, you’ll have to get to know bus routes and schedules pretty well. And while the isolation is nice at times, it’s sometimes a bummer being separated from all of the on-campus happenings.

X-FACTOR: Google Maps bus arrival times

SHADYSIDE

STRENGTHS: Shadyside is a gorgeous place to live, just looking at the aesthetically pleasing residential zones and quaint stores. With the shopping hub of Walnut Street and the artsy stores on Ellsworth Avenue, there’s plenty of opportunities to satiate your cultural desires. There are also plenty of different culinary options — there are many more sit-down locations than any other Oakland-adjacent neighborhood. Throw in the occasional Jam on Walnut block party, and you’ve got a really well-rounded prospect of an area.

WEAKNESSES: You need to be willing to spend some dough in Shadyside. Restaurants, bars and shops have some higher prices than Oakland, as they cater less to college students. Also, the distance lends itself for a substantive trek to campus. A car or a bike is almost necessary unless you’re willing to take the 10 to 15 minute bus ride every day.

X-FACTOR: Your bank account

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
Scouting the Oakland neighborhoods