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For those of you that have ever looked for an apartment, especially for those of us that want to use transit, you come to find most of the resources available online for finding an apartment mostly useless. While some apartments may show that they are close to transit or close to shopping, most of the websites fail to give you a good idea exactly how easy it is to access those services.
A week ago Saturday I flew to Portland in order to find a new place to live when we move. I think of myself as pretty web savy so I have done lots of research over the last six months since we made the decision to go back to school to try to find the right place for us.
For someone not familiar with a city this could be a daunting task. I have an advantage that I am actually familiar with the Portland area and know where to look and not look for a place to live. However, I still do not know the ins and outs of many of the neighborhoods themselves.
I do have to give a kudos to For Rent which is now including a walkscore map of the neighborhood the apartment to give you a better idea how far you have to walk to find necessary services.While that does help apartment searchers it still does not offer all the information that someone may need to find an apartment.
When I was doing research I would often have four or five windows up trying to find all the information necessary. I would have the apartment rental sights on one page, Tri-Met's website on a second, Google Maps on a third, apartment ratings on a fourth, and a fifth for other information.
Fortunately I was able to find a good apartment with excellent transit access at a good price.
However, this points out the lack of resources available through most transit system websites. Most sites are destinations with few links to get information you need beyond riding the system. Transit systems need to look at their websites not only to provide transit information but also a portal for those looking to not only ride the system but also be less car dependent.