Best Move of My Life
Fairmount is a fantastic place to live. You’re surrounded by quaint cafes and coffee shops, rocking neighborhood bars, numerous activities for outdoor enthusiasts (including community sports teams), parks, museums … you name it. And come spring, it seems like every other block has a restaurant with tables filling the sidewalks.
I came home one night after traveling out of town, and there were two different live bands playing outside within one block of my home in different directions. I love to travel, but coming home to my coffee shop, pizza joint, (mmm … real NY-style pizza), bar, bike trail, and team is unbeatable. So I’m a bit biased, but having lived all over the country (okay fine, eight states), I can honestly say Fairmount is my favorite place I’ve ever lived.
So there are a few gotchas when you move to Fairmount, so hopefully these tips will make your move a little easier.
Get a Temporary No Parking Permit
A glitch I ran into when I moved to Fairmount was the streets were very narrow, and cars were parked in front of my house. So the movers had to park the truck around the corner and walk the furniture to the house. This added a little more than $500 to my move. Ouch.
What you should instead do is fill out a Temporary No Parking Application for Moving. You should apply at least a week ahead of time to ensure your application will have enough time to be processed. And you will need to supply the following information:
- email address
- length of the moving truck or the number of moving containers
- beginning and end time of your move
- cell phone number for the day of move
Measure Your Furniture Carefully
I consider myself to be pretty thorough when it comes to moves. I’ve moved a lot in my life, and I have a pretty good system for planning my furniture configuration before moving day. When I moved to Fairmount I did what I always did: got into the house ahead of time, measured all the rooms, and then drew floorplans for each room. I even bought shelving units for the basement because I knew the brownstone I was moving into (Fairmount’s house du jour) was going to be a tighter fit than I was used to.
What I wasn’t prepared for was my master bedroom suite not fitting up to the third floor. The bed wouldn’t fit up the stairs. I was distraught because I had bought the set less than six months before moving and even splurged for an adjustable mattress. And I had to pay the movers even more money to move the set to a secondary location until I could sell it.
My advice: Measure your furniture from corner to corner and compare those measurements against all entryways, including doorways and stairs. I also found out — again, after my move — that there are companies that will disassemble furniture that doesn’t fit and reassemble it, like this one. (Disclaimer: I know nothing about this company and am not endorsing their services; I’m merely giving you a jumping-off point for your research, if this fate should befall you.
Plan for Your Car
Parking in Fairmount
If you don’t secure a house, apartment, or condo with a dedicated park spot, you’re going to need to get used to street parking. This video provides good tips on how to parallel park. I mean, sure, the guy looks like he just got his license himself, but he takes a calculated, scientific approach.
Learning how to part from a hipster aside, you definitely want to get comfortable with parallel parking before moving here, if possible. It can be stressful to have impatient drivers stacked up behind you as you try getting into that perfect spot on your street for the fourth time.
Residential Parking Permit
Philadelphia is divided into residential parking zones, and Fairmount is zone 17. It was really challenging to find the boundaries for zone 17, so I took a pic of the map they gave me at the Philadelphia Parking Authority, and added annotations to the screenshot.
You’ll need to submit an application with the following proofs:
- vehicle registration card
- proof of residence (e.g., lease, utility bill, or driver’s license)
- proof of vehicle insurance
- check or money order payable to “PPA Permit Parking”
More details are included on the application.
Getting a Driver’s License
If you’re just moving to Pennsylvania, you’ll have 60 days to get a PA driver’s license. All the info you need is here. The closest PA Dept of Transportation (PDOT) to Fairmount is at Arch St and 8th St (map).
Word to the wise: Take plenty to do because you will be there a while. And get there as close to opening as possible to minimize your lines. There’s a Subway sub shop right around the corner if you get hungry (map). I had wished I had brought something to eat because in the 2+ hours I was there I got quite hungry.
Safety and Emissions Test
In an effort to improve the air quality in Philadelphia, every resident has to get their car a safety and emissions test. All the information you need for it is here. But essentially it’s an annual test that has to be done at an approved facility, and the facility sets the price so you will want to shop around. A list of facilities is included in the above link.