A bungalow in Takoma Park (presumably not for sale).

Reader Mark and his family are moving to the Greater Washington area. They are, in many ways, a typical area family: the parents are in their 30s, own dogs, want good schools and a safe area for their kids, and can spend about $500-800,000 for a house.

Like many families moving to the area, they’d really like a walkable neighborhood and public transit access. But to Mark and his family, this is a definite priority. Where should they live?

They do have one car and need to be able to park it, but would rather not be dependent on it to get everywhere (and want to stick with only one car, not two). They want a single-family home or a semi-detached or end unit townhouse (i.e. windows on at least three sides) with three bedrooms. They like bungalow and ranch styles and perfer a liberal-leaning community.

Mark has already heard suggestions from others of Kensington, Takoma Park, Clarendon, and (but this doesn’t have transit access) Eastport, Annapolis. How would you advise Mark and the many other families like his?

For those of us who support walkable living, having many options to serve the Marks of the world is very important. I chose to live in a row house in a dense neighborhood, but many people don’t want to live in rowhouses and, at the moment, the schools in DC are not good enough for most families. Clearly, a top priority is improving DC’s schools so Mark could pick Tenleytown, Friendship Heights, Brightwood, Shepherd Park, or one of the many other nice, lower density, but transit-accessible neighborhoods in the District.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.