USU does not in general provide parking permits to its postdoctoral fellows. Therefore, it is advisable that you find an apartment along a bus route (listed in the Transportation section) or the DC Metro red line. In general, the best deals on rent will be found through individual landlords on Zillow or Craigslist rather than large rental companies or developments. You can reasonably expect to pay between $1400 and $1600 for a 1-bedroom apartment and up to $1900 for a two-bedroom apartment if you are persistent in your search. Be prepared to pay at least one month's rent in deposit for your chosen apartment. Most postdocs make a short trip to find an apartment before moving, although some landlords may be willing to make arrangements through e-mail or over the phone. Most apartment leases in the area start around late summer, so moving in the winter or spring may make the housing search more difficult. Indicated commute times approximate how long it will take to reach the Medical Center Metro Station (red line stop for USUHS and NIH) from each neighborhood.
Bethesda: USUHS is located within the city limits of Bethesda, making it the closest option. While Bethesda also has great restaurants and nightlife, these perks usually come with steep rents that will be beyond the reach of most postdoc salaries. The best rental deals in Bethesda are likely to come from individual landlords renting out basement apartments or condos. You may be within walking distance of USUHS if you live next to the downtown section. 1 Metro stop to USUHS if coming from downtown Bethesda, otherwise 1 bus to USUHS (~10-15 minute commute).
Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights: These are charming neighborhoods close to shopping and restaurants. However, basement apartments or rented rooms in a private residences are likely to be the only affordable housing available in these neighborhoods. 2 Metro stops to USUHS, possibly with a bus ride to reach the Metro depending on how far away from the red line the apartment is located (~15-20 minute commute).
Kensington: This is a typical suburb, but apartments should be more affordable here as compared to Bethesda/Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights. Kensington is far enough from the Metro line that you will likely have to take 1 bus to reach USUHS (~15-20 minute commute).
Rockville: Rockville is further north than the other options, but is generally preferred by most postdocs due to its affordability. Many postdocs live in the apartment towers located across from the Grosvenor Metro stop. There are many apartments along the metro line through Rockville, although some are more affordable than others, and some may require a short bus trip to reach the metro stations. Apartments close to the Rockville Town Center and King Farm offer easy access to grocery stores, small shops, and restaurants. The Metro line ends at Shady Grove, so the furthest apartments you should consider are the apartments at King Farm unless you are willing to drive to the metro station and pay the $5 per day parking fee (~10-15 minute commute from Grosvenor Station, ~30-35 minute commute from Shady Grove Station).
Silver Spring: Silver Spring is a neighboring city that may offer slightly lower rental prices compared to apartments located along the Metro red line on the Bethesda/Rockville side. The downtown area has many shops and restaurants and a farmers market in the summer. Although Silver Spring is on a Metro line, there is no direct line between Silver Spring and Bethesda and it is quickest to take a bus (~30-40 minute commute).
For all of you pet lovers, here is a list of pet-friendly (dogs and cats) apartments:
-The Fitz at Rockville Town Center (individually owned condos- find listings through Craigslist or Zillow)
-Bethesda Row townhouses (individually owned condos- find listings through Craigslist or Zillow)
Parking at USUHS
USUHS does not issue parking permits to postdocs unless a staff pass can be secured through the postdoc's department. In some cases, you may be placed on a waiting list for a staff pass if a hardship that necessitates driving to work can be demonstrated (e.g. you live far away from public transport or have children that need to be taken to school in the morning). Carpool passes are available, but new applications are only accepted in the late spring and at least two individuals must ride in together. Accepting a carpool pass also makes you ineligible to accept Metro benefits through HJF or the DOD.
Most postdocs will likely have to take public transportation to the Medical Center Metro stop where a shuttle to USUHS is available (marked van departs from the Medical Center Metro kiss-and-ride drop-off area). More information about the USUHS shuttle schedule can be found here
. A SmarTrip metro pass that can be used for both rail and bus transportation can be purchased from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. This pass gives a $1 discount for each trip and can be pre-loaded with up to $300 to save time on the bus and at the Metro station. SmarTrip cards can be purchased on-line here
. Fares, bus and rail maps, and trip planners can be found at wmata.com
Maryland Driver's License and Car Registration
As a new resident, you must register your vehicle within 60 days of moving to Maryland. Your vehicle must pass the Maryland State Inspection before it can be registered, which is a one-time safety inspection. Fees for the inspection range from $65-$85 (plus the cost of repairs needed to pass), and the inspection can be performed at most automotive repair shops. Your car will also have to pass an emissions test every two years, but this test isn't required until after the car is registered. More information including MVA locations and necessary documentation can be found here
You also have 60 days to obtain a Maryland driver's license or ID card. As long as you have a valid out-of-state driver's license, you will not be required to take the Maryland knowledge and skills test. More information can be found here