Gmatt-"Which neighborhood in Austin would be most central to gas stations and supermarkets, for employment purposes (without a lot of crime?) Should I be right near the center of town, or is there an area north or south in which there are a lot of retail places and grocerie markets to apply for work at, in which I wouldn't have to live near hoodlums?"
I guess it is so subjective - whatever you are aiming at. Different comfort levels for different folks, ya know? someone up to no good can strike anywhere, thats the reality, anymore. Retail is everywhere.
Austin is loaded with strip development that is near or across from apartment/townhome and even neighborhoods that contain grocery and or gas station type employment you cite as pre-requisites for a area to recommend.
You might want to monitor our papers- both the Statesman and the weekly Austin Chronicle and read up in depth now- to get a feel for the area and what goes on in any given area of town.
If you thread back on my handle- there are some pointers in past postings. I have friends in EVERY area of town, and everyone has had some kind of difficulties at one time or another. You can't leave ANY equipment in a locked trailer in your driveway ANYMORE, EVER, in ANY area, if that is what you are asking. For example. Sad to say, those days are gone. If I were renting again, within the city limits on a bus route, I would be looking along the obvious north/ south corridors, and outline a box on a map bounded by : 2222 on the NORTH* ( also called Koenig Ln and Airport Blvd) /Loop 1* (also called MoPac)-along which the new rail will be going in soon on the WEST* Ben White Blvd (also labeled 290 in stretches) on the SOUTH* and Parker Ln, Pleasant Valley Rd, along East 51st and Airport Blvd- up to the 183 intersection)on the EAST* there would be very few areas I would cross off . It IS expensive here. So, you just have to look around to see what suits.
We have plenty of available rental apartments/townhome/condos housing all areas. If you are buying, check the MLS on line and see what you can surface up. I always say rent first six months and then you can figure out what area you really want to live in to buy.
Main north/south arterials you can correlate onto a map and then cross correlate to zip codes are: south of the river: Lamar Blvd, 1st Street, Congress Ave, I-35 north of the river: I-35, Guadalupe, Lamar Blvd, Burnet Rd, back over to Loop 1. Shoal Creek is another tucked away north side arterial WITH a bikeway......(near Central Market - a HEB store) . Octoboy had a great observation= Whole Foods headquarters is right downtown at 6th and Lamar (catty corner to the legendary Waterloo Records! another fine local employer ). They are a good match all the way around....thought about them? The other grocery stores here are HEB, RANDALL's, and SUN HARVEST , and the WHEATSVILLE CO-OP.