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Living in the Allendale Neighborhood (Oakland, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving > Living in the Allendale Neighborhood (Oakland, CA)



May 2010

We are looking at a house in the Allendale neighborhood of Oakland, just off of 38th Ave. I've not been able to find much info about this neighborhood, can anyone provide us with some? Thanks! Sierra


I've lived in 'Steinway Terrence' since 2004. We are below Allendale Park (Allendale = 35th Ave. to High Street; below 580, above Santa Rita; Steinway Terrace = btw. 38 Ave. and High St. below Santa Rita above Foothill). Because of space limits on message replies I'll post in several parts, and the moderator can put them together. They are: Schools; Housing Values; Neighborhood Feeling(A, B, C). PART I: Allendale Park and Steinway Terrace Schools: Would you send your child to the neighborhood schools here? We did not ask ourselves that before buying (I got pregnant shortly after buying and my kid is K ready). The schools are Allendale Elementary School and for Steinway they are Global Family Village (GFV) and Learning Without Limits (LWOL). We did not option any of these schools for the OUSD process, and are witlisted at the shcool we want to get into. GFV may be a good enough fit for a year or two at most.... after that I'm not convinced that the school can meet our very high academic expectations. We still do not have a school lined up for this Fall.

Housing Values -- When we bought our house (2004) we had been waiting for three years for the housing bubble to burst... We wanted to stay in the East Bay, not in Pinole or Vallejo. We bought what we could afford, with a hopeful sense that the neighborhood may gentrify (but not too much please!), and a feeling that while the neighborhood may not soar in value, it probably would not crash. We got a conservative affordable loan, not a crazy oversize one. As you know, the bubble burst. In 2010 our house is now worth perhaps 1/2 what we paid in 2004. Many of our neighbors are working class and they really reached beyond their means to buy around here, or took loans out on their property to do work on their houses. Many are now in negative equity and in real trouble because their loans are not affordable. Far from gentrifying, the neighborhood has eroded in both value and, because of foreclosure vacancies, a shifting owner to renter ratio, and a sagging economy and general economic hardship.

Neighborhood vibe and culture -- I love my house, I love my neighbors on my block, we have a great neighborhood yahoo group, there are good people, many long term families that have been here for two or more generations, and lots of good kids. Houses and lots in Steinway Terrace tend to be larger and nicer than those in Allendale Park, and more owners rather than renters. It feels more stable, settled to me. That said, both Allendale and Steinway are really patchwork in terms of feeling of safety and neighborliness, etc. During the past two years there have been a couple of sensational violent crimes here, and my observation is that gang presence and activity is on an upward tick right now -- tagging, hanging shoes, and loitering being the indicators to me. That does not stop me from walking or biking with my four year old around the neighborhood, or allowing her to play on the sidewalk in front with the neighbor kids. Steinway in general feels safer and cleaner than Allendale. Both neighborhood have litter, lots of stray cats and kittens, tough teenagers and young men with tough dogs hanging about.

Neighborhood vibe and culture -- Allendale more than Steinway. Allendale is closer to McArthur Blvd's Lower Laurel area, which has an active but downscale but active business district. Groceries are at Lucky and at Farmer Joes original small store. Steinway is close to Foothill, where we have pretty much only taquerias, liquor stores, a head shop/sex toy store, and the Hells Angels Headquarters. Groceries are at the most excellent clean and inexpensive Mi Puebla Tierra. These are very diverse neighborhood. Some of the old Polish and Italian families still live here, but it is now a majority Mexican and El Salvadoran, lost of Hmong, Vietnamese, and Cambodian (especially in Steinway), and a strong and very established African-American Community (especially in Allendale). Very working class. There are a lot of backyard and off record business in operation.

Neighborhood vibe and culture -- Sometimes the neighborhood can feel surprisingly socially conservative and religious for being in Oakland. The neighborhood had a strong presence of 'Yes on 8' signs in peoples' lawns, with a big push by the 'Yes on 8' campaign to target support from the African-American families around here. Since there are several Gay and Lesbian families that we know in the neighborhood, this was troubling to us. We still have a 'No on 8' sign up, and have gotten many positive responses from neighbors about that. That said, we really do love our neighbors and our neighborhood. It is challenging to me (a 40-something suburban white kid) in ways that are good, but not always comfortable. I'm glad to be raising my daughter here, but I expect that I'll be thrown curveballs my mom never had to field ('Mommy, why is that woman wearing such a short skirt in the cold rain? Isn't she cold?') For full disclosure, we are white, university educated, and middle class, hetero, and atheists. anon


Oct 2008

I've looked in the archives, but couldn't find any info about the Allendale section of Oakland. We're thinking of moving there, but the area is so different from one block to the next that we're not sure what to expect. What are the neighbors like? Is it safe at night? Does the area have trouble with fast cars and loud music? Any information would be greatly appreciated! househunting


I don't live in Allendale, so I may not be the best source, but my daycare is in Allendale, so I am there twice daily. I can tell you that there is an issue with fast cars, at least on Suter Street. People definitely go too fast for how narrow that street is. However, there are also some really good people living in that area who are maintaining their house and seem like they would be good neighbors. There are also people who seem more shady, like one house near Suter that at one point was running a pit bull fighting ring. It seems like a neighborhood that has some pluses and some rough edges, as far as I can tell from my visits there. I have never seen anything outright dangerous, like drug dealing or prostitution. I would recommend visiting it at night to see if the roughness is going to be okay for you. Another women from my daycare who used to live in Allendale really didn't like it, but then people feel the same way about where I live and I love it, so everyone has their own barometer around what feels safe. Meredith
Hi -- I wanted to answer your questions about the Allendale Park neighborhood of Oakland (between 38th and High Street, below 580 Freeway, above Santa Rita street...). My answer is broken in to a few parts b/c of BPN posting length limits. I live in an adjacent neighborhood, known as Steinway Terrace. Our boundaries are 38th Ave and High street, below Santa Rita and above Foothill. Ib

ve lived in the neighborhood for four years. My sister lives nearby For 10+ years) and taught at Allendale for several years before moving to another OUSD elementary school. I have often walked from McArthur Blvd to my house during the day, as well as from my house to my sisterb

s house..

The neighborhoods really vary block by block... we got lucky, our block is great, but that is not always the case. In terms of the residential feel of the two adjacent neighborhood, Steinway Terrace is more beautiful, comfortable, friendlier, and safer in general. Allendale Park has smaller houses, smaller lots, less trees, narrower sidewalks, and is, in general, just tougher and harder for me to feel comfortable in. That said, I donb

t drive, and I take public transportation everyware, and have walked in, around and through these two neighborhoods at all hours of the day, and also sometimes at night. I am not always comfortable doing this. I got a bike so I can bike to BART in the morning, rather than standing at the bus stop in the early morning winter dark. I am a pretty good mugging target - white middle aged woman, but I am also not a street wimp. I've lived in Oakland, Richmond, and Brooklyn at various times over two decades.

This is what makes our block great: SPEEDBUMPS, multi-generational, wide sidewalks, children playing outside, front gardens, very racially, ethnically, class, and work-type diverse, involved neighbors, active neighborhood association, lots of stay-at-home workers and retirees who watch the block, all single family houses with about 95% rate of owner occupancy, many of them for very long term (25+ years, at least three are 40+ years, several are intergenerational family homes). If you decide to buy in the area, keep in mind these things about the block you are considering. Also we have a really great neighborhood association tah meets weekly at Jefferson Elementary, a good OPD beat officer, an involved City council liason, and a good relationship with our Councilman (De la Fuente). Several of the neighborhood residents are committed neighborhood organizer-activists.

We are short bike distance to BART, and two blocks from Foothill, so we have the AC transit line 40 very close. Along our section of Foothill (35th to High) there are pretty stable businesses, very few commercial vacancies.

What makes the neighborhood less than great: The outer rim (High-35th-Santa Rita-Foothill) is a tough neighborhood-- dirty, grimy, semi-industruial, lots of liquor stores, not at all pretty like Rockridge, tougher than MacArthur Blvd in the Laurel. There is an increase in gang graffiti, violence and drug dealing, though our local Hell's Angels (the HA Clubhouse is at Rosedale and Foothill) keeps open street dealing to a minimum for at least two blocks in either direction on Foothill--- sort of like the Mafia) .

CRIME: Yes there is that, and there seems to be an uptick in the last year. As I mentioned, there is certainly a noticeable increase in gang activity. There have been two murders in the last month - one on Pennamin and 38th (Allendale Park neighborhood) - a man was shot and died in the street; and one on 40th and Santa Rita (In the Steinway Terrace Neighborhood) -a young wman and her boyfriend were shot, he died and she is in critical condition. There have been other instances of shootings and gunfire, especially at parties that got out of control (we've had this problem in our neighborhood recently). There has been an uptick in car theft and robberies.

SCHOOLS: If you have children, you will want to consider the schools -- We did not have children when we moved here (our daughter is three), and now we are facing some really tough decisions, as I donb

t think that either Jefferson or Allendale are up to our standards. We are intensively trying to learn all we can about OUSD - but it feels like the district is shifting sand. We are also studying the private school options in the greater area "school shed" (Park Blvd to Seminary, Hwy. 13 to Hwy. 980).. fortunately, there seem to be several very good options in that direction)

HOUSING VALUES (and commute) : Ah, yes, well we bought in 2004, so not at the ultimate high, but our value has decreased abot 30 % since the height of 2005. There are several houses for sale in the neighborhood, many for a LONG time. So yes, now is a goodtime to buy. We have a house on our street that is for sale, but kept trimmed and clean. (Rosedale, between Mera and Carrington, if you want to look). It is best to buy on a more stable block... some blocks have many properties for sale, and they are not kept up well. This is one signal of an "ailing" block. In the long term (10+ years) I am confident that we can recoup our lost value, and perhaps have a significant increase. Being close to BART, freeway, and relatively close to San Francisco is a long-term advantage for the neighborhoods. You don't say where you work, but there is a AC transbay commuter bus that travels along MacArthur Blvd, and a Park and Ride lot and casual carpool pickup at Fruitvale and Macarthur. Casual Carpool also has a pickup at High and MacArthur.

I am comfortable walking in the neighborhood before it gets dark and, in winter, before 7:30 to 8 pm. I will walk in the immediate residential neighborhood When my daughter was an infant, people were VERY friendly, having a baby in like having a talisman in this neighborhood (and yes I was out late with her on public transportation after dark, or walking around the residential neighborhood very late sometimes trying to soothe her to sleep - she only went to slept after an outside walk). Now that she is older, I am a little more cautious.

Here are some neighborhood Yahoo Groups: Steinway Terrace Neighborhood Association Allendale Park Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (APNCPC) Laurel Community Theater sd


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