Living in the Richmond Annex (Richmond, CA)
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Living in the Richmond Annex (Richmond, CA)
Re: Possibly moving to El Cerrito
Hello there! I read your post and realized I was in the
exact OPPOSITE position, I have 2 young children and would
love to be able to afford a move to Albany for the schools.
I live in Richmond Annex and LOVE the neighborhood (the side
between Carlson & San Pablo.) Some parts are a little
hilly, but from almost every street corner you see gorgeous
views of the golden gate bridge! Housing prices are very
reasonable (cause it is Richmond) but I love how walkable
you are to everything, as compared to having to drive if you
live in El Cerrito Hills. I've only lived here for a year
(currently renting) but feel very safe here, and I know my
neighbors. There is a diverse mix of families with children
and elderly folks, etc. I think the houses are on the small
side, but some of them have gorgeous views of bay and
bridges. If it weren't for the school district, I'd buy
here in a heartbeat! El Cerrito housing prices seem a bit
inflated, but I think the Annex is a great deal. Wish I
were in your shoes
Hello bay area residents. We have found some really lovely
homes in the Richmond Annex, however we are a bit concerned
for the safety. One is very near to Fairmont elementary,
just on the other side. Do you have any news on this area?
Do you feel safe if you live here? I am a stay at home mom
and want to feel comfortable being home for most of the day.
Thank you so much.
Safety... there are problems here sometimes. Bad Story
Alert!... Our next door neighbors had their front door
broken into and various valuables carried out a few months
ago. Broad daylight - no one at home - around noontime -
various people about, like the contractor working across the
street, no one noticed it in time.
But what people more often talk about is the skunks. Had a
skunk problem for a few months.
Theft-neighbors put in a stronger door and an 'electric dog'
- the house goes woof now if anyone comes too close. We put
an $8 alarm on our own front door.
Pluses: There are no rowdy neighbors, there are no hopped-up
cars, the nights and days are peaceful. This neighborhood is
more social and better-cared-for than any other I've ever
lived in in the Bay Area. (Alsmost) everybody takes their
gardening seriously: greenery and flowers everywhere. After
a year, I'm on regular speaking terms with maybe eight sets
of neighbors. People greet on the street. etc.
Fairmont school? 'Not much good' is the reputation. Suggest
that you sit in on a class or three there and decide for
yourself. Transfers to Albany school district are
theoretically possible but none have actually been permitted
for years (we were very high on the list for this school
year, I think.) It is also true that public schools are
pretty thoroughly bad many many places in California. So
'Fairmont' might not be any different than your other choices.
We bought a house in the Richmond Annex last summer, and
really couldn't possibly be more thrilled. The El Cerrito
Natural Grocery is walkable, as is BART, and the whole El
Cerrito Plaza with farmer's markets twice a week. You're on
the main San Pablo Ave bus lines, neighborhood movie theater
(the Cerrito), walk to public library, about a half-mile jog
to run or bike on the bay trail at Pt. Isabelle, and just a
quick jaunt down Central Ave to get on 80/580. We had NO
IDEA how great it would be to live here--and honestly I
still am amazed that we live somewhere so modestly central
to everything while still feeling so safe and quiet. I
don't think there's another neighborhood so close to BART
that feels so quiet. We love it. My 20 month old plays in
the front yard without me feeling like I have to watch like
a hawk, I know almost everyone on my street and count them
friends, neighbors and I trade babysitting...It rocks here.
ONLY--be advised that it seems to be in the 'fog
belt'--it's always colder here than down in Berkeley or
even up in Richmond proper. That is my one disappointment
(although I tell myself that we're getting all that clean
fresh air blowing right off the ocean through the Gate).
And I know several families who send their kids to Fairmount
Elementary and are happy with it--we plan to send our
daughter there. Loving the Annex
Hi! My husband & I just moved to the area a couple of months
ago and are renting in the Richmond Annex. Our house is
probably about a half mile or so from Fairmont Elementary
(just off the other side of San Pablo a little further
toward Richmond). Despite my initial skepticism regarding
the area, I actually really feel that it's worked out well!
The Richmond address makes our place significantly more
affordable than would be the same house in many of the
surrounding areas, and it's a very quiet, friendly
neighborhood. I'm also a stay at home mom right now (I have
a 4-month old). I run by myself in the dark early morning
and haven't encountered any situations that have made me
feel uneasy. I wish there were more fun, pretty places to
take the baby walking from our house, but that's really my
main complaint. In terms of safety, I think you'd feel very
comfortable here and I think it's a pretty good value. Anne
I have lived in Richmond Annex since 1993 and feel very safe
here. Most of my neighbors are transplants from Berkeley or
SF and many of them have lived here even longer than we
have.My children did not go to Fairmont but they did go to
El Cerrito High which we were very happy with.
Re: Schools, commutable,urban under $500k?
Richmond Annex, more like N. Berkeley/Albany with cute
1930s+ houses(good El Cerrito schools K-12), walk to El
Cerrito Bart, EC Natural Foods, etc. 500K. Diverse,
friendly, safe. Lots of tiny little playlots--short drive to
Bay Trail, Pt. Isabel, etc.
Re: Cheaper but "safe enough" neighborhoods
I have lived in Richmond Annex for 15 years now. Re Safety, I feel
safe in my home, I have good neighbors, it is very quiet here.
Over the years, I do hear of a few more burglaries, but I believe
that is everywhere. Violent crime is rare here.
You don't say how much cheaper you need to go, but we love our
neighborhood- the Richmond Annex. It's a tentacle of Richmond that
extends alongside El Cerrito all the way to the Albany border.
Homes here sell for considerably less than in North Berkeley, but
we are within walking distance of El Cerrito Plaza BART, Trader
Joes, Peets, the Cerrito theater, and the El Cerrito Natural
Grocery. It takes about 5 minutes to drive to Solano Avenue. Our
public schools are all located in El Cerrito. We also have a
strong neighborhood association and a very modest crime rate.
Before we lived here, we lived in Albany where we experienced a
home break-in and the neighbors were not as friendly. We would, of
course, prefer to live in North Berkeley, but we are very pleased
with our choice.
Happy in the Annex
Do any bpn subscribers have information on what it is like to
live in Richmond Annex? I am new to the area and would like to
hear other peope's impressions.
I have two sets of friends who own homes in the Annex and would
be glad to ask if they would chat with you if you like. They
are very happy with their homes and location.
My partner's mother lives in Richmond Annex, and really likes it.
Her block is very neighborly (most of her neighbors do things
like help in her yard, come by with cookies, call to see how
she's doing, and basically treat her like family). It's pretty
close to lots of things - right next to El Cerrito Plaza with
lots of shopping, the BART, and close to a natural foods store as
well. Parts of it are really nice to walk around in. She got a
great house for a relatively low price, for the Bay Area. The
only thing I'm not sure of is what school district it is in, and
what that's like - so check around about that if you have
We have lived in the Annex since the end of 2001. It has quite
a few families as it has been one of the last affordable
neighborhoods to buy a house in (we're essentially a one-income
family). It has two parks, Huntington and Mendocino
(a ''pocket'' park). It is in walking distance to the EC Plaza
and the shops at the bottom of Moeser Lane. The Annex has a
dedicated Neighborhood Council that meets monthly. If you are
thinking about buying a house here, you might check out the
parks and the Council meeting to get more of a feeling for the
people in the neighborhood.
Happy in the Annex
the annex is a lovely, tree-lined neighborhood, in my opinion
very family friendly and many families live there. The parks/
playgrounds are modest but safe and clean. Very nearby is a
great health food store El Cerrito Grocer and also El Cerrito
Plaza with Trader Joe's. We don't live there (waited too long
and got priced out) but know many families there. However, the
families I know there (say 5-6) have all chosen private school
but the local ones may be improving and have good parent
We recently moved to the Richmond Annex and have been really
pleased with the neighborhood. Our neighbors are really
friendly and there is an active neighborhood association.
Housing prices, while still ridiculous, are lower than just
across the El Cerrito border a few blocks away. All of our
assigned neighborhood public schools are located in El Cerrito.
Richmond Annex neighbor
We really like living in the Richmond Annex. Because it is so
easily accessible from Highways 80 and 580, it is a great
location to commute from. The downfall of the area is a lack of a
walking neighborhood with shops, etc. While there are many stores
nearby (Target, CostCo, Home Depot) there is no cute downtown to
stroll through and stop at a cafe, windowshop, etc.
I would seriously consider living in Albany or (North) Berkeley
before purchasing in the Richmond Annex area, especially if you
have children you hope to send to public schools. That is
largely why property values there are on the lower end. I have
one friend who lives in that area whose car was repeatedly
broken into because they did not have a garage. They
speculated that the ''robbers'' likely came from nearby Richmond,
just down the street. Look around a bit and consider more than
just the face value of the home you are looking at. The
neighborhood, the schools, resale potential, the residents'
We have lived in Richmond Annex for 12 years. It is a quiet
neighborhood and we have not wanted to move despite outgrowing
our house. It is not too far from Berkeley, and is easily
accessible to Pinole shopping, as well as shopping and dining
across the San Rafael bridge. There is a Neighborhood Council
that works towards maintaining the quality of life here and has
worked towards installing new stop signs, redesigning Carlson
Blvd with a median strip, beginning adult ed classes at Alvarado
School,etc. It's a fairly walkable area; we can walk to Longs,
Safeway, Target, El Cerrito Natural Foods, Huntington park. My
son went to Castro School for a few years and that introduced us
to many of our neighbors. The crime on our street has been
mostly limited to a few stolen cars, tho in the last couple of
months, one of our neighbors had an attempted robbery, which is
quite rare. So we have been pretty happy living here.
This is a post from a friend of mine that lives in the Annex. i
told her about the post and she was wanting to post and tell you
her 2 cents. I do hope that it isn't against the rules....
Hello I am Bobbie, I live in the Annex. I grew up here.
Depending on the location of the house you really need to look
around at night. on the hill closest to the EC Border is VERY
nice great park and close to the stores. Same with close to
Huntington Park. On the areas just beyond the freeway over pass
near the foodmarket and gas station is a bit rundown. BUT if
you are on the hill above Carlson on that side it is a hidden
treasure. Thats where I live. As you know the schools leave a
LOT to be desired. Most are EC Schools though. on the other
side of the freeway nearest Costco is getting better. Here in
the Annex there are middle class working families very
ethnically mixed and for the most part very friendly. My
neighbors are very nice and very diverse. You have many people
like myself that have grown up here and looked to stay when we
bought our house. There are problems like every other
neighborhood whether in a 'rich'or 'poor' part of town. I just
can't get over the fact that the houses are so expensive now.
just look around at night and see for yourself. I hope that you
do pick the Annex we really need great families here.
My child attends an El Cerrito public school with a mix of
families from El Cerrito, the Annex, and nearby communities. El
Cerrito schools are working hard to offer rigorous academics,
improve their music programs, provide more arts instruction, and
some have very high levels of parent involvement. Test scores are
improving too. They aren't perfect but what school district is?
Even the most affluent ones tend to have their share of problems.
The annex is one of the few affordable neighborhoods left in the
East Bay and the schools are fine. Go check them out for
yourself, take tours, talk with parents who are actually
enrolled. Much of the negative stuff I read about the schools is
posted by parents who don't attend or went many years ago. You
may be surprised at what you find.
El Cerrito Public school mom
this page was last updated: Jul 16, 2012
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