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My husband & I have been renting a wonderful small home in Oakland for the past year and a half. We love it. It's challenging with no off street parking, but LOVE the neighborhood (off Harrison, between 580 and Whole Foods). However, we pay quite a bit in rent ($2.6K), and with the recent addition of our son we are looking to cut some costs, mainly because I do not want to return to work. Things we love about where we are: walkability to Lake Merritt, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. easy commute to city, 1 mile from Bart, etc.
With all of that said, we are considering moving to Richmond, the North & East neighborhood (almost $1K less in rent). My concerns, safety - is it safe? We pulled out of the house we were looking at and drove by some 'gangster' looking types with a very large pit-bull that they couldn't really control and they were counting a large wad of cash- yes, it seemed like something you'd see in a movie. A little intimidating! Is this normal? I'd also like to add we have a pit, and she is a sweetheart and I am not one to judge breeds, but the situation as a whole was questionable. Commute - my husband works in Berkeley, so we are not worried about him. But if I do go back to work, I would be commuting to the Mission in SF. I would ideally carpool. Can anyone offer insight on carpooling from Richmond VS. taking Bart. Bart is far from my office, but if you feel it's better than carpooling, please say so. Thank you!! to stay or go
- Each block varies a lot. Talk to your potential neighbors when you're house hunting. And drive during different parts of the day.
- There is a very involved network of people who live in the neighborhood, including an online yahoo board, neighborhood patrol program where neighbors walk the streets weekly, and a new parents club. Lots of highly motivated people who want to keep making the city better.
- Schools are not good. I would never send my kid to the schools in the area as is, but there are descent schools within the district and you can request transfers to. My neighbor's daughters were able to go to El Cerrito high, which is pretty descent. There are also elementary schools in Pinole that are good. A slight drive but there are options if you're willing to put in some extra work and time. (Actually some of us have recently talked about enrolling our kids in the neighborhood elementary school, commit to being actively involved and helping turn it around....still considering that approach)
I have a 10 month old and we walk the neighborhood quite regularly. And there are several updated and very nice parks. Plus an excellent community pool (The Plunge) that was recently refurbished. Things you don't think of when you think Richmond.
In terms of commute into the city, I used to work in the Financial District and would drive to Ranch 99 and take casual carpool and AC Transit back. I prefer AC Transit because it's less crowded than BART and the transbay buses are pretty nice. Depending on where you are in the city, that might be an option.
Would I live in a city like Albany with better schools, and nice downtown etc if I had the money? Sure. But N&E is also an affordable nice option in the Bay Area people don't often think about.
We have the newly remodeled Burg Park one block away and the other newly remodeled Solano Playlot 5 blocks up from us. We go a lot and have been meeting lots of folks with kids who were in the same situation as us: priced out and looking for a safe, child-friendly neighborhood.
I would say stay within these parameters: Between Barrett & McBryde on your North/South and between 28th and San Pablo Ave on your East/West. Hope this helps! NE Richmond Neighbor. Melanie
Re: Moving out of Berkeley
My husband and I came to Berkeley when he was a grad student in 1981. When we began to think about having kids and having a house, we ended up in northeast Richmond. Fast forward a bunch of years and I can't tell you how much I like my neighborhood. I live in the Mira Vista neighborhood, often called Richmond View, we are about a block from the El Cerrito border. I can walk to bart in 15 minutes, there are constant AC transit busses going up Barrett Ave to the Arlington (to Berkeley) and of course the 72Rapid bus on San Pablo Avenue. My children, now in their 20's, basically went to Berkeley/Albany for a lot of things: soccer, church, friends, etc., so while we have lived in Richmond we basically did activities/friends/church/soccer etc., just about everywhere. My mortgage is low and has always been low. When my friends' mortgages were $1,000 per month, mine was $450/month. We are a lovely neighborhood, have more feeling of community than ever, block parties, etc. A new Grocery Outlet store is going to open at the corner of McDonald and SP Avenue, within walking distance for many of us. I also recommend Laura Dubonnet, realtor with Marvin Gardens, who has sold a lot of homes in my area. I can't describe the feeling in going somewhere a person can actually AFFORD! Richmond view happy resident
Re: What are the Good Neighborhoods in Richmond?
I have lived in northeast Richmond for a very long time and am very happy with my neighborhood. I live east of San Pablo Avenue (but still close to San Pablo Avenue) between Barrett and McDonald Streets. Our homes are well-maintained and people are caring. The accessibility to both bart and the AC transit bus lines is extremely convenient. I could easily live here without a car. We are presently trying to decide what to do with the corners on McDonald Avenue and San Pablo. People are very caring about what goes in those spots in our neighborhood. I can get to Point Isabel in 10 minutes, to the EC Plaza in 10 minutes, to HIlltop Mall in 10 minutes, to Pt Richmond in 10 minutes. I think it is perfect. Point Richmond is lovely, but besides being expensive, I think it is isolated and, despite the fact that the lovely Plunge is there, I think it is too far away from things. But that's just me. Point Richmond has a strong sense of community too. Most of us feel that our city is overly criticized due to a few bad eggs - depending on the neighborhood, we have a nice, affordable place to live. Richmond resident
Re: Moving elderly relative to San Pablo
she should look in the north & east neighborhood in richmond. don't know san pablo as well but have friends there. one family lives around market and 19th, not far from the senior center. they've not had any problems. another who lives in a nicer looking area around st paul's has had problems with loud neighbors, but that could happen anywhere. richmond is ok
Re: Moving to Richmond this month
We moved to the North and East neightborhood of Richmond 3 years ago and have had a good experience. We have never had any issues with security and like our neighbors. I love that we are so close to everything - I can be in Berkeley in 5-10 minutes. There are lots of activities in the area, including the Bay Trail along the water, Pt Richmond, Pt Isabelle Park, El Cerrito Plaza for shopping, Wildcat Canyon Park, a Farmers Market, etc. happy richmond resident
Re: Living in Richmond when most of our friends don't
We moved to Richmond (North and East) 2 years ago and for various reasons my older daughter had already started private school in Berkeley. I am excited about the small charter co-op middle school currently on Barrett in the 30's. I don't have personal experience with the elementary schools but our local one looks dismal to me from the outside, and I have heard that the poorest and neediest schools in West County are the very last on the list to be remodeled (they started with Kensington and some in El Cerrito) I would presume this is because the parents have less vocal presence- i.e. many non-English speaking parents, many working more than one job with no time to lobby for their schools, etc. In short I really like living in Richmond, and it was more worth it to us to buy a house than rent in a ''good'' school district. Also, much can change by the time your little one is in kindergarten, and there are several good transfer possibilities if needed, too. Nearby we like going to Point Pinole regional park- pretty bay trails, playground, passing trains at one point, plus small beachy area (non-swim.)we love the restaurants, too and Williams Natural Grocery, proximity to Marin hiking, Alvarado park- wildcat canyon. There's supposed to be an organic farm (in Richmond! off sp dam rd I think) I have not seen them at the local farmer's market but heard they are providing some organic produce and programs in some of the poorest schools and via a farmer's market. what else? Richmond Art Center (also in dire financial trouble,)NIAD, East Bay Performing Arts Center, point richmond's beach trail and mini railroad museum. And FYI all Richmond homeowners can get a free eval. to see if you have room for a FREE adopt-a-tree (street tree for free!- you water it and knock out the concrete if needed which really isn't that hard.)They plant year round and give you a choice of trees that will work for your spot. I'll repost with the tree info. Yes many people have a bad impression of Richmond, I did too until we moved here. Now I Really Like it though can't quite say I love it (more trees please!!)Email if you'd like to.... chris
My husband and I would like some more recent feedback on living in north and east richmond. we are contemplating a couple properties in the area (from 35th to 40th and around cross streets of roosevelt) and would like your feedback. i see some other postings but they are a few years old. We have a son but are going to go the private school route (we believe in public ) but just think this is best for our son. so school system is not so much an issue. but here are my questions: Do you feel safe? Do your kids feel safe? I notice the market has dived, what do you think about property value now? THANK YOU!
The Good- We feel like part of an enthusiastic, concerned community and know many of our neighbors. I walk my son to preschool (on 37th) and we take walks around the neighborhood quite often. He has a friend who lives down the street and they play (supervised, of course) out front for hours. We see a lot of other young families out taking walks and have met quite a few while playing outside. The area is getting an influx of young families with a desire to fix up their homes, and you can see quite a few cool places around- almost feels like Albany or Berkeley. We have Artist Open Homes during the summer, great art classes at the Richmond Art Center, story time at the Richmond Library, a cool new coffee house (Catahoula Coffee), an active and vibrant online community and more.
Try to stick close to Clinton hill, the 30's (streets), and between Roosevelt and Esmond. Home values have really come down and now is a good time to buy. They probably haven't hit bottom, though.
The Bad - Obviously Richmond has a lot of problems, but the vast majority of the news-worthy crimes are happening in the Iron Triangle and North Richmond areas. There are a lot of car thefts and burglaries, so plan on a good security system for both. The break-ins I know of involve common mistakes like leaving windows open and people not having/setting their alarms. However, these things happen everywhere.
The Ugly- You will probably hear very occasional gunshots (took me years to figure out those weren't firecrackers), mostly during the summer and coming from outside the N&E boundary.
Bottom line- we can afford to live here, we love our neighbors, we are part of a cool neighborhood, we feel safe here and will gladly stay until we outgrow our little 2 bedroom house! Good luck! Tammy
There is a small charter public middle school Manzanita in the neighborhood which is an excellent option if you don't always want to stay with private- and also a charter high school in the annex. For public elementary school there is also an opportunity to transfer into Pt Richmond Washington School for their dual-immersion Spanish program which seems very good and not so hard to get into as Berkeley or other such public school programs. Just to mention that there is hope in the impoverished west county district. We love being so close to Marin for hiking, etc. There are a few great restaurants, small health food store, Richmond Library, Richmond Art Center, Bay Trail nearby, many Mexican and Ecuadorian restaurants. Really nice neighbors. Cons: commuting to Berkeley for said private school is stressful for me even though we carpool and have access to carpool lane. Safety questions mixed: generally I do feel safe and have accidentally left van door wide open overnight and/ or keys with car and house keys in the trunk lock visible from street, without incidents. But I don't feel safe to have my kids (9 and 6) go walking in the neighborhood without an adult at any time (and I was taking public transportation by myself in NYC at age 7)and generally I don't find it pleasant to go for long walks around the neighborhood. And our neighborhood just lost two beautiful men (the owners of Sahib restaurant)who were murdered as they were closing up their restaurant. I would say it could happen anywhere and it seems like because it was Richmond it is not getting as much media attention as it would in a wealthier community. Another con: we need more trees! some of the blocks where you are looking have good established street trees, but many areas have had all street trees removed at some point, and you can get Richmond to plant a new tree by your house, but many people don't know, or are actually tree phobic and don't want them. email if you'd like chris
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