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Old 07-31-2013, 09:42 AM
 
Location: SF Bay area
222 posts, read 383,097 times
Reputation: 177

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Our family has fallen for the peninsula and we are seriously considering moving up from the south bay to either San Carlos, Belmont, or Burlingame. San Carlos and Belmont look like a great fit for us (3 kids are ages 5-10) - good schools, appear to attract down-to earth people, lots of greenery and outdoor options, but as lifelong flatlanders, we don't know how much the hills will drive us nuts. (We're also looking at the flatter eastern areas of SC). We love the looks of many of the streets, the multi-level houses actually work for us as a family and our kids are old enough that we're not terrified of stairs and decks and railings. We just don't know what good and bad things we will be facing if we live on a twisty hilly road. If anyone has personal knowledge or experience, I'd love to hear your opinion - I know east bay and north bay have a lot of these 'hoods as well. Can you still have a strong neighborhood feel? Are there weird issues with constant wind or something we're not aware of? Just how annoying is the parking and driving and dog walking and jogging?

I apologize for what look like completely "duh" questions, but I don't know anyone who's lived in those hills with kids and wanted some personal stories. We're really looking for a community and good neighborliness. Thanks!
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:54 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,235 posts, read 108,093,971 times
Reputation: 116202
Why would hills/winding streets affect the neighborhood feel? If anything, that type of topography creates a greater sense of intimacy and cohesiveness. I lived in the Berkeley/Oakland hills, and lots of people jogged or walked their dogs. I wouldn't jog on that type of terrain, but it's a great workout! Why would parking be annoying? One advantage to that type of terrain is that there can be cul-de-sacs that make for great places for kids to play. It's easier for parents to keep their eyes on kids, too, when there's a dead-end street like that. There generally aren't wind issues, but breezes are a good thing; they keep the temp. cool. The views from hilly areas are often spectacular!

I think you're over-worrying this.
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:21 PM
 
Location: SF Bay area
222 posts, read 383,097 times
Reputation: 177
I appreciate your response. I haven't been in the east bay hills much, it sounds somewhat different from the tortuous narrow hills of Belmont and San Carlos that we are looking at. Many people appear to park on the street since it seems to be really difficult to get into/out of their driveways, and that makes it appear a little more challenging to use the roads as a pedestrian. Just don't want to choose hills over flatlands and then discover that the topography is driving us nuts on a daily basis and have buyer's remorse.

As far as the neighbors, a lot of these streets only have houses on one side - the opposite side is the base of a hill - the back yard of the next street over, basically - except the next street over is a hundred feet higher. Wondered if that fostered greater camaraderie or more isolation.

https://www.google.com/maps/preview#...9!4f13.1&fid=5

Here's an example of the narrowness with on-street parking
https://www.google.com/maps/preview#...3!4f13.1&fid=5
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:23 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,235 posts, read 108,093,971 times
Reputation: 116202
It looks beautiful! I don't see why the driveways are difficult to get into and out of. It's the on-street parking that make it difficult. If everyone parked in their garages, there wouldn't be a problem.

It seems like the cohesiveness would be among neighbors sharing a street, i.e., all the people who are on the same level. It all depends on the neighbors, of course. One thing you could do is host a neighborhood party to get to know everyone on your block, after you move in. Get things off to a good start. A casual backyard cocktail party, or something. Then, out of courtesy, your guests would feel obligated to reciprocate (if anyone bothers with reciprocity anymore), so you'd be on their party lists, and would thereby gain additional opportunities to socialize with your neighbors.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,226 posts, read 36,916,687 times
Reputation: 28563
Quote:
Originally Posted by butercup View Post
I appreciate your response. I haven't been in the east bay hills much, it sounds somewhat different from the tortuous narrow hills of Belmont and San Carlos that we are looking at. Many people appear to park on the street since it seems to be really difficult to get into/out of their driveways, and that makes it appear a little more challenging to use the roads as a pedestrian. Just don't want to choose hills over flatlands and then discover that the topography is driving us nuts on a daily basis and have buyer's remorse.

As far as the neighbors, a lot of these streets only have houses on one side - the opposite side is the base of a hill - the back yard of the next street over, basically - except the next street over is a hundred feet higher. Wondered if that fostered greater camaraderie or more isolation.

https://www.google.com/maps/preview#...9!4f13.1&fid=5

Here's an example of the narrowness with on-street parking
https://www.google.com/maps/preview#...3!4f13.1&fid=5
Depends on the street. There are streets like this around the corner from me in Oakland. I think camaraderie is 100% dependent on your neighbors and not the street layout.

Personally I find that sort of layout annoying backing out and when having friends come over.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:15 PM
 
12,823 posts, read 24,425,290 times
Reputation: 11042
Pros:
- Generally less dense (which can also be a con)
- Generally more natural vegetation and less artificial landscaping (but note wildfire con)
- More wild life (note related con)
- Better cold air drainage in winter (good for citrus)
- Unless you are near a creek or on an unstable slope, minimal flood risk

Cons:
- May be less walkable. Some areas lack safe sidewalks.
- Much higher wildfire risk than the flatlands
- Many more animal problems than most flatland areas. Some are actually dangerous (big cats, coyotes, and already in the North Bay, bears ... soon coming to all hill areas)
- Being above the inversion can mean less cooling at night when we get a heat wave
- Some slopes are unstable, and many areas have very expansive, hygroscopic soils.
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:54 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,235 posts, read 108,093,971 times
Reputation: 116202
Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
Pros:
- Generally less dense (which can also be a con)
- Generally more natural vegetation and less artificial landscaping (but note wildfire con)
- More wild life (note related con)
- Better cold air drainage in winter (good for citrus)
- Unless you are near a creek or on an unstable slope, minimal flood risk

Cons:
- May be less walkable. Some areas lack safe sidewalks.
- Much higher wildfire risk than the flatlands
- Many more animal problems than most flatland areas. Some are actually dangerous (big cats, coyotes, and already in the North Bay, bears ... soon coming to all hill areas)
- Being above the inversion can mean less cooling at night when we get a heat wave
- Some slopes are unstable, and many areas have very expansive, hygroscopic soils.
Going by the photos, some of these points don't apply to the area the OP is considering. These sound like East Bay hills descriptions.

"Safe" sidewalks? Parts of the Oakland hills don't have sidewalks, nor do they need them. Only locals drive through there, and they deal with their own local pedestrians/neighbors just fine. No bit cats or coyotes in Berkeley or north Oakland, either. (Really? Coyotes??) The only wildlife I ever encountered was deer and quail. I can imagine Marin could be different, though.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:15 PM
 
10,920 posts, read 6,922,286 times
Reputation: 4942
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Going by the photos, some of these points don't apply to the area the OP is considering. These sound like East Bay hills descriptions.

"Safe" sidewalks? Parts of the Oakland hills don't have sidewalks, nor do they need them. Only locals drive through there, and they deal with their own local pedestrians/neighbors just fine. No bit cats or coyotes in Berkeley or north Oakland, either. (Really? Coyotes??) The only wildlife I ever encountered was deer and quail. I can imagine Marin could be different, though.
There are most certainly coyotes in the East Bay hills. There are even coyotes within the city limits of SF. They're pretty good at staying out of sight, though, so it's very unlikely you'll see one.

There are also mountain lions in the hills/mountains of the Bay Area, but the chance of seeing you/encountering one is very, very low.

Last edited by HockeyMac18; 07-31-2013 at 06:33 PM..
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
3,980 posts, read 8,996,067 times
Reputation: 4728
Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMac18 View Post
There are most certainly coyotes in the East Bay hills. There are even coyotes within the city limits of SF. They're pretty good at staying out of sight, though, so you're very unlikely to see one.

There are also mountain lions in the hills/mountains of the Bay Area, but the chance of seeing you/encountering one is very, very low.
I actually have a coyote den on my property (East Bay). Every year the pup(s) grow up and they come back to their area. Crazy watching this coyote walking past my tomato plants 15 ft away from me! My next door neighbor found mountain lion cra* (err, "scat") on his back deck (had it identified at Lindsay Museum)....lots of crazy critters around here!
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:35 PM
 
24,410 posts, read 27,021,173 times
Reputation: 20015
Quote:
Originally Posted by butercup View Post
Our family has fallen for the peninsula and we are seriously considering moving up from the south bay to either San Carlos, Belmont, or Burlingame. San Carlos and Belmont look like a great fit for us (3 kids are ages 5-10) - good schools, appear to attract down-to earth people, lots of greenery and outdoor options, but as lifelong flatlanders, we don't know how much the hills will drive us nuts. (We're also looking at the flatter eastern areas of SC). We love the looks of many of the streets, the multi-level houses actually work for us as a family and our kids are old enough that we're not terrified of stairs and decks and railings. We just don't know what good and bad things we will be facing if we live on a twisty hilly road. If anyone has personal knowledge or experience, I'd love to hear your opinion - I know east bay and north bay have a lot of these 'hoods as well. Can you still have a strong neighborhood feel? Are there weird issues with constant wind or something we're not aware of? Just how annoying is the parking and driving and dog walking and jogging?

I apologize for what look like completely "duh" questions, but I don't know anyone who's lived in those hills with kids and wanted some personal stories. We're really looking for a community and good neighborliness. Thanks!
It comes down to personal preference. I actually like the feeling of twisty hilly neighborhoods.

Pros:

Potentially beautiful views
More privacy
Quaint atmosphere
Unique
Less road noise

Cons:

Uses More Gas
Requires more work to mow the lawn or add to your house
Slow MPH
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