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Old 04-27-2010, 09:45 AM
 
18 posts, read 66,197 times
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Hi All,

I am moving to the Bay Area this July from Brooklyn, NY. I will be working in Atherton. So although I love SF, I am trying to avoid the commute. My goal is to live close to Atherton but not in Atherton. I will be renting a one bedroom apartment. I am in my 30s and single so I want an area that isn't solely family based. I also would like to live by the Caltrain and either get an old car for errands or bike as I want to commute to work by train.

So the question is, should I live in Mountain View? Palo Alto, Redwood City, Burlingame and San Mateo are options as well but I keep going back to MV for some reason. I have only passed through it on my way to a concert.

Any opinions on MV or the surrounding peninsula areas I mentioned are MUCH appreciated as I know SF VERY well but not the peninsula.

Many thanks,
Colette
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
1,044 posts, read 2,606,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColetteMK View Post
Hi All,

I am moving to the Bay Area this July from Brooklyn, NY. I will be working in Atherton. So although I love SF, I am trying to avoid the commute. My goal is to live close to Atherton but not in Atherton. I will be renting a one bedroom apartment. I am in my 30s and single so I want an area that isn't solely family based. I also would like to live by the Caltrain and either get an old car for errands or bike as I want to commute to work by train.

So the question is, should I live in Mountain View? Palo Alto, Redwood City, Burlingame and San Mateo are options as well but I keep going back to MV for some reason. I have only passed through it on my way to a concert.

Any opinions on MV or the surrounding peninsula areas I mentioned are MUCH appreciated as I know SF VERY well but not the peninsula.

Many thanks,
Colette
I lived in Mountain View for a year and found it to be OK but a bit overpriced compared with, say, San Jose. But for Caltrain commuting to Atherton it would be a very good choice, in my opinion a bit nicer than either Redwood City or San Mateo, and cheaper than Palo Alto. (I'm not familiar with Burlingame so won't comment about that city.)

I read in the free weekly Mountain View newspaper last year that the city is about 60% renters, so there's certainly no issue of sticking out like a sore thumb in a city full of families. Roughly speaking, the part of the city on the south/west side of El Camino Real is more house/family oriented, whereas the rest (including downtown, which is where the Caltrain station is) leans more heavily toward apartments and condos.

Mountain View has a small but nice downtown with bars, restaurants, coffeeshops, bookshops, etc. It is a bit heavily slanted toward Asian restaurants for my taste but that's just my opinion. Unlike many suburban downtowns, Mountain View's is pretty lively even in the late evening on weekends, more lively in fact than my old San Francisco neighborhood (Inner Sunset).

By the way, if your strategy is to rely on Caltrain to get around on weekends, e.g. to travel up to San Francisco, be aware that they are talking about eliminating all service except weekday rush hours:

Caltrain goes broke, will likely wipe out weekend, night and midday trains - San Jose Mercury News

P.S. Another wrinkle I just discovered is that the Atherton Caltrain station is weekend-only! That certainly changes the equation a bit. You may want to look into Menlo Park, which is between Palo Alto and Atherton. It has a lot of apartments in a similar price range to Mountain View (i.e. cheaper than Palo Alto) and would be a pretty easy bike ride to Atherton. It also has a decent little downtown of its own, in addition to being very close to downtown Palo Alto.

Either that or take the Caltrain to Menlo Park and switch to a bus (or even walk) to get to Atherton, which is only about a mile away from downtown Menlo Park.

Last edited by jbunniii; 04-27-2010 at 10:20 AM..
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:44 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
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Yes, I was going to say, Atherton Caltrain operates on the weekend only. They also discontinued the shuttle because of low ridership. Your only option for a public transit commute would be the bus, which would limit you to being close to El Camino Real.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Northern California
3,704 posts, read 14,090,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonarrat View Post
Yes, I was going to say, Atherton Caltrain operates on the weekend only. They also discontinued the shuttle because of low ridership. Your only option for a public transit commute would be the bus, which would limit you to being close to El Camino Real.
I agree. Go with Redwood City just north of Atherton somewhere near El Camino Real (Hwy 82). You'll be close to the bus stops, stores, restaurants, etc.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:54 AM
 
Location: Central Bay Area, CA as of Jan 2010...but still a proud Texan from Houston!
7,484 posts, read 9,728,732 times
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I second going for Redwood City...it is sooooo beautiful here as well
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:31 AM
 
18 posts, read 66,197 times
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Hi All,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write me!!! Californians are nicer than New Yorkers!!!
My work provides a bus to work from the Menlo Park Station so MV is still an option. Bummer about the Caltrain closing on weekends though!

Thanks again.

Have a great day!

Colette
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
6,662 posts, read 8,082,544 times
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I lived in Mountain View for 10 years and would highly recommend it. I started out renting for 6 years, then bought a house. I've been to Redwood City. It's gotten better over the years, but it's not like Mountain View. If you are renting, you always have the choice of moving later on. I would suggest going to lunch in one place and dinner in another. That would give you an idea of what each area is like, if you have the time.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA / San Rafael, CA
2,352 posts, read 5,041,050 times
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Mountain View is really expensive. I think it's an excellent area to live but you have to have the dough.
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:53 PM
 
Location: The Bay
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RWC is right next to Atherton and there's always buses going from RWC to Palo Alto... you might not want to live in the part of Redwood City that directly borders Atherton though (North Fair Oaks) unless you're familiar/okay with living in predominantly Latino neighborhoods. By predominantly I mean almost 100%... it's also higher crime than the rest of RWC and there are gangs (Nortenos & one or two sureno sets) but it's not really a bad area (unless you make it one). The west side of Redwood City is considered to be the best side... not a lot of apartments unless you live in the first four to six blocks west of El Camino. Redwood City in general is a nice city though... it's probably the most diverse city in the Peninsula barring EPA (East Palo Alto) and imo its the friendliest... none of the snootiness you see in West Menlo Park or Atherton or Palo Alto. I'm in Oakland right now but I'm originally from RWC... to be honest, though, its a little harder if you're black because there is some racial tension between blacks and latinos there which is made worse by the latino gangs... most of the schools in RWC barring Roy Cloud and North Star Academy and (to a lesser extent) Adelante are not doing well... some of them are flat-out terrible.


The vast majority of MV is nice... the only area in MV that I wouldn't particularly want to live in is around Rengstorff, and even that's fine if you're used to that kind of neighborhood... since you're coming from Brooklyn though I'm assuming that you're more or less familiar with the kind of dynamics I'm talking about. One of the bonuses of MV (if you consider it to be a bonus) is that you have access to schools in neighboring higher rent cities such as Los Altos.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
6,662 posts, read 8,082,544 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineties Flava View Post
The vast majority of MV is nice... the only area in MV that I wouldn't particularly want to live in is around Rengstorff, and even that's fine if you're used to that kind of neighborhood... since you're coming from Brooklyn though I'm assuming that you're more or less familiar with the kind of dynamics I'm talking about.
I lived near Rengstorff and California Ave for 6 years, so I knew the neighborhood pretty well. It's not all of Rengstorff Avenue you want to avoid. It's the section of Latham Ave between South Rengstorff and Escuela. It's as much about the crappy apartments as it is about your neighbors. I have heard that there were some problems with gangs hanging around Rengstorff Park, but I don't know what goes on now. It's not like you're going to get mugged if you go there. If you are coming from Brooklyn, you will look around at those areas and wonder what people are getting worked up about. The area of North Rengstorff between the train tracks and 101 is a good area. The problem is that the relatively few gang members give the honest people living there a bad reputation. There are many good parts of Mountain View and a huge variety of apartments in the city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineties Flava View Post
RWC is right next to Atherton and there's always buses going from RWC to Palo Alto... you might not want to live in the part of Redwood City that directly borders Atherton though (North Fair Oaks) unless you're familiar/okay with living in predominantly Latino neighborhoods. By predominantly I mean almost 100%... it's also higher crime than the rest of RWC and there are gangs (Nortenos & one or two sureno sets) but it's not really a bad area (unless you make it one).
Avoiding gangs is understandable. Suggesting that someone might not want to live in a neighborhood that was 100% Latino is interesting. Were you referring to gang activity, or something else?
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