Experience living at University Village?

Apologies in advance for the grammar in this post, English is not my first language. We have been offered a spot in the East Village, we feel very lucky to have this opportunity, but we want to make sure that UC village is the right choice for us. We would love to hear your experience, and your opinion about the facilities, community, and living conditions in general. About us: 30yo, with a 6mo daughter, my husband is a PhD student at UCB and I work full-time in the Peninsula (remotely for an unlimited duration). We are mostly interested in hearing about the followings: - noise: between the highway, the Amtrak, San Pablo av. and the basketball court, how noisy does it get? - day-care: how hard is it to find daycare in the area? Does anyone have experience with UCB ECEP? - we have been offered a 2bdr/1bath townhouse in east village, by the basketball court: what is your opinion on this type of unit? In terms of light, volume, appliances.. (we cannot visit due to covid restrictions) - we currently live in San Francisco: we really like going out (cafes restaurants museum) although we miss parks and squares for our little one. I understand it is a trade-off, but I'd love to hear your experience on this type of transition. - community garden: how likely is it that we would get a plot? Hard to find this info online.

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I'll speak to ECEP. Our daughter was there almost 4 years of preschool. She thrived with the wonderful teachers and enriching curriculum. The other families were great too. Happy to tell you more if that's of interest. 

Hi there,
I am a village resident, have been for a couple years. I'm 28 with a 2 month old daughter and my partner is in the graduate program at UCB. We love it here in west village. Living conditions are fine, the space is adequate given the affordable price. Noise was an issue at our 1 bedroom apartment because our neighbor above us was frequently up late. Nothing can be heard from our neighbors on either side of us. I realize noise levels would depend on the exact layout of your apartment, and which floor you're on, etc. but would likely be minimal. Most residents are conscious of their noise levels especially since there is quiet hours I believe 10pm-8am. I like walking over by the basketball court area, it is nice actually. I often see people playing basketball, but not so much late at night...again, it depends on how tolerant you are of the sound.
San Pablo is not a problem noise wise for us--we are near 6th Street. The train is louder over by West End Way (our previous place), but not so loud where we are currently.Trains do not sound their horns in middle of the night. We got used to that sound pretty quickly and was never really an issue, though we do sleep with a white noise sound machine.
I'm still deciding on how to approach the daycare situation myself given the obstacles of the virus...if you find out more about the university sponsored one, please share.
There are nice places to walk nearby and we are next to the bay trail along the water--easy to access from the village. Parks are off limits currently so I cannot advise on the best nearby. Restaurants are good on Solano from my experience. Lots of great options! I look forward to going to a sit down restraunt when they are allowed to open indoor dining.
I do not have experience regarding the garden situation though I've heard emails to buy/receive a plot are at a slow halt...maybe that's changed since I heard a couple weeks ago. The garden sure is beautiful from the outside though 😊.

Hi Grad Parents

My son, daughter-in-law and twins lived in Albany  Village for about two years two years ago. I was their caretaker for two days a week for two years, so have a lot of day-time experience with the village. Their two-BR, 1 BA apartment was right across from the bigger playground, just steps away.  They also had a garden plot which was well used. Although not the cheapest digs in the world, it seems ideal for parents of young children. Their is a playground in every section, the laundry is just across the quad, and there are tons of kids for playmates. I visited the childcare center which looked great. There were also gymboree classes and other activities available.  I never noticed noise from the trains or from traffic. Maybe you cannot visit inside, but the entire village is open for walking around, or driving around, so please go have a look. The units are small but well designed, with an eat-in kitchen.

I actually grew up in University Village in the 80s & 90s - it was a wonderful place to be a kid, very multicultural and always someone to play with! The current units are all newer (built last 20ish years) and much nicer than the ones I lived in, though on the small side. It's a pretty easy walk to Solano Ave shops & restaurants. We lived in the northwest corner near what used to be the park; the trains were audible occasionally but not intrusive.

I've only visited UVA, but regarding childcare: infant care is normally challenging to find, and especially challenging given the Covid-19 situation. Nanny share is a better bet. We're in ECEP which is a good program, but they slashed the number of slots due to COVID-19 guidelines from the state. We were lucky to be offered a preschool slot. Same with all the other centers. They just assigned spots for their 8/13 opening, and the next openings won't be until January 2021.

Solano Avenue nearby has restaurants and is family friendly. There's open space in UVA, Berkeley parks, and Tilden Regional Park up in the hills. 

I've recently heard some awful things about Albany Village. People are not socially isolating, wearing masks or being careful with following any Covid guidelines. I have a friend who is moving out because she does not feel safe there. It used to be a wonderful place for young families. There have also been a number of recent thefts in the area. 

We lived at the university village for 5.5 years, most of them at the townhome. We moved out in October 2013. It was a best time of our family lives. The village is made for families with young children. The playgrounds are numerous and are walking distance. Now there is even a Whole Foods nearby and Sprouts. There is a community center. There are kids classes you can sign up for, again walking distance. Noise: our townhome was facing the courtyard. I do not remember having problems with either San Pablo Ave or Amtrak. BART you can hear from any part of Berkeley or Albany. Daycare is a bit more complicated...to get a slot you have to apply pre-conception, or you are late. Maybe it changed since then. You should apply anyway because the application is free. Albany USD runs their own preschool program. Application is also free and it is worth exploring. I used a family-based daycare on the route AC transit #52 which runs (or at least ran in the past) between the village and the university campus and walking distance from the North Berkeley BART station. When I lived in the village, all utilities, internet and TV cable was included in the price of the rent. Washer and dryer is shared in the courtyard and are coin-operated. There are no dishwashers in the apartments and none are allowed. With regards to the community garden, it is facing the highway, I did not feel like using it. Going out (COVID aside) there is Solano avenue with shops and cafes and the 4th st (short drive). When we lived in the village, we would get to a meetup place in SF faster than our friends from SF, because the UC village is right next to the highway

Hi there,

     Right now I can tell you that the master keys for the entire village were stolen and we are living in unsafe apartments where the thief can come in at any time. It will take two weeks for them to give us all new locks and keys. I would only consider moving here if finances are tight and you need to relocate for this matter.

The noise really depends on where you live in the village and how close you are to the train, it also depends on how kind your neighbors are. If you have an apartment by the basketball court, I could also see that being more noisy.  

Daycare, I am not too familiar with, but early education is non-existent at the moment and they are not enrolling any new students.  

The apartments are in good shape from the outside, but they are not maintained that well inside and chances are that you will need to call maintenance a few times to fix some items in the kitchen and bathroom.  The refrigerators ( at least ours) is from 2007, but be careful breaking it because they charge 50-100 for just a crack when you move out.  

There is no AC or central air, dishwasher, and the community garden has been closed for sometime.

With covid there are not that many places to go too aside from a few outside locations on Solano, and of course, we have some outside areas, but parks are closed and neighbors are very vigilant that no one is on them at all times.

The laundry machines were going to be replaced, but that seems to be on hold.

There is a high rate of auto theft (someones truck and another car were stolen in the last few months), and there is also mailbox break-ins. Many folks have been missing mail and USPS and the village do not want to hold one another responsible. One of the issues is that while the Village is in Albany, we must wait for UCPD to come from campus area all the way here, so nothing gets solved quickly.

I encourage you to add yourself to the Village fb group (UC Berkeley Student Parents and Village Residents Community Group) so that you can hear from residents and pose your question there. 

So I've been living in an UVA east village townhouse for the past 3 years, same kind of unit as yours. I do like the unit and I used to love having an upstairs...but fair warning, our son has actually fallen down the stairs--even with baby gates installed. He was fine, but it was terrifying and I likely won't pick a two-level place with young children again. 

noise level: it's relatively quiet, probably the quietest place I've lived in. The walls are well insulated, though a lot does depend on your neighbors. You're likely to have cooperative neighbors if the children are older...but obviously, many babies and toddlers scream. So there's not much you can do if you're living next to a colicky baby. I don't hear much of the highway from here. 

light/etc: It depends on what direction you are facing, but we get plenty of light in every room. The appliances are operable and basic. Staff respond to issues quickly. 

community garden: it depends on the time of year. It just reached capacity a few months, but had opening only a few months ago and will likely have openings again in the fall. There are many abandoned garden plots--but they won't reassign those unless the "owners" actually give them up. 

daycare: Your chances of willing the lottery may be better than your chances of getting in at ECEP. They have something like 3 subsidized spots for many grade levels--and this was before the pandemic. Put in an application anyway, then look for more likely options. Daycares can be tricky at the moment--I see more parents figuring out in-home and nanny-sharing options. 

Hi! I have been leaving in the UC village for 2.5 years. I am studying a Ph.D., I have a 3yo and I am expecting my second child. The noise from the Amtrak is something I dont think about anymore. When we arrived we lived in the west part and we heard the trains more, although it was never a problem. I never woke us or our then baby. Now we live in the east part en we nearly don't hear it. Our 3yo attended a home-based daycare since he was one until right before the Covid-19 hit. He is starting preschool in two weeks. We did not have any problems finding daycare or preschool, there are many options in the areas. The search tool on this website is very useful. We also enjoy going out and there are many options for activities and restaurants in the area. Solano street it's just 10 to 15 minutes walking and has a great variety of restaurants and coffee shops. We also like the many green areas and playgrounds available at a very short distance. I dont have experience applying for the community garden. 
Overall we really enjoy living in the UC village, especially because its very kids friendly and the location is very convenient.