Living in Crocker Highlands

Parent Q&A

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  • 606 - Berkeley - Oakland - H.Royce School

    We're moving to Crocker Highland's next month and would love to take advantage of the 606 route that goes down Mandana to get to and from Lakeshore.  It looks like the route only makes two trips--one in the AM and one in the afternoon, mainly servicing Head Royce.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to see if they could add more trips so it runs a few more times throughout the day? Has anyone tried this before?  If there is enough interest, we could organize to pitch to AC transit.

    Thanks in advance,


    All of the bus routes with the format 6xx are school routes, so they are funded through specific programs to get children to and from school. They align to the school bell schedules, and most don't run during the summer or on school holidays. Most of those routes don't have enough ridership to exist outside of school hours, though you can certainly write to suggest that they explore adding regular service there as well. The 29 already runs along Lakeshore so your best bet in the interim may be to walk to one of its stops.

    I live in the Crocker Highland's neighborhood, but from what I know, the AC transit 600 lines are for kids going and coming from school. My two sons use the 655 and 648 to go to Montera middle school and Skyline high school. That's why they only run twice a day and they only operate on scheduled school days.  I'm guessing anyone can ride those buses, but it would be a challenge, I think to ride with a bunch of middle schoolers!

    As others have said, all the 6XX routes only exist to get kids to school.  They will not be expanded except if they are full at school time and a second run is added.  This did happen for a while with the 606 on the afternoon run; the bus is more popular in the afternoon and it was filling up, so AC Transit added a second run 10 minutes after the first.  However, once the ridership dropped back down again through normal fluctuations, they canceled that run.  By the way, my kids have taken this bus daily for 12 years, and while it is very convenient, I wouldn't call it 100% reliable.  Sometimes it just doesn't show up; sometimes it shows up so late the kids are late to school.  All complaints to AC Transit have largely gone unheeded.

    thanks everyone! really appreciate this helpful info.

  • Crocker Bound

    Aug 16, 2016

    Our family may move to Crocker Highlands.  It's such a lovely neighborhood.  I have a few lifestyle related questions:

    - How many children was Crocker Elementary oversubscribed by for this year's kindergarten class?  What other schools were they assigned?

    - Where do neighborhood kids go swimming and/or take swim lessons?

    - Do kids walk around the neighborhood to play with neighbors or are they generally driven even a few blocks. 

    - How advisable is it to bike in the neighborhood?

    - is there a neighborhood park where you'll run into neighbors?  I see some parks nearby but not in Crocker per se.   


    I live in an adjacent neighborhood, and can only comment on some of your questions.

    For swimming, there is Lions pool at Dimond Park and Live Oak pool near Oakland High School. My daughter too lessons at Lions, and my only complaint was how cold it still was at 9 or 9:30 when she had her lessons (outdoor pool; I expect this is a common problem at outdoor pools in the Bay Area).

    Biking: The area is extremely hilly. I'd be less concerned about danger from cars and more about a) your kids' stamina and enthusiasm for tackling the hills and b) them keeping control of their speed on a steep grade.

    I run into my daughter's friends and their parents all the time on Lakeshore Ave. There's a little wedge of park at Lakeshore and Mandana that gets more use than one might expect. Dracena Park, which is actually in Piedmont, is popular. There's another Piedmont play area on Linda Ave next to Beach Elementary School. Dimond Park has a nice playground, a creek, and lots of running around room, in addition to the pool.

    Piedmont Pool is great, although we also go to Aquatech in Alameda for year round lessons. It is generally very hilly, so not sure about bikes.  Our park situation is grim over here, mostly go to Piedmont parks (drive) or parks by the lake.  No idea about the School situation because we live on the physical line for Crocker and Cleveland.  We ultimately chose an Independent school for various reasons.  Crocker Highlands seemed great but very white and homogeneous. Cleveland seems very alive, diverse, but not as funded and campus is very open in a high dense populated neighborhood. Crocker is a great neighborhood! 

Before you make the move, you should research how Berkeley assigns public schools, because this may mean that walking to school is not possible. I know people that are not able to attend the schools closest to them, but love how diverse in a socioeconomic way this makes them. If Oakland is also on your radar, Crocker Highlands is a great neighborhood with a great elementary school, not as diverse as we would like, but still lovely in other ways. There certainly are families of all colors in the same ish tax bracket. Piedmont might also be more inclusive than certain Peninsula cities, but still very white. It is also a very small city, so there is a real sense of neighborly connection there for better or worse. I agree it's not for everyone. People who live there do walk to school and it is very child/family focused.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Crocker Highlands - what's your experience?

Aug 2013

After looking at homes in Berkeley for about a year, we are totally discouraged by the high prices and low inventory and have begun to look elsewhere. I never thought I would even consider Oakland (crime, iffy schools, etc.), but we just went to an open house in Crocker Highlands and were totally impressed. The housing stock is lovely, the streets are walkable and lined with trees, and we saw lots of kids and people outside in their yards. The elementary school there is supposed to be great (and apparently the middle school is getting better all the time). The commercial district nearby is filled with great shops and restaurants, the farmer's market is fantastic, and 580 is easy to access if you are commuting south or west.

So, all you Crocker HIghlands parents: is it as great as it looks? Do you love your public schools? Do you feel safe? Should we make the leap, and if so, what should we know before we go? Optimistic about Oakland

Yes, it is that great! (Well, okay, we don't have children at Crocker, so I'll leave the school question to those who do--though it is worth noting that Oakland's recently departed superintendent sent his own children there, which is a vote of confidence in my book!) But as far as the neighborhood--yes, we think the Grand Lake/Lakeshore neighborhood is pretty terrific and getting better every year. We actually live on the opposite side of the commercial district (priced out of Crocker/Trestle Glen, sadly) but would move there in a heartbeat if we had the opportunity. However, we enjoy the same shops, restaurants, farmers' market, and overall community, and it's a wonderful place to live, especially with young children. (If you have preschoolers, you must go to storytime at Lakeview Library, where 'Miss Miriam,' the children's librarian, is phenomenal.) There is some crime, but it's primarily property crime and pretty comparable to what I experienced living in Elmwood in Berkeley before we moved here. When there is more sinister crime (which is rare), I am always impressed by the immediate community response--the merchant district in particular is extremely well organized and very quick to address issues, and many of the residential areas have active neighborhood groups. The one challenge on the crime front is that OPD is very under resourced and definitely not as good at responding and following up as BPD was--though we do have a terrific neighborhood services coordinator who does her best to push for followup and keep lines of communication open between OPD and residents. Honestly, my biggest issue with the area is that it's a long walk to BART (and even longer from the Crocker side than from ours). The Transbay bus and casual carpool are both great commute options into San Francisco, though, and it's easy to get to Downtown Oakland and Downtown Berkeley via transit if that's where you're headed. The houses in Crocker are gorgeous, too, and many parts of the neighborhood are in a HOA that dates back to the 1920s and helps to maintain the sidewalks and amenities even when the city is stretched thin. Definitely give it a good look--Oakland may surprise you! Grand Lake fan

We bought in Crocker a few months ago for lots of the reasons mentioned in your post. We started looking in Albany and Berkeley, and decided the only Oakland neighborhood we'd consider was Rockridge. After six months or so we got discouraged by the high prices and tiny lots and/or tiny houses in central areas. Our daughter isn't yet in elementary school, but everything we've seen and heard about Crocker Highlands Elementary is positive (we live near the school). Lots of families live here and more are moving here - it seems like every day on the Crocker playground we meet a couple in tech who's recently moved from San Francisco for the elementary school and prices appear to be trending up. Crocker is a friendly, neighborhood-y place: people are out walking their dogs at night, neighbors chat with each other, the houses are beautiful and well maintained, and there are lots of fun shops in walking distance. That said, it's Oakland. The OPD's not exactly an award-winning institution. There has been a rash of property crimes in Crocker, and some violent crimes on Lakeshore and Grand avenues. Everyone in the neighborhood has a home alarm system. But while there are certainly neighborhoods in Oakland where I feel nervous walking around (heck, parts of Berkeley make me nervous), Crocker isn't one of them. Happy Crocker mom

This neighborhood is as good as it looks- better, even! If I could afford it I would sooooo live there. Do it. You will NOT regret it for a second. Mailisha

Not sure you will find Crocker Highlands or adjacent Glenview housing prices much less than Berkeley. The area is very 'hot'. The area is indeed terrific though and the primary schools acclaimed. It is as 'good as it looks' & crime is low in the immediate vicinity. You might do well to spend some time with a local realtor, here is a recommendation: Nancy is a long time Oakland resident with two teenagers raised there. Hope this helps!

April 2012

Re: Moving to Oakland with small children

Crocker Highlands has a good elementary school, very cute houses, seems to have an active family/community vibe (we go play on their school playground sometimes and it's always full of families hanging out together on weekends); not necessarily easy to walk to things from there.

Crocker Highlands or Piedmont?

Feb 2012

We are considering moving to the East Bay from the Peninsula. We started looking at open houses just to get a feel for costs and locations. We loved the houses in Crocker Highlands and lower Piedmont. Both are doable for us price wise. We are not sure if we'd go public or private for middle and high school, so that needs to be factored in. Our son hasn't fit in at public school though he's fine academically. We'd like a friendly neighborhood as we don't have any family in the area. We both work and are professionals but don't come from money. Would either of these two areas work or should we look elsewhere. Where to live?

I've lived in Crocker Highlands for ten years and I love it. Beautiful houses, a great dog trail, and the best part is our neighborhood is indeed neighborly. When I walk the dog, I usually stop to visit with the amazing variety of people who populate this great place. If your intention is to be in a diverse, safe, beautiful neighborhood, Crocker's it. You'll definitely get more house here than Piedmont. If you intend to send your child to private schools, I'd consider Crocker. My suggestion: Spend as much time as you can in both areas. Assess what's most important. Crocker tends to be walking distance to transportation, grocery, restaurants... You'll make the best decision for yourself. I love Crocker. No regrets. Happy Crocker Resident

Jan 2012

Re: Best neighborhood for commute to south bay
My husband commutes to the south bay (Santa Clara) off of 237 from our neighborhood in Oakland (Crocker Highlands). We have a number of neighbors who commute down there (Mountain View, Sunnyvale, etc) as well. Our experience has been to expect about an hour+ commute each way. My husband leaves at 6:30am to try to beat the rush and can get down there in about 50 min. but always hits traffic around the San Mateo bridge and the entrance to 237.

Crocker Highlands is a wonderful neighborhood conveniently located right off of 580 (Lakeshore exit). There are stores, restaurants, a Traders Joes, etc. within walking distance. We also have a weekly farmer's market that the entire family enjoys. Lastly, the elementary school is rated one of the best in Oakland. However, I would caution anyone looking into buying a home in the area the impact the recent school closures (specifically Lakeview elementary) may have on Crocker Elementary. As Oakland is looking to expand school boundaries, there is a small chance that the school may not be able to accommodate all the children in the neighborhood, similar to what happened in Hillcrest.

Hope this is helpful. happy crocker family

September 2004

I am just looking for information on the area. My family and I are planning to move and have liked the location of Crocker Highlands. We know little about the elementry school and are wondering what people do for middle and high school since the Oakland school district is not very good. We would love to hear other people's opinions and recommendations. Thanks! Kelly

We really love living in the Crocker Highlands neighborhood. Great people, nicely diverse and friendly. The Lakeshore area is nice. Our kids just started Kindergarten at Crocker Elementary, and so far we are all enjoying it!

The ''what to do about Middle and High School'' question is the big one. Edna Brewer middle school is on the upswing, but it's still not that great today. We're planning to give it careful consideration in 5-6 years when our kids are getting to that age, but I do know many people in the neighborhood today that go to private middle and high schools. So we may end up doing that as well, but really it just depends on what we think is best for our individual kids. Mike

I have lived in Crocker Highlands for almost 14 years now. I have one child at the elementary school (which is a great school, but there are probably plenty of postings in the archives on that, so I won't go on) and another in preschool nearby. We too wonder what we will do after the 5th grade. When we first bought our house, we thought it would be one to fix up and then we'd move on. Yeah, right. Not with real estae like it is. So there are four of us in a 2 bedroom house. But we do OK and we have a FABULOUS neighborhood. Lots of kids, we all hang out together and know each other, and lots of the kids go to the public school.

There is a push to have Crocker kids go to Edna Brewer the public middle school, and by the time we get to the point of making that decision, it may be much improved.

Overall its a great neighborhood and we love it here, which is why we have stayed so long (versus bailing to the 'burbs). But the schools issue is a big one, especially if you are buying into a huge property tax bill! Hilary

Hi, I have seen some other recommendations for Realtors in the East Bay and I wanted to recommend Beth DeAtley at Wells & Bennett. She is professional, honest and not pushy at all. She knows the area so well and she really knows the business! She helped us find a great home in Oakland with out pressuring us at all! jm

Hi, I have seen some other recommendations for Realtors in the East Bay and I wanted to recommend Beth DeAtley at Wells & Bennett. She is professional, honest and not pushy at all. She knows the area so well and she really knows the business! She helped us find a great home in Oakland with out pressuring us at all! jm