Living in the North and East District
Moving to Richmond, North & East Neighborhood
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
I've lived in N for over 12 years and love it. At the time, it was the only area we could afford a house. But now we stay because we love our house and our neighbors. With that said, some things to consider:
- 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 is also an affordable nice option in the Bay Area people don't often think about.
I live in north east Richmond and I think it is as safe as any non-suburban area. For one thing, violent crime in Richmond, thanks to new police efforts, has not only dropped, it's PLUMETTED. Check it out, the UC researchers are dumbfounded how the last 8 years or so it's dropped so much. However, we of course still have a ways to go. Neighborhood groups are exploding in Richmond. Mine (I live near Planet Fitness )is really strong. With email, people are chit chatting and watching their houses constantly. Thanks to living in Richmond, I am not living paycheck to paycheck. It has served my family well. I do commute from Del Norte bart, but I do believe there are carpools on highway 80. Not sure, you'd have to check that out. happy Richmond homeowner
We lived on the border of Richmond/San Pablo for almost a decade and while it was affordable, there is indeed a lot of crime and it did not feel safe. There were shots on our street and we heard sirens pretty much non stop on Friday nights and weekends. It sounds like I am being dramatic but I am not! We relocated to a much safer and nicer (and pricier!) area and we would never dream of going back...There are some good pockets, such as certain parts of the Richmond hills areas and going further east, some parts of Pinole and even El Sobrante are nice. But be cautious and check out the neighborhood very carefully... been there....
If your move to Richmond, N & E, doesn't pan out, you might try Richmond Annex. Safe, pleasant neighborhood up to where Carlson meets Hi 80 & goes under freeway. Easy walk to El Cerrito BART, close to El Cerrito Plaza w/many big box stores & some indies, at least 40-50 reasonably priced restaurants within 1/2 mile & at least 1 pleasant little park w/playground equip. for small kids. Going Grandma
We just moved here a few months ago. We bought a house in the NE Richmond area because they are SO much more affordable than what we were able to find in Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito/Oakland. I'm not sure where you looked when you had the bad experience, but I would definitely say the streets are hit or miss. We live around 30th and Garvin and the homes are beautiful, well taken care of and a lot of families with kids. There are a few random homes that are a site to sore eyes (probably like what you experienced), but for the most part the area is lovely and from what I can see and from what I hear, changing for the better. We have great neighbors, an active neighborhood message board and the choo choo train that we can hear off in the distance which my 2 year old loves.
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
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
I have lived in Richmond for 5 years. I live in North and East ( a few blocks from the casino). I don't think it is a very exciting place to live, but I have always felt safe there. I love my big backyard. A lot of the people on the block are renters so we were never friendly with many people. I always feel a little far away from things and you can't get fresh bread except from Safeway. The price of housing is so much cheaper than anywhere else that is as close to SF. Good luck on your decision.
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!
I'm a N resident for over 7 years now. My neighbors are great and I feel a good sense of community. We have a great online forum for residents where we discuss the latest politics, and goings-ons of the neighborhood. Housing values have definitely dipped and there are alot of homes on the market. Feel free to email any specific questions you may have. Angela
Hi, my husband and I have lived in the N for nine years and have a young son with a baby on the way. We are also in the specific area you are looking to buy in.
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 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
We live in the East Richmond Heights district, which is an unincorporated area of Richmond just off the Arlington, adjacent to Wildcat Canyon and El Cerrito. I LOVE our neighborhood: truly friendly neighbors, lots of families, parks, quiet, safe, and yet only a ten minute drive from North Berkeley. We moved here because we were priced out of the better parts of Berkeley and Oakland. However, I would personally, with a child, not feel comfortable living on the west side of San Pablo Ave in Richmond, or even on or west of San Pablo near the El Cerrito/Richmond border. While there are a lot of decent people, families, and businesses in that area, there is also a lot of desperation and crime. If affordability were that much of an issue (and I think my neighborhood is pretty affordable) then I'd consider a move to the more suburban parts of San Pablo and Western Contra Costa County, Walnut Creek/Concord, Oakland, near Grand Ave or Park Blvd. In looking for a home and neighborhood, try not to compromise too much. What you want is out there, you just have to visualize it happening for you. When we stopped trying to fit ourselves into prospective homes that weren't quite ''right,'' we found the perfect home for us. Just my two cents. Good luck with your search! Happy Hill Mama
Hi we have lived in richmond N & E for 3 years and feel mostly good about it. We live just south of Barrett, and I think the blocks north of Barrett and south of McBryde where you are looking have the nicest neighborhood feeling. pros: we also were doing private school regardless of where we lived and so were able to own a home and do private school(but still hard to afford)
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