Living in Point Richmond
Have you looked into Point Richmond? It's got a cute downtown area and very small town feel. It's located in between San Rafael and Berkeley. Montclair and North Berkeley are also within your budget and fit the bill. Oakland mom
For commuting to Berkeley and San Rafael, and for being near the water and walking trails, you can't beat Pt. Richmond (old charm) and Marina Bay (new and clean). The elementary and middle school zone (Washington and Portola) are fine. Not sure about Kennedy for high school though. When considering Washington and Portola, don't focus just on the test scores, they are really better schools than they look on paper. Local Mom
Try out Point Richmond. I've heard it's a great place to live, by the water, and is in a nice location. And nicely between your two jobs. We commute from San Leandro to South Berkeley and 880 is pretty slow and crowded, not terrible, but getting through that commute to then get through Berkeley and then on to San Rafael for your husband might be long and slow. Berkeley is nearly always very slow and crowded on I-80, any time of day/night. I'm less familiar with the bridge traffic to San Rafael. We watched the news to get a feel for the commute, and logged into kgo or 511.org to check out the daily commute before we moved. We found that very helpful. I think there are websites or apps that would calculate your drive time from one location to another. And we use Waze pretty frequently on our smart phones to choose which freeway to take home, it's pretty great. (Chrome has not performed as well). commute researcher
Point Richmond is what you want! Nice, safe walkable neighborhood with a couple of small markets, restaurants, a great pub, post office, library, Starbucks, pharmacy, dry cleaners, beach, gorgeous swimming pool, nice park, hills for hiking, farmer's market in the summer and many community events. Our elementary school is thriving and has a dual-immersion Spanish program. Happy in the Point
Point Richmond Restaurants
I am looking for a quick, inexpensive, good restaurant in Point Richmond for lunch during the week. I found this list: http://www.pointrichmond.com/dine.htm Does anyone have any recommendations please? Thank you Anonymous
I have eaten at HOTEL MAC, not cheap, but very good. Salute - food, nothing special, but on the water. Boiler House - average $$, food ok, killer location...Old Ford Bld, on water. Hidden City Cafe - great breakfast, average $, don't know about lunch. Up and Under - Good food, depending what you get, average $$ Koa Sarn- Good food and service. Fair $ only had dinner. Baltic- have only had dinner, and it was wonderful, but, I hear new owners. dana
Moving to Point Richmond
We are set to move out of our apartment in San Francisco at the end of the month, and are looking to move to a lower rent area within an easy commute of San Rafael. I would like to know if moving to Point Richmond is a good or bad idea, and hear what others think about it. I like the small town atmosphere, the low rents, and the fact that San Rafael (where my husband works) is right over the Richmond Bridge. I worry that the oil refineries could be problematic for my childs health (she is 11 months old) and that crime could be an issue. What do you all think? We are trying to make a decision in a very little amount of time. Anne
Point Richmond is a great town! We have lived here for 7 yrs. We have a 5 and 3 yr old. We were concerned about the refinery as well when we first moved here. There are so many 80-90 yr olds that have lived here since the 40's we figured it can't be that bad, and the wind is almost always blowing away from the refinery. The town is very community oriented, and there is a great parents group (PRAM) to get involved with for even more great connections and activities! Everything is within walking distances (park, beach, market, restaurants, school). I wouldn't want to live any where else in the bay area! Love it in the Point
Looking at Marina Bay in Richmond
We are house hunting in the bay area, and experiencing all the joys (ha ha) and frustrations of what our money can get us in a variety of neighborhoods. We have recently looked at a few townhomes in the Marina Bay area of Richmond. The Richmond address frightens us (with a new baby, and watching the news), but the townhomes were very nice, big, clean, newer, and in our price range (vs. a fixer-upper ''cottage'' aka ''box'' in Berkeley). I would love to hear anyones opinions, good and bad, re: this area and home buying. Thanks! hopeful homebuyer
We rented there for about a year, 1997-1998, before buying elsewhere. It was pleasant enough and we did look at the houses there & found them very impressive & well-priced. The main concern was that most of the land is landfill, which may not be the most stable in an earthquake and who knows what sort of stuff is in it, as part of this area was industrial. The land beside it, the old Zeneca property & UC Berkeley property is full of toxic material such as arsenic and mercury and is being cleaned. anon
Against my better judgement, my husband covinced me to look at ''New Homes'' in Marina Bay, Richmond. I thought he was nuts but the homes were in our price range. 10 years and 2 babies later we are still here, enjoying our little secret...that Marina bay is a little bit of paradise. We walk our dogs and kids along the bay path enjoying the sun as we watch fog move over Berkeley and El Cerrito. We are in a little sun belt. It can be a bit breezy but by inlarge we love it here. I have never had any problems with crime although a bike was stolen from down the street last summer. We were as were a few of our neighbors, able to transfer our children the the Kensington Hilltop school so that wasn't an issue. If you have questions about Marina Bay I'd be happy to answer them.
We lived in Marina Bay when our son was 1-3 years old and it was a very happy time for all of us. We would walk along the bay to a wonderful playground. The entire bay trail there is safe, low traffic, and offers some of the BEST views or the area. Some of the communities had pools but the weather there can be a bit chilly yearround due to the wind whipping off the bay. The commute is non-existant until you get to the Berkley exits off 80. There was a nice restaurant and small market in the community, either walking/biking distance from any of the subdivisions. The homes are newer and in need of very little TLC!!!!! Last but not least, PRAM -- Point Richmond Association of Moms. It is a great volunteer run organization based in Pt. Richmond and I would highly suggest contacting them for information on schools, playgroups and support!!! www.pram.net
Courtney who misses Marina Bay !
As frustrating as Bay Area housing prices are, I would still caution you against buying in Richmond, primarily due to the Chevron Refinery. It was not so long ago that this refinery dusted the whole community with a toxic catalyst waste. I think if you can afford to live elsewhere, you should. I suspect that babies are at higher risk of developing asthma and other ailments due to the chronic air emissions from the refinery. anon
I've lived in Marina Bay now for 14 years (yikes!!)and don't plan on moving until I retire. The crime level is minimal, the apartments get the brunt of it. (Richmond is a very big city and what get's on the news typically comes from very specific areas.) Many people use the Bay Trail and both Marina Bay and Vincent Park. There are many families with children living here. My family has made many friends through our time spent at Vincent Park.
The downside is the school district, although the local school is in Pt. Richmond and has a terrific parent community growing into the school (your baby may be the perfect age to benefit)and a new principal who has been very responsive to the community. The moms group PRAM is based in Pt.Richmond and is very active in the community and is becoming active in the school. Another downside is that home prices have climbed hugely in the last two years so there's a chance you'd be buying at a highpoint. On the other hand, where else are there affordable waterfront communities?
Good luck to you.
We have lived in Marina Bay for 7 years. The first 4 in what is now Archstone and the last 3 or so in one of the housing developments. We are a young couple with a toddler. When we decided to buy in the area, the reasons on the plus side were: the neighborhood is quiet and beautiful with the great bay trail (we do a lot of running and biking), the houses were new and much more affordable, that is, we felt like we were able to get more for our money. We are not handy folks and we didn't have enough money to invest to fix up a place, so getting a new home is a big plus for us. The downside for us was the school district. We decided that we were likely to sell within 5 years before our child will go to school. The landfill was also a concern. We did a little research to determine our particular house is on a 'less landfilled' portion of the complex we are in. The problems with the refineries have been minimal, in my opinion. We have not noticed any health effects or ongoing problems with air quality. We have loved living there. There are a lot of families with small children around us and it is just a very peaceful, pleasant and beautiful place to live. Day to day live is great, but you must be realistic about the downsides and figure out your priorities and how to deal with them. Good luck!
Happy Marina Bay Resident