Living in West Berkeley
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Hi folks. What do you know of the neighborhood around San Pablo park in terms of safety and friendliness? I'm looking to buy and it's the only nice looking neighborhood I can afford in Berkeley. I'm single with a 5 year old so safety is a priority but we are used to city living so don't expect perfection either. Thanks! House hunting
We've lived in the San Pablo park area for over three years and love it. It's very diverse, both ethnically and economically, which does lead to more police activity - we personally haven't had any problems, but there have been a recent rash of burglaries in the area, and crime from San Pablo or Sacramento sometimes finds its way into the neighborhood. We still love it. Within a mile there's everything you can imagine - playgrounds, markets, Bart, library, great restaurants and cafes, nurseries, even a post office. It's a quick walk to the 4th street area, and of course Berkeley Bowl is very close and wonderful. When it's time for us to get a bigger house we hope to find something in this same neighborhood.
Make sure to take a close look at your neighbors when looking at a specific house. There are some 'problem homes', so to speak (mostly the kids or grandkids of folks who have lived here for 20+ years causing the problems) and it sure would be annoying to be right next door to one of those, and there are some apartment buildings tucked here and there that I wouldn't want to be right next to, but as a whole neighborhood it's really great! l.
We will be relocating to Berkeley this summer and are interested in a home in West Berkeley. What insight can you share about this neighborhood? Is it a good place to raise a family? My husband and I have two boys ages 5 and 7. It seems like there are a lot of family-friendly amenities within walking distance. On the other hand, some blocks and homes seem a bit run down and it is right along the freeway and the train tracks. Any thoughts would be very appreciated! living in West Berkeley?
'West Berkeley' is a large demographic area and you don't say whether you would be in southwest or northwest Berkeley. We've lived in southwest Berkeley, the San Pablo Park neighborhood, since 2003. We really like it here. More and more families with young children are moving here because it's one of the more affordable areas in Berkeley. We're a few blocks away from Berkeley Bowl West, a few blocks from San Pablo Park, the largest park in Berkeley (I think), close to freeway access, and close to the shops along San Pablo Ave near Dwight Way.
That said, we do have crime here but from what I understand, crime is not only found in the flats -- we get burglaries and car break-ins just like anywhere else in Berkeley. We have young dudes smoking pot and/or drinking at the park and prostitutes on San Pablo. It's not Lafayette. It is definitely gritty and sometimes it bums me out, to be honest. But it is affordable and we love our neighbors.
Our street has a disaster cache, an active neighborhood email list, block parties twice a year, and lots of kids. Everyone here looks out for each other. I love going to the grocery store and bumping into a neighbor -- I feel like a definite part of the community! SW Berkeley Fan
Re: Seeking a friendly neighborhood w/kids
Hi, We live in the San Pablo Park area of Berkeley on Carleton Street (the 1200 block). We find the neighborhood to be very kid friendly and in the 3 years that we have lived here we have gotten to know pretty much all the families with kids around the ages of ours (2 and 4). The neighborhood is no paradise mind you, but it has a lot of very nice qualities. There is a very nice and active park near by (San Pablo Park). The area is pretty diverse ethnically (primarily a mix of African-American and Caucasion families). And it is very centrally located (perhaps too much so) close to freeways and major streets. There are a number of rentals in the area, though our street (which I am most familiar with) is mostly owner occupied. One more note, neighborhoods in this area are really different, street by street, so check them out pretty thoroughly. Good luck, Cherene