Palo Alto Weekly

Real Estate - October 19, 2012

Adobe Meadow / Meadow Park

A well-located, yet leisurely paced neighborhood

by Dean McArdle

As Adobe Creek babbles its last few miles from Black Mountain to the San Francisco Bay, it crosses under the Louis Road Bridge, the only span connecting Palo Alto's close-knit neighborhoods Adobe Meadow and Meadow Park.

The slow pace of the stream is echoed by the slowed-down lifestyle the neighborhoods offer residents in the midst of the hubbub of the Peninsula. Between East Meadow Drive and Charleston Road east of Middlefield Road, things move a little more peacefully.

Though the neighborhoods are bounded on one side by Highway 101, a passer-through is much more likely to find walkers, leisurely bikers and children at play on their streets.

Those children pour out of the multi-colored 1950s Brown and Kauffman-style homes and onto the playgrounds at Ramos or Mitchell parks.

Patricia Prochaska and Gregory Klein were drawn to Adobe Meadow for its proximity to the International School of the Peninsula.

"Both kids (age 9 and 5) bike 1.25 miles to school," Prochaska said. "I almost wish we weren't so committed to bilingual education because the schools are so good," she added.

And walk or bike four blocks in any direction and there's a park, she said.

But even more than the convenient location is the neighborliness of the residents.

"In two weeks in this house, we know more of our neighbors than in 25 months at Mercer Island" (where they'd lived before Klein started a new job in Newark), Prochaska said. "One neighbor came over with food and her two kids to introduce herself," and another rang the doorbell with an odd request: Could he borrow a blow dryer? When he returned it, he added a batch of freshly made cookies.

Even though the children don't attend the neighborhood school, there's a pack of five kids on the block that her son can play with.

"It's a very warm, community feel," she added.

Upon crossing Adobe Creek into Meadow Park, one may not at first realize that this is a new neighborhood. Similar 1950s Brown and Kauffman homes adorn the streets, with a smattering of Eichler developments that also adhere to the one-story motif of the neighborhood.

Every Labor Day, the residents empty out of their homes and gather at 4.4-acre Ramos Park for the annual Adobe Meadow neighborhood block party. The event has evolved into a day of festivities encompassing the entire neighborhood, and allowing the residents to elect neighborhood association chairs.

Meadow Park Neighborhood Association President Cathy Swan moved to the neighborhood in 1964, and over the past 48 years has watched the former farmland develop.

"It's a diverse neighborhood; some people have been here a long time and some people haven't," Swan said. "People from many different nations live here."

Swan described the neighborhood as being made up mostly of families with children, attracted by the highly rated schools that neighborhood kids attend.

Although her own children have graduated, Swan recognizes the increased traffic around the schools due to recent development sprees and construction. Over the past decade, an influx of new residents has caused a spike in traffic in the neighborhoods with few through roads.

"They put in lots of new housing down here, so it is a lot more congested than it once was," Swan said. "Traffic is a much bigger concern than it was 15 to 20 years ago."

A rash of recent PG&E construction jobs has exacerbated the neighborhoods traffic predicament.

However, the schools and parks within walking distance allow residents to thwart traffic. These local amenities have kept Swan happily in the area for almost five decades.

"There are a lot of really nice things that are close," Swan said. "We are within walking distance of the library, the grocery store and within walking distance of catching the bus. There are lots of things to do and lots of things to participate in."

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FACTS

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): Covenant Children's Center, 670 East Meadow Drive; Sunshine Preschool Montessori, 3711 Ross Road

FIRE STATION: No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road

LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 3700 Middlefield Road (after January 2013)

LOCATION: bounded by East Meadow Drive, Fabian Way, Montrose Avenue, Middlefield Road

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Meadow Park Residents Association, Cathy Swan, president, 650-494-2892, swan.cathy@gmail.com, www.meadowpark.us; Adobe Meadow Neighborhood Association, Ken Allen, president, info@adobemeadow.org

PARKS: Don Jesus Ramos Park, 800 East Meadow Drive; Mitchell Park, 650 East Meadow Drive

POST OFFICE: Main, 2085 E. Bayshore Road

PRIVATE SCHOOL: Challenger School, 3880 Middlefield Road

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Fairmeadow Elementary School, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Henry M. Gunn High School

SHOPPING: Charleston Center, Midtown Shopping Center

Associate Editor Carol Blitzer contributed to this story. She can be emailed at cblitzer@paweekly.com.

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