Palo Alto Weekly

Real Estate - June 28, 2013

Monroe Park

A quiet neighborhood with a split personality

by Karishma Mehrotra

John and Mary Reinhardt have lived in numerous American cities. But when it was time to settle down and retire, they chose Monroe Park.

"This is a country-like atmosphere," John said of the South Palo Alto area bound by Adobe Creek, El Camino Real, Del Medio Avenue and railroad tracks. "Not much going on. Not much happening. And we like it that way."

Other than Monroe Park's quiet feel, the couple decided to buy a house in 1961 for a number of reasons, such as the lack of traffic, a convenient Caltrain station located off San Antonio Road, the Milk Pail Market on California Street in Mountain View and the rural, farm-like community.

And though the Reinhardts are suckers for the peaceful neighborhood, they are also pleased when the silence is broken, like when dog walkers gather at 6 p.m. every evening in the park that gives the neighborhood its name.

"It's like a convocation of dog owners," Mary chuckles. "I suppose that's how you get the neighborhood gossip."

Along with the dog-walkers convocation, the couple has noticed an upsurge in walkers and runners around the Monroe Drive loop in recent years.

"At night, people must come from all over just to walk around this circle," John said. "It's loaded with little kids with their little helmets and bicycles."

Resident Donna Simonides has also noticed the whole new crop of families with young children. But when her family moved to the area in 1992 from the East Coast, they immediately discovered Monroe Park's most distinguishing feature: the neighborhood's split personality, with literal and personal lines drawn between three different cities.

Simonides' address may read Palo Alto, but she spends her free time in downtown Los Altos and her children go to Los Altos schools. Monroe Park also sits on the Mountain View border, which shifts the neighborhood away from the Palo Alto community.

"When we reached the age where my oldest child started kindergarten, we got our indoctrination to a big part of Los Altos," Simonides said. She said her kids ran into several problems because of this dichotomous setup — especially when they wanted to play city sports with their Los Altos school friends.

"That is probably one of the biggest challenges," Simonides said of living in Monroe Park. "That's one of the things we didn't fully appreciate when we moved. ... You have to thread a little bit more in your life than you would otherwise."

That being said, Simonides said she has also noticed that the disconnect pushes more Monroe Park parents to volunteer in Los Altos schools to bridge the gap, citing multiple PTA presidents who have hailed from Monroe Park.

Resident Randy Berner also noticed the neighborhood's strange geographical location when he moved in with his two kids six months ago.

"When you look at the town borders, it does look a little strange," Berner said. "It doesn't seem like this section of Palo Alto should be in Palo Alto. It seems like it should be in Mountain View. But who knows why it is?"

He said that he hasn't felt any impact because his oldest child has not started kindergarten yet.

The issue for Berner's family, however, has been construction associated with the Palo Alto Bowl renovation, which will replace the bowling alley with 26 new homes and a hotel and has caused traffic and parking issues.

Nevertheless, Berner praises the kindness of his neighbors. When he lost his dog for a couple of days, many eagerly got on their bikes and helped him in the search.

All in all, he hopes his family will stick around in this neighborhood for a long time, regardless of its split personality.

READ MORE ONLINE

For more Home and Real Estate news, visit www.paloaltoonline.com/real_estate.

FACTS

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (NEARBY): Children's Corner, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos; Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto; Growing Tree Montessori Preschool, 450 W. Charleston Road, Palo Alto

FIRE STATION: No. 5, 600 Arastradero Road

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

LOCATION: bounded by Adobe Creek, El Camino Real and Mountain View borders (near Silva Avenue)

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Monroe Park Neighborhood Association, Linnea Wickstrom, president, ljwickstrom@comcast.net

PARKS: Monroe Mini Park, Monroe Drive and Miller Avenue

POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District — Santa Rita School, Egan Junior High School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School

SHOPPING: San Antonio Shopping Center

Editorial Intern Karishma Mehrotra can be emailed at kmehrotra@paweekly.com.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields