Garland Drive has seen an influx of new families over the last decade, infusing new life into an already active community. The idyllic mini-neighborhood is centered around Garland Drive, an unusually winding street lined by magnolia trees and Coastwise homes.
"Garland is one of the first curvy streets in Palo Alto, according to lore," said resident Sharon Witte, who has lived on Garland since 1994. "(The curvy street) is nice because it discourages people from cutting through."
Despite its proximity to Oregon, Middlefield and two schools, Garland is a secluded neighborhood. The small amount of traffic means that many neighbors know who is in the neighborhood, and they frequently will talk to each other. Garland is one of the more closely knit communities, and an annual Fourth of July party is a mainstay for the residents.
Esther Nigenda, a resident of Garland Drive and a Block Preparedness coordinator, finds her neighborhood quiet. "We don't have any of the major issues that other neighborhoods have, like traffic, or flooding of the creek, or bike paths; it's very calm."
The Parents Nursery School co-op serves as an anchor on the Louis side of Garland, providing a space for kids to play and parents to contribute to the sense of community. Most kids attend middle school at Jordan, deepening connections between families.
"It's super neighborly. Everybody looks out for each other," Witte said.
Leland Manor is a quiet neighborhood bisected by Newell Road but otherwise insulated from its surroundings. Modern homes are sprinkled amongst World War II ranch-style residences. The intimacy of Leland Manor has created an active community, and the last three years have been marked by an increase in emergency preparedness and engagement.
Neighborhood coordinator Kathleen Hughes sees the neighborhood as "safe and central."
"There's a lot more young families that have come in, which is great," Hughes, a 20-year resident said. "It's lively and really diverse. That's nice because that's a reflection of the overall community in California in general."
Leland Manor's layout ensures that traffic is minimal. Well-appropriated stop signs calm traffic on Newell, which also has well-apportioned bike lanes. The proximity to three schools within a half mile makes this neighborhood a good choice for young families. Community events include an annual neighborhood block party.
Nearby Rinconada Park also provides many amenities, including multiple playgrounds, a swimming pool for kids and a zoo. The Main Library, whose renovation is slated to be completed in December 2014, gives residents a full range of multimedia experiences, while the Art Center is a hub of culture.
The large, old-growth oaks that dot this quiet neighborhood give this charming neighborhood its name. Embarcadero Oaks is made up of a mix of homes, many of which were built between the 1930s and World War II. Styles range from modest ranch homes to grand Tudor Revival and Monterey Colonial styles.
The neighborhood is best known for its annual Christmas Tree Lane, an event that lights up Fulton Street for two weeks with small Christmas trees and a multitude of displays. People from all over the area come to walk the lane and revel in the holiday atmosphere.
The area also allows for easy access to many of the amenities of Palo Alto, with flat, smooth roads and well-defined bike lanes.
"Here we go everywhere by bike," Virgina Rock, a resident since 2006, said. "It's so flat and bike friendly, it's really easy that way."
Embarcadero Oaks is defined by streets that branch off of Seale Avenue, tapering off as Embarcadero cuts diagonally across the northern edge. Neighborhood block coordinators keep neighbors connected, bringing them together for events such as emergency preparedness and block parties.
Says resident Jeff Scheel, who's lived there since 2002, of the neighborhood: "Very warm. Very inclusive... It's a very eclectic group of people and all hugely supportive of one another."
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CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (nearby): First Congregational Church Nursery School, 1985 Louis Road; Parents Nursery School, 2328 Louis Road; Walter Hays Kids' Club, 1525 Middlefield Road
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road
LOCATION: Leland Manor: between Middlefield and Louis roads, Seale and North California avenues; Embarcadero Oaks: triangle formed by Embarcadero Road, Seale Avenue and Middlefield Road; Garland Drive: between Middlefield and Louis roads
LIBRARY: Main Library, 1213 Newell Road (renovation to be completed in December 2014, temporarily at Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road)
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Neighborhood Preparedness Coordinators: Kathleen Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Esther Nigenda, email@example.com
PARK (nearby): Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOL: Hwa Shin Bilingual Chinese School, 750 N. California Ave.; Stratford School, 870 N. California Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Walter Hays Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School