Named after the lush park that anchors the neighborhood, Cuesta Park is a mix of single-family homes and apartments facing narrow tree-lined streets along Mountain View's western edge near Los Altos. El Camino Real separates the neighborhood from the bustling downtown, giving the area a surprising sense of serenity.
It's this quaint feel and proximity to downtown Mountain View that attracted Lisa Gefken to the neighborhood 17 years ago.
"I love that we are walking distance from downtown. There is an amazing busy library, a beautiful performing arts center and lots of enriching activities for kids year round," Gefken said. "The downtown has truly become a varied and thriving restaurant scene, with a busy lunch crowd and lots of activities in the evening, which is great."
And when Gefken wants a slower pace with family and neighbors, she can do that, too.
Cuesta Park is a quiet, tight-knit community, she said.
"We have many family-oriented events, and everyone looks out for their neighbors. There is a real sense of generosity and caring," she added.
Aileen La Bouff, who has lived in the area for 16 years since getting married and moving into her husband's house, agrees. She said neighbors are connected, friendly and willing to jump in and help one another.
As president of the Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association, La Bouff oversees the 750-member group, which holds a variety of social events from picnics and holiday celebrations to emergency response trainings.
She attributes the association to bringing residents together.
"I love that people care enough to maintain a neighborhood association and online community tools, like an email list, to communicate with each other," she said.
Newcomer John Littig, who moved to Cuesta Park with his family last December about two months after the birth of his second daughter, was looking for a larger home for his growing family when he discovered the neighborhood with its large park and playground.
With facilities for barbecues, tennis, volleyball, and swimming, the park draws many families -- residents and outsiders alike -- on weekends.
Littig said his family spends much time there.
Grant Park Plaza, in the northeast corner of the neighborhood, is another attractive feature. The shopping center includes three specialty grocery stores, restaurants and a variety of other businesses. Down the street is El Camino Hospital and the YMCA.
The neighborhood seems to have it all well, almost.
As a renter, Littig said he's concerned about the neighborhood's shortage of housing.
"Construction is happening, but we need a whole lot more, " he said.
Gefken said she's seen the area become more dense in recent years as "huge" housing developments have gone up. While she understands the need for more housing, she worries that too much construction may impact some of the neighborhood's unique features, like unobstructed views of the mountains. She's also noticed an increase in traffic.
La Bouff said there's been a lot of development around the outside edges of Cuesta Park in recent years. She believes the new development has been good for the neighborhood.
"I think the changes close by have made Cuesta Park more desirable, as it has retained its residential
charm and has stayed quieter than some of the surrounding (areas), "La Bouff said.
With the new construction has come extra traffic control, such as the newer stop signs on Hans Avenue and Phyllis Avenue, that have made the neighborhood's roads safer than they were, she added.
"Cuesta Park is pedestrian and bike friendly while it provides easy access to shops, restaurants,
downtown, and transportation," La Bouff said. "What more could you want."
LOCATION: bounded by El Camino Real, Grant Road, Cuesta Drive, Miramonte Avenue, Castro Street
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Little Acorn Preschool, 1667 Miramonte Ave.; St. Timothy's Preschool, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA Kid's Place, 525 Hans Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association (CPNA), Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association, Aileen La Bouff, president, 650-804-0522, [email protected]
PARKS: Bubb Park, Barbara Avenue and Montalto Drive; Cuesta Park, 615 Cuesta Drive
POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: St. Joseph, 1120 Miramonte Ave.; St. Francis High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District -- Bubb Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Mountain View High School
SHOPPING: Grant Park Plaza, Grant Road at El Camino Real; Blossom Valley Shopping Center, Miramonte Avenue at Cuesta Drive; Downtown Mountain View