North Whisman is about as close as a residential neighborhood can get to Google's main campus. And while the high-tech company's buses may make getting onto Highway 101 a problem at times, North Whisman is still a great place to live, said Lisa Burns, who has lived in the neighborhood for 29 years and has witnessed the area's increased traffic, new housing developments and skyrocketing home prices since Google moved in down the street.
One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the neighborhood's close-knit community feeling, Burns said.
"Neighbors know each other and look out for one another," said Burns, who joined the Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Association -- one of two associations in the area -- more than a decade ago to help preserve that quaint neighborhood character.
In 2008, the association successfully defeated a high-density, three-story development that would have been built on land once owned by the Public Utilities Commission, she said. As a result, a new developer is building a much smaller project with input from residents.
Neighbors say the Wagon Wheel and North Whisman neighborhood associations have been instrumental in pulling the neighborhood together as it experiences growth and change.
Kelley Ketchmark, president of the Wagon Wheel association, describes the area as "eclectic." Single-family homes, town houses, condominiums and apartment complexes all co-exist along the streets.
"It has great access to the highways," Ketchmark said. "We also have easy access to the Hetch Hetchy and Stevens Creek trails,which are great for walking, running and biking."
Cynthia Sanchez, who grew up in the neighborhood, said escalating housing prices have made it more difficult for her family to remain in the area.
"The cost of living has gone up too much here in the past four or five years," said Sanchez, who is a cook at Google.
In recent years, the city provided some relief in the neighborhood and opened Tyrella Garden Apartments, an affordable-housing community developed, owned and managed by Midpen Housing.
There currently is no vacancy in the 56-unit apartment complex, according to property manager Daniel Gutierrez. Rent ranges from $1,069 to $1,836 for the one- to three-bedroom apartments, Gutierrez said.
Besides affordable housing, Tyrella Garden also offers free after-school programs for children,
as well as adult education classes and recreational activities.
Mark Schulz, who is retired, said he would not have been able to stay in the neighborhood without Tyrella Garden.
"Rent out here has gotten ridiculous," Schulz said. "There is no way a low-wage worker or a low-income retiree can afford these rent prices any more."
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy St.; Kiddie Academy, 205 E. Middlefield Road; NASA Ames Child Care Center, Moffett Field
FIRE STATION: No. 4, 229 N. Whisman Road
LOCATION: bounded by Walker Drive, Leong Drive, Evandale Avenue, Easy Street; Wagon Wheel: East Middlefield Road, Tyrella Avenue, Fairchild Drive, North Whisman Road
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: North Whisman Neighborhood Association, Jessica Gandhi, 650-969-2429, [email protected]; Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Association, Kelley Ketchmark, [email protected] or [email protected]
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy St.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School DistrictI -- Huff, Landels or Monta Loma elementary schools, Crittenden Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Mountain View High School