Tucked away behind Embarcadero Road and San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto lies the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood. Here, one can find a diverse group of neighbors, beautiful tree-lined streets and, above all, a strong sense of community.
It's this sense of community that has become very important to longtime resident Anne Stewart. "When neighbors move in, we want to make sure that we keep that community feel. ... I want people that come into the neighborhood to have that value."
Stewart raised three children in the neighborhood and can attest not only to its sense of community but also to how kid-friendly it is. Duveneck Elementary School is at the heart of the neighborhood and is certainly a strong community fixture.
"Proximity (to Duveneck) allows you to see quite a bit of your neighbors, and that helps keep the neighborhood quite close," Stewart said.
Fellow community member Elizabeth Garr, a neighborhood resident since 2011, is especially fond of the role that the elementary school plays in the community.
"The school ... is like the centerpiece," Garr said. "Everyone knows each other through school, and it's not surrounded by busy streets. ... It's like a park or another gathering point."
However, Garr also mentioned that the neighborhood has much to offer families with older children, or anyone else settling in the area. Both Garr and Stewart enumerated some of the small things, such as people walking their dogs at night, or kids playing baseball in the street that contribute greatly to the sense of community.
"I'm still good friends with people I don't know through school. There's still a tight sense of community whether your kids go to Duveneck or not," Garr said.
Stewart said, "I know my neighbors, and I feel like if I need something, I can ask for help."
The strong community of Duveneck/St. Francis is enhanced by its proximity to a wide variety of shopping, entertainment and other amenities. Rinconada Park, Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center, Rinconada Library and the Palo Alto Art Center are all within walking or biking distance. Stewart certainly appreciates the nearby conveniences, but also has a small recommendation for future developments.
"We're close to the tennis court, community garden, library and art center. ... We have a central location. The only thing we don't have is a grocery store. I would love to see that at Edgewood Plaza,"Garr said.
The neighborhood has certainly changed over time, while still maintaining its strong community feel. Many homes have been remodeled, or rebuilt altogether. Everything from ultra-modern homes with glass walls and sharp angles, to stucco and clay-shingled Spanish-style residences fill the blocks. Much of this change came as a result of the San Francisquito Creek flood in 1998, which damaged many residents' properties. However, measures are being taken to ensure that this incident is not repeated in the future.
"(Flooding is) problematic, but I know construction is being done on the creek, and hopefully that's going to be resolved in the next few years," Stewart said.
Garr said that she couldn't imagine a more perfect location.
"We have easy access to the freeway and downtown, but it's still rather quiet. It feels better to have kids around that.
"I'm a huge fan of our neighborhood. It's kind of what I always hoped to live in in terms of quiet streets, great neighbors, and a supportive community."
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Duveneck Kids' Club, 705 Alester Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road
LIBRARY: Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road
LOCATION: bounded by San Francisquito Creek, Oregon Expressway, Greer Road, Embarcadero Road and Newell Road
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Karen White, 650-494-7026, email@example.com
PARKS (nearby):Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center Drive; Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road
POST OFFICE: Main, 2085 E. Bayshore Road
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): International School of the Peninsula, 151 Laura Lane; St. Elizabeth Seton, 1095 Channing Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Duveneck Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School
SHOPPING: Edgewood Shopping Center; University Avenue