Real Estate

Kid-friendly neighborhood fosters community in Palo Alto

Duveneck-St. Francis values its tight-knit nature

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,

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


10 people like this
Posted by Aru Kidinkme
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Slow News Day? Or are you trying to sell property?

10 people like this
Posted by Notty Nufmunny
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Yeah, it's really kid-friendly, as long as the kids' parents have tons and tons of money. 2.6M? You gotta be kidding me.

16 people like this
Posted by ROFL
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Seriously?? I just find that we are looked down on in this neighborhood!

Why? I suspect because we are well-educated, our son and his wife are well educated, and our grandkids go to private school. We are first generation Americans, our DIL is a first generation American, and we all live in one house to make sure the grandchildren get plenty of attention, care, and an excellent education.

Oh, and we are all of Northwestern European descent-- except for me, I have Chippewa blood as well as European. But some of the neighbors seem offended by the "surfeit of blue-eyed blondes" in our family.

Oh, and many neighbors dislike the fact that we fly an American flag at all times. No matter that we do it out of respect for my DIL's brother, an Army doctor killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber!

4 people like this
Posted by Notty Nufmunny
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm


Your family sounds nice. I don't understand...why would anyone look down on you guys?

I would be happy to have you as my neighbor, if I can ever get enough money to buy a house in your neighborhood.

I wonder if it's the flag....around here, people are pretty intense about their political views, and they may be making assumptions about your politics (true or not) based on the fact that you proudly fly the American flag.

14 people like this
Posted by ROFL
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Nitty Nuffmoney: you sound nice, too. Actually, we lucked out. My DIL's English father left her a nice inheritence, which she kindly contributed part of. My Polish mother inherited a large farm in Poland that she didn't want, sold it, and gifted me part of the proceeds. We sold our house in the Fremont Hills in 2006, rented for two years, and bought this house in a short sale-- with a nice down payment. It helped in no small part that my dad was an economist!

Anyway, most of the neighbors, especially the newcomers, won't socialize with us, even when invited. They don't know our story, they won't tell us theirs, other than to complain about our flag offending them-- or that we'd better watch those blonde children/ grandchildren ( with a caveat that blondes have low morals)!

Funny, in Cali it seems legally impossible for a Caucasian to be treated with racism or have hate crimes committed against them. We found this out last Christmas and Easter ( my DIL and I came from very Catholic families), when our house and holiday decorations--including innocent poinsettias-- were vandalized. Halloween this year was only slightly better: most of the newer neighbors did not wish to have trick-or-treaters come to their homes.

It gets worse every year, too! Right now we are waiting to see if Yrump puts his money where his mouth is and repeals the 1996 real estate capital gains tax. If he does, we will sell and LEAVE!

6 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Nov 15, 2016 at 7:12 am

"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."

This seems like a very odd quote. You want your new neighbors to be like you? And if they are not, then what?

3 people like this
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Be Positive is a registered user.

@mike - I don't find that quote odd at all. If you live in a friendly neighborhood where people value their sense of community, wouldn't you want your new neighbors to value that too? So the sense of community continues?

6 people like this
Posted by Is This a Joke??
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm

[Post removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Not Laughing
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Palo Alto and the communities north of it such as Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, San Mateo, Belmont, SAN Carlos, Burlingame, Belmont, etc are NOT kid friendly and have not been since the mid-80's.

The more expensive the city, the less friendly to kids!

4 people like this
Posted by No Joke
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm

This is actually one of the snootiest neighborhoods in town! Unless the kids have wealthy parents, either in tech or from China, the kids are considered undesirable!

I think it may be worse than Old Palo Alto, Crescent Park or Southgate for pure snobbery.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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