Uploaded: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 11:18 AM
Transit-friendly housing that's close to shopping
|The Crossings in Mountain View is a peaceful housing community that lies between San Antonio Road, Showers Drive, California Street and the Caltrain station.
Once the location of an auto mall, The Crossings was built in 1994 into a 540-unit neighborhood, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's "Smart Growth" website. It now boasts a close-knit community that was awarded the Outstanding Planning Award by the American Planning Association in 2002.
"The neighbors are nice, there's diversity and it's safe with close access to grocery stores," said Kenneth Salisbury, who has been living at The Crossings with his family since 2003.
Salisbury and other Crossings residents don't overestimate the proximity of stores and other facilities. A Safeway is situated across the street, and Trader Joe's is about a 10-minute or less walk, in the nearby San Antonio Shopping Center.
Salisbury enjoys going to downtown Mountain View on Castro Street, about a 10-minute drive.
"I spend a good deal of time poking around the bookstores and restaurants," he said.
The housing community even has three of its own "parks," as homeowner Yalena Marino, who lives at The Crossings with her husband and two kids since 1996, calls them. They are really just large strips of green lawn areas; one has a gazebo and the other a playground structure for neighborhood children to play on. Residents take their dogs to play together in these areas as well.
This comforting, "just ask next door for some sugar" atmosphere is what Marino likes most about The Crossings.
"(The Crossings) isn't spread out, it's very close knit, the people are very nice," Marino said, "You don't need a large home when they are efficient and there's lots of commons areas."
Marino's children used to play with the other kids in The Crossings; the younger children can be seen riding scooters or bicycles up and down the blocks. Salisbury says the diversity in the area is good for the children.
Salisbury and Marino say the interaction at The Crossings doesn't stop with the dogs or the children. The community holds monthly housing-association meetings and co-coordinated garage sales, and many houses display Neighborhood Watch markers. Many of the residents are in the middle to upper-middle class bracket and often come from academic or tech-industry backgrounds. The area is full of young professionals, Marino said.
Despite all of the above, The Crossings has a couple of nagging problems.
The San Antonio Caltrain Station, which is a short walk away and used by Salisbury and Marino's families to easily reach places such as Palo Alto and San Francisco, may be left unused by Caltrain if its budget woes continue to fester.
"The Crossings was designed as a commuter-oriented place; ideally people wouldn't have to use their cars," Salisbury said. But if the station closes, they might have to, which may in turn exasperate the already tight parking or even drop the value of the homes, he said.
Also, Salisbury says it's well known that the heating systems the contractors put in don't work very well.
"The heating upstairs doesn't always make it downstairs," he said. "That's just nit-picking though."
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS (NEARBY): Oak Tree Nursery School, 2100 University Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 301 N. Rengstorff Ave.
LOCATION: between San Antonio Road, Showers Drive and California Street
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Separate associations for condominiums, townhouses, row houses and single-family homes; all run by Nagi Chami, CEO of Tri-State Enterprises; 650-210-0085
PARKS: Concord Circle and Sondgroth Way, Beacon Street and Laurel Way; nearby: Klein Park, Monta Loma Park
POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (NEARBY): Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Los Altos School District -- Covington Elementary School, Egan Junior High School; Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Los Altos High School
SHOPPING: San Antonio Shopping Center, strip shopping on California Street
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