by Joshua Alvarez
Old Mountain View is not quite living up to its name. Old trees line the sidewalks and populate the various parks, but beneath their soft, aged shade new, young families are out and about enjoying, once again, the perpetual blue skies. The patter of children's feet and the clacking and trilling of bikes and birds drift between the cottages that sit peacefully behind freshly planted gardens.
The ethereality of Old Mountain View's residential area is interrupted, though, by the dynamism of Castro Street. Here, dozens of restaurants and cafes, many of them younger than the children that run past, boast new, diverse flavors from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Cars coast up and down the street, their drivers looking for parking in vain as young professionals look on from restaurants' outdoor seating.
People want to live here. Residents repeatedly cite the temperate climate, access to transportation and cultural diversity as reasons why they moved to Old Mountain View. The city also boasts several parks and a well-funded public school system. While being kid friendly, OMV is also a hangout for young adults and professionals. The close proximity of the world's biggest technology companies, including Google, to Castro Street's bars and restaurants attracts the regular patronage of its employees.
OMV is highly desirable for renters and prospective homeowners. However, houses don't often go up for sale in Old Mountain View, and when they do they are bought quickly. The result is obvious: Rental rates and property values have increased dramatically, even within the past five years. A slew of new houses, townhouses and apartments are being built throughout the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, rising rental rates are one of the primary reasons people leave Old Mountain View. Additionally, homeowners are reluctant to part ways with their appreciating real estate. As a result, there is a growing trend of owners renting their houses out for long stretches of time.
Roberta Goncalves has been living in OMV with her husband since 2004. They have two young children and found a private school for them to attend in Los Gatos. They want to move there, but they plan to return to OMV after their kids finish school in several years, so they decided to rent their house. Their first tenant is Angela Siddall, a retiree from Portola Valley looking for a fresh change to her lifestyle.
"I moved here for the climate, access to transportation, and the restaurants on Castro Street," Siddall said. "I won't be able to drive forever and want to be active. You can hear your heartbeat at night in Portola, so I will probably have to get used to the noise level here, but I like the idea of walking and eating around Castro at nine at night."
Thomas and his wife recently closed a deal on a house. They've been renting for years and have a young son. They weren't planning on staying in the Bay Area, but decided to stay. "We realized how much we wanted to live near downtown and be walking distance to everything," he said. "We love being near the restaurants, the CalTrain station, the highway, and the library is great for our kid."
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: YMCA Kids' Place at Landels School, 115 W. Dana St.
FIRE STATION: No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd.
LOCATION: Bounded by El Camino Real, Shoreline Boulevard, Evelyn Avenue and Highways 85/237
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association, David Lewis, email@example.com
PARKS: Dana Park, West Dana Street at Oak Street; Eagle Park & Pool, S. Shoreline Boulevard at Church Street; Pioneer Park, Church and Castro streets; Mercy-Bush Park, Mercy and Bush streets; Fairmont Park, Fairmont Avenue and Bush Street; Landels Park, West Dana Street near Calderon Avenue
POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District -- Landels Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District -- Mountain View High School
SHOPPING: Downtown Mountain View, Grant Park Plaza