Posts Tagged ‘Harrioak’

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Won’t you be our neighbor?

June 23, 2010

We’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like YOU! We’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with YOU!

But really—while we’re sad that our neighbors are heading off, this means their 3BR/2BA Arts & Crafts house (which is actually two houses on one lot, with a newly built 2BR/1BA cottage in back) is for sale. And just down the street, another neighbor’s 2BR/1BA TIC unit is for sale (sorry, this one seems to be in escrow or otherwise off the market!) in an Arts & Crafts fourplex, which means we get more fun new neighbors. It’s been nearly three years since any homes on our block have turned over, so I’m excited to see who’ll be moving in.

If you read this blog regularly, you probably know that I think we have a pretty awesome little block and ‘hood. But I figured this was as good a time as any to spell it all out.

TOP TEN REASONS I ♥ OUR BLOCK:

1. Walk everywhere! We can walk to:

  • Upper Broadway/Auto Row shops and restaurants (3-5 minutes)
  • Lake Merritt (5 minutes)
  • Bus stops for the 11, 51, and 1R, which will get you to Downtown Oakland and Berkeley, Temescal, Rockridge, San Leandro, and beyond (3-10 minutes)
  • Bus stop for the Transbay bus—several lines to choose from depending on which way you walk, including the NL, which runs all day long and through the weekend, unlike most Transbay lines (5-10 minutes)
  • Kaiser and Pill Hill doctors (5-10 minutes)
  • Piedmont Avenue shops and restaurants (10-15 minutes)
  • Uptown restaurants (10-15 minutes)
  • 19th Street BART (15 minutes)
  • MacArthur BART and the Emery-Go-Round (15 minutes)
  • Grand Lake/Lakeshore shops (15-20 minutes)

2. Bike everywhere! We ride our bikes (and take the bus) to many of the spots listed above, and also to:

  • 19th Street and MacArthur BART (5-10 minutes)
  • Downtown Oakland/Old Oakland (10 minutes)
  • Jack London Square (10 minutes)
  • Temescal (10 minutes)
  • Rockridge (10 minutes)
  • Emeryville (10-15 minutes)
  • Berkeley (15-20 minutes)

3. Easy access to BART and the freewaybut far enough from both to be healthy and quiet, as city living goes. If you’re freeway-bound, it’s just minutes to the 580, 880, 980, and 24how’s that for choice? And because MacArthur BART is a major transfer station, you can get to all of the East Bay lines in one spot. We hop on BART (or drive) to:

  • Downtown Berkeley/UCB (15 minutes)
  • Downtown San Francisco (15-20 minutes)
  • Alameda (10 minutes)

4. Lots of everything nearby! Within two miles of home, we’re fortunate to have:

  • Restaurants and coffee shops galore (including the brand-new Commonwealth and three new restaurants due to open this summer!)
  • Grocery stores (Whole Foods, Oasis Market, Piedmont Grocery, Trader Joe’s, Grocery Outlet, and Safeway, plus lots of little produce shops on Piedmont, Grand, and Lakeshore)
  • Not one or two but THREE great weekend farmer’s markets: one on Saturday (Grand Lake), two on Sunday (Temescal and Jack London)—and that’s not even counting the Friday Old Oakland market!
  • Bike shops (Bay Area Bikes, Pioneer, Montano Velo, Manifesto, Tip Top, Cycle Sports, and hopefully soon Spokeland!)
  • Parks and playgrounds galore, including Mosswood and Lakeside Parks (and, of course, the lake!)
  • The Oakland YMCA, yoga and martial arts, gyms, Mosswood Rec Center, the Temescal Pool, your choice of library branches, and more
  • Mosswood Dog Park (one half for big dogs, the other for little dogs!)
  • Schools (Piedmont Avenue, Lakeview, Cleveland, Hoover, and Emerson Elementary Schools; Westlake Middle School; Oakland Tech; Oakland School for the Arts; St. Paul’s; St. Leo’s; Park Day; Archway; and Grand Lake Montessori, not to mention all the preschools)
  • Theaters (Grand Lake, Piedmont, the Paramount, and the Fox)
  • Children’s Fairyland, the Lake Merritt Gardens, and the Junior Center of Art and Science—all within walking distance—and the Oakland Museum, Museum of Children’s Art, and Studio One, not too much further afield
  • More religious and spiritual spaces than I can list!

5. Wonderful friends
Our neighbors will fill a whole table at our wedding…’nough said! We got incredibly lucky when we landed on our street—the people we share our block with are pretty awesome, and I love that we live in a place where people still sit on their front steps and talk (okay, or drink homebrewed beer and amazing whiskey sours made with backyard lemons…) Dog-sitting? Baby-sitting? All covered!

6. Shared harvests
If you move in, we will give you bushels of persimmons! (Okay, actually we’d give you bushels of persimmons anyway, but you get the idea…) I have a lot of fun trading fruits and vegetables with our neighbors, and collectively our block has lemons, oranges, apples, figs, loquats, cherries, more lemons, pomegranates, persimmons, plums, even more lemons, tangerines, and more. There are also plans afoot for a communal chicken coop in one neighbor’s yard.

7. Active block watch
Yep, we’ve got one of these too. And because we have all sorts of different work schedules, there’s almost always someone around, keeping an eye on what’s going on. We have access to each others’ homes and cell phone numbers to call if a dog gets out or a garage door is left open. For city living, that’s hard to beat.

8. Inside the Shan Dong delivery radius!
Think you want to live in Temescal or Glenview? Well, I’m sorry to break the news, but Shan Dong won’t bring you any dumplings there! This is the place to be if your favorite late-night snack involves handmade noodles and steamed buns, since they’ll only deliver within 1.5 miles of the restaurant—and we just squeak in. Mmm!

9. Block parties
Our street hosts an annual National Night Out party every August (this year’s will be August 3rd) and we’ve been talking about trying to have block parties more regularly in the summertime, too. Come check it out and meet the neighbors!

10. History
In the time that we’ve lived on our street, I’ve learned a lot about its history (much of which is documented here) and the rich history of this neighborhood. I’m a lover of old houses to begin with, and the more I learn about the families who’ve lived on our street over the generations, the more connected I feel to it. Our neighbors are talking about having a 100th birthday party for their 1912 home, and it’s pretty cool to know that at one point, two brothers lived on our street, one in our home with his family and the other in theirs. And our next-door neighbor’s house was built by the same family that built ours, so we love to compare notes on what’s been changed or kept the same over the years. If Arts and Crafts homes are your thing, there are some great examples tucked in amidst the mid-mod buildings that abound in our neighborhood.

Have a question about our ‘hood? Feel free to send me a note, and I’m happy to answer it.

Disclaimer: I have no interest in the sale of either of these properties, other than wanting some awesome new neighbors! For specific information on the properties themselves, you should contact the respective realtors.

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So you wanna help plan Auto Row?

May 8, 2009

Among the many tidbits presented at last night’s kick-off meeting for the Auto Row/Upper Broadway Specific Plan to revitalize the stretch of Broadway between Grand and West MacArthur was the full project schedule for the next year and a half. So mark your calendars now and get ready for some meetings! (I’ll write more on the meeting itself when I have a few minutes, though it was primarily a visioning session.) Hopefully you don’t have any standing Thursday conflicts—it’s a little irritating to see every meeting on the same day of the week and every meeting starting at 6 pm, which is a bit on the early side for folks with jobs that run beyond 9 to 5….but what can y’do. At least they’re publicizing them in advance! (And we did get a postcard this time around, which was nice.)

All meetings will be held at the First Presbyterian Church at 2619 Broadway (at 27th) from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Thursday, May 7, 2009: Vision & Goals

Thursday, July 9, 2009: Existing Conditions & Market Demand Report

Thursday, August 20, 2009: Project Alternatives

Thursday, November 19 December 10 January 28, 2010: Project Alternatives

Spring 2010: Preferred Concept

Summer 2010: Design Guidelines

Late Fall 2010: Specific Plan

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Reminder: Harrison/Oakland CBTP meeting this Thursday!

April 21, 2009

Okay, just another reminder about this meeting!

What: Harrison Street/Oakland Ave Community-Based Transportation Plan (CBTP) Meeting #2
When: Thursday, April 23, 6:30 – 8:30 (Open House begins at 6 pm)
Where: Westlake Middle School Cafeteria, 2629 Harrison (note the small location change!)
Why: Weigh in on the alternatives, which propose a number of dramatic changes to this corridor

If you live in Adams Point, Westlake, HarriOak, Glen Echo, Uptown, the Piedmont Avenue area, Piedmont proper, Pill Hill, Grand Lake, the Lakeside Apartment area, or anywhere else in that vicinity (or if you drive, bike, or bus through these neighborhoods to get to work in DTO)—you should be at this meeting! The proposed alternatives to be discussed include everything from bike lanes to street closures to freeway ramp changes. (Info from the first meeting is here.)

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Oakland Earth Day 2009: April 18th & 19th

April 9, 2009

Earth Day 2009 is coming up, and it’s time for Oakland’s annual cleanup extravaganza. Check the Oakland Earth Day website to find a project near you, and join in the weekend of April 18th and 19th.

SATURDAY EVENTS IN & NEAR WESTLAKE:

40th Street Median Project, 9 am to noon
Meet at 40th and Shafter to clean up the median.

Mosswood Earth Day Cleanup, 9 am to noon
Meet at Mosswood Rec Center to clean sidewalk, curbs, and medians.

Mosswood Dog Park Gravel Spreading, 10 am to noon
Meet at the Mosswood Dog Park to help spread new decomposed granite (yay!) that the City is supplying.

Richmond Boulevard/Glen Echo Creek Cleanup, 9 am to noon
Meet at 3600 Richmond Boulevard to cut, clean up, and plant.

Lake Merritt Cleanup, 9 am to noon
Meet at 568 Bellevue (off of Grand) to clean up Lake Merritt.

Lakeside Garden Center, 9 am to noon
Meet at 666 Bellevue (off of Grand) to clean up Lakeside Garden Center.

First Christian Church Cleanup, 9 am to noon
Meet at 111 Fairmount (at 29th) to clean sidewalk, curbs, and medians.

Glen Echo Park Cleanup, 9 am to noon
Meet at Glen Echo Park (just east of Piedmont between Monte Vista and Montell) to clean up the park.

Morcom Rose Garden Cleanup, 9 am to noon
Meet at 700 Jean to clean up the Rose Garden.



Can’t come on Saturday? There’s a special Sunday event this year, too!

SUNDAY EVENTS IN & NEAR WESTLAKE:

Mosswood Earth Day Cleanup & BBQ, noon to 5 pm
Meet at Mosswood Park near Broadway and West Mac to continue Saturday’s cleanup, have some food, and play some frisbee. Food will be provided by, among others, Bakesale Betty and Lanesplitter’s Pizza. (Plan to come? RSVP on Facebook.)

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Plan Oakland this spring

April 8, 2009

There are lots of chances to do it this month!

2009-2014 Oakland Housing Element Update
Like the rest of the Bay Area cities and counties, Oakland is updating its housing element to reflect new site constraints and options, changing conditions, and the new regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) numbers assigned by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) last spring. Hopefully, the city will also take the opportunity to develop some creative strategies to tackle the foreclosure crisis.

When: Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 6-8 pm
Where:

City Hall, Hearing Room 3
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (at 16th between Broadway and Clay)


Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
From our neighborhood list: Alta Bates Summit Medical Center has announced expansion and hospital replacement plans. The medical center met with community members in February and March. The Environmental Impact Study is underway. Please come to the next community meeting to learn more about the facilities project design. For more information, please email ABSMC at absmcpublicaffairs AT sutterhealth DOT org.

When: Thursday, April 16, 2009, 6:30-7:30 pm
Where:

Summit Campus, Providence Pavilion (Building 4)
Family Resource Center Conference Room, 1st Floor
3100 Summit Street (near Hawthorne Ave), Oakland

Changes proposed at the ABSMC include a new 11-story patient care hospital tower, a 7-story parking garage and proposed absorption of Summit Street into the medical center as “green space.” The fate of the 59 bus line, which serves medical offices on Summit Street, is unclear. Coordination with Kaiser’s construction impacts and mitigations will also be important.

The location of these facilities would be along Hawthorne Avenue between Webster Street and Elm Street. The hospital tower is proposed at the site of the current Samuel Merritt University classrooms and dormitory, which would be demolished. The parking garage would be located on a site that currently contains two small medical-related buildings and surface parking.


Central Estuary Plan
The second meeting is coming up for the Central Estuary Plan, which is designed to build a vision and provide a framework to support development and enhancement of the Estuary from Adeline Street to 66th Avenue. The project examines land use along the Estuary and the associated environmental, economic, quality of life and health-related impacts. This month you’ll have a chance to discuss the vision and the healthy development of the area, according to the website. I didn’t go to the first meeting, but luckily the folks over at Oakland Streets did, so you can read up on it there. (The CEDA website also includes meeting presentations and other materials.

When: Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 7-9 pm
Where:

The Unity Council, Fruitvale-San Antonio Senior Center
3301 East 12th Street, Suite 201 (Fruitvale Transit Village)

Project Area

Project Area


Harrison Street/Oakland Avenue Community-Based Transportation Plan
This is the second meeting for this project, too. (Future Oakland has a post about the first meeting.) The Caltrans-funded plan looks at Harrison Street and Oakland Avenue from the Piedmont border to Grand Avenue.  DC&E consultants and city staff will be presenting alternatives for the corridor to address access and safety for pedestrians, bicycle facility improvements, traffic calming, I-580 signage and modified access, and AC Transit stop improvements.

When: Thursday, April 23, 2009, 6 – 8 pm
Where:

Westlake Middle School Gym
2629 Harrison Street (at 27th)


Budget Town Halls
Last but not least, the City is hosting a series of budget town halls to gather community feedback on how and where to make cuts to close the projected $83 million budget gap. (Yes, that would be a new one, not the one Council closed last year….) Cities across the state are holding similar meetings; the general goal is to get input and buy-in on where to make the cuts that are most definitely coming. Whether the feedback will be heeded is another question altogether, but if no one shows up we certainly won’t find out! (All residents are welcome at all meetings; I’ve just listed them by district for geographic purposes, and because in several cases the relevant Council reps will be there.)

Districts 6 & 7:

When: Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 6 :30- 8 pm
Where:
East Oakland Multipurpose Senior Center
9255 Edes Avenue (at Jones)

Districts 4 & 5

When: Monday, April 20, 2009, 6 :30- 8 pm
Where:
Edna Brewer Middle School (tentative location)
3745 13th Avenue (at Park)

Districts 1, 2, & 3

When: Monday, April 27, 2009, 6 :30- 8 pm
Where:
Lakeside Garden Center
666 Bellevue Avenue (off of Grand)

OUSD Budget Town Halls
Last but not least (really this time!), there are a series of meetings on OUSD’s budget coming up, too. Oakbook has already covered that front, so I won’t duplicate the schedule here.

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What’s in a (neighborhood) name

December 17, 2008

So last week, V Smoothe over at A Better Oakland sparked a big debate over Oakland neighborhood names when she asked where East Oakland was. Where do neighborhoods begin and end, and what are they called? Earlier this year, Brooklyn Avenue and the DTO wrote about their neighborhoods’ many names and borders, and I’ve actually been wondering the same thing about my own neighborhood. Since I was already poring over old editions of the Oakland Tribune in my house genealogy, I decided to tackle a project I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while now: figuring out exactly what my neighborhood was called, back when it had a name. It occurred to me that with the society columns, school reports, and real estate listings, the Trib would be a great place to look for signs of neighborhood identity. This weekend, I did just that.

Reading through the old real estate ads is like peering through a window into an alternate universe. In 1917, key selling points of homes in Oakland included proximity to train lines and whether or not there was a chicken house in back. Scout troops ran bicycle safety classes at the schools on weekends. People swam in Lake Merritt. Not bad! It’s a bit sad to see how much of the Trib’s coverage once focused on Oakland youth and schools, though. This coverage drops off pointedly in the 1960s—perhaps a harbinger of what was to come for OUSD. I focused my hunt on newspaper listings and articles between 1907 and 1960 on the theory that the coming of the freeways fundamentally changed Oakland’s neighborhood identities and organization. Obviously our neighborhoods have grown and changed in the intervening years, and names and identities are dynamic things, but I primarily wanted to see what secrets the history held.

A few caveats: first, early Oaklanders used the term “district” with abandon. Some districts were within other districts. Others were tiny. Several overlapped. Some were formally defined. (Residents of Peralta Heights held a community meeting in 1926 to decide whether to expand their neighborhood’s boundaries!) Schools typically commanded districts of their own, which added to the confusion because there were both elementary districts and junior high school districts. Developers sometimes named districts when they built on tracts of land. There wasn’t a lot of rhyme or reason to what was called a district and what wasn’t—it primarily seems to have been a way to refer to your community in relation to key landmarks. Also, this post is based only on surveying real estate and society listings in the Trib, which means it may or may not be an accurate reflection of actual usage, though I did exclude names that didn’t appear consistently. And lastly, neighborhoods change over time, so some of these names have since vanished, while others have moved. (The transition of Eastlake from an area name to a micro-neighborhood is an especially interesting one.) So this is a snapshot of a moment in time.

Oakland neighborhoods in the 1930s (revised)

Oakland neighborhoods in the 1930s (revised)

Area: The Lake District
In the beginning, it was all about the lake. From the post-quake years through the 1960s, “the Lake District” referred broadly to all of the development around Lake Merritt, our neighborhood included. It seemed to extend north to the Piedmont Avenue area, west to Broadway, and east all the way to Park, where it transitioned to the Park Boulevard District. Adams Point, Lakeshore, and Grand Lake were in the north Lake District, while the west Lake District was home to the Lakeside Apartment District and my neighborhood. Trestle Glen was sometimes called the upper Lake District (and included an assortment of neighborhoods). By the 1920s, the Eastlake District was its own entity, with fifteen member neighborhood organizations.

An early zoning map around the lake allowed apartment houses against the lake, but not in the residential area to the west and north

An early zoning map around the lake initially allowed apartment houses against the lake (hatched line), but not in the residential area to the west and north (solid line), where we live.

District: Westlake (part of the Lake District)
West Lake or Westlake (and in real estate ads, “Westlake District,” which explains why the modern-day MLS uses that) was a sub-area of the Lake District. The name was reinforced by the existence of Westlake Junior High School in the midst of the area. Oakland society in the 1920s and 1930s largely revolved around youth and the schools, and a number of neighborhoods were referred to by their junior high school or park names (Mosswood, Bushrod, Westlake, Golden Gate, Cleveland, Bella Vista, and more). Before the school came into being, the paper more commonly listed the area as “west of the Lake District,” but after the school’s creation, this gets merged into “Westlake District.” By the 1930s, there were also apartments along Grand near Bay Place advertised as being in “Westlake.”

Zoning debates didn't always work out so well....d'oh!

Zoning debates didn't always work out so well....d'oh!

Neighborhood: Oak Park (a neighborhood in the west Lake District)
It’s hard to explain how cathartic it was to to discover that once upon a time our neighborhood really, truly had a name of its own. I didn’t find it right away—many of the real estate listings used street names to denote location, and there are very few references to the neighborhood itself in the real estate pages. (On occasion, listings near my house did call it the “Edison district,” a reference to Edison Elementary, which still stands but is now condos. The school served our neighborhood and Adams Point from 1927 until 1975, when OUSD was forced to close it because they could not afford needed seismic retrofitting. However, many of the staircases cut through the hill to provide access to the school still exist.)

From the 1920s through until the 1960s, though, our ‘hood did indeed have a name: the Oak Park District. There was even an Oak Park Improvement Club that met on Richmond Boulevard. The neighborhood seems to have stretched from Oakland Avenue to Broadway, and extended north to Moss Avenue (now MacArthur/I-580). The southern boundary is less clear, in part because the street grid has changed dramatically since then. (For instance, Richmond Avenue and Richmond Boulevard once connected, and Napier Avenue, a side street, evaporated when the freeways came.) In the mid-1950s, the city wanted to put a highway in over Glen Echo Creek, which runs down the center of Richmond Boulevard, as the “ultimate answer” to community complaints about crime along the creek bed. (This was proposed after repeated resident complaints about overgrown vegetation and trash, which probably sounds frustratingly familiar to those who live nearby today!) The fight to stop that plan seems to be the last point at which the uphill and downhill residents organized collectively. Use of the neighborhood name vanishes from the Trib archives by the mid-1960s, and I’ve certainly never heard it used, though there is still an Oak Park on Kempton. For now, I stand by my theory that dropping the 580 into the neighborhood fundamentally changed how the Richmond Boulevard area relates to the hill above, and thus the neighborhood lost cohesion. I’m going to have to ask around and see what some of the area’s older residents remember, though.

As a postscript, though: after years of preparation, construction of Oakland’s first urban creek reserve along Glen Echo Creek finally started this fall. The project will restore riparian habitat along the section of the creek on Richmond Boulevard and 30th Street. Additional restoration of the creek above MacArthur is planned as part of the Kaiser project, as well.

Some other interesting finds along the way…
Broadway Auto Row (part of the Downtown District)

Wow: I knew this name had been around for a while, but it turns out that Upper Broadway has actually been “Broadway Auto Row” for most of its existence. References to the “upper Broadway automobile row” appear regularly by 1913; this is soon shortened to Broadway Auto Row. “This street is growing at the rate of 25 percent per year,” one developer ad notes. “Get busy.” In 1917, the Trib hailed the opening of the jewel of Auto Row at 3331 Broadway—the Studebaker building. Today Honda of Oakland’s used car lot sits on the site; the Studebaker building is long gone. (Incidentally, the same edition of the paper calls for reader suggestions on a new name for the then “pleasure car,” noting that “a motor car is no longer a vehicle that is bought or operated solely in the pursuit of ‘pleasure’….the automobile has ceased to be a plaything.”) However, the name seems to have been reserved exclusively for the commercial properties.

Linda Vista District (part of Piedmont District)
This also isn’t exactly my neighborhood, but it is commonly used up until mid-century to refer to the neighborhood along Harrison Street and Oakland Avenue north of the 580. I’ve never known that neighborhood’s name either, so it was interesting to discover. (Today, it typically gets lumped into either Grand Lake or Piedmont Avenue.)

And here’s how realtors thought about Oakland in the 1930s:
Downtown District:
Estuary to 29th Street, Fallon [western edge of Lake Merritt] to Market

North-of-the-Lake District:
Broadway to Park Blvd, Lake Merritt to the Piedmont limit

North Oakland:
29th Street to Berkeley limit, Market/West to Piedmont limit

East Oakland: Estuary to Hopkins, Park Blvd. to Seminary

Elmhurst District: Estuary to Foothill, Seminary to San Leandro limit

Hillside District: Bounded by Grizzly Peak to Lake Chabot, Piedmont, Hopkins, and Foothill

West Oakland: Estuary to Alcatraz, Bayshore/Emeryville limit to Market/West

And finally, an amazing resource for Oakland street and geographic changes: http://www.stephenmorse.org/census/

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The Westlake District

August 17, 2008

I recently saw a real estate listing describe a home near us as being in “one of Oakland’s most sought after neighborhoods, the Westlake District.” While I’m glad that this particular agent thinks our ‘hood is sought after (it isn’t, exactly, though we think it’s lovely!) I especially love hearing what people call our little slice of the city. Our neighborhood, tucked at the northwestern edge of Lake Merritt, doesn’t officially have a name, though you hear everything from Adams Point (though that neighborhood technically ends at Harrison Street) to Uptown (we’re too far north if you ask me) to Harrioak (some locals came up with this one a few years ago; sounds silly but it does capture the geography, at least) to my personal favorite, “Lower Temescal.” (You guessed it, that one came from a realtor! I should add that we’re over a mile from the southern boundary of Temescal, a newly-trendy part of the city as far as realtors are concerned…)

I actually like Westlake the best, though (minus the “district” part, which is apparently a neighborhood in Daly City). It’s what appears on MLS listings for our neighborhood, though I rarely hear it used in conversation. The middle school down the street is Westlake, too—it was originally Lakeview Junior High School but the district changed the name in the 1920s because the corresponding elementary school had (and still has) the same name, and it got too confusing to have the schools called the same thing. So there may be something to it, historically. A neighbor of ours recently mentioned that she likes to tell people she lives in Westlake, even if it does take some explaining. I think I’m going to start doing this, too, and see if maybe it will catch on.