Pleasanton

Up until the 1960’s Pleasanton was just a supply center for local agriculture, and a stop over for travellers. That was until Interstates 580 from the San Francisco Bay cities, and 680 from those of Silicon Valley were built and crossed each other at Pleasanton.

In 1960 there was a population of 4,200 souls. Today there are more than 68,000.

To many, myself included, this is the best place in the whole Bay Area for raising a family. The City has made the best of two big advantages it had when the Silicon Valley overflow started:

1. By the 1960’s City Planners had learned a lot about how to design suburbia. Pleasanton was laid out with a sensible mix of housing in residential neighborhoods, and high tech office and light industry in custom designed business parks. All this surrounding the original old town which has been kept and improved to give a heart to the community.

2. A top class group of local politicians, and Civic leaders to first design to development plans, and then to ensure they were implemented.

The result is lovely tree lined residential neighborhoods with no through traffic and plenty of parks allowing for safe walking to local facilities, especially schools.

In keeping with the high quality neighborhoods Pleasanton has not only superb schools at all levels, but a high rate of parental involvement leading to the old fashioned feeling that the school was an active part of it’s community.

Until the 1990’s a high proportions of residents commuted down to Silicon Valley but that commute got increasingly tough as Hwy 680 was the only way there an it’s 2 lanes could not handle the volume of traffic. This has since been extended to 3+ lanes and along with the Altamont Express Commuter http://www.acerail.com/ rail link into San Jose has improved the situation but it is still a problem.

The other major employment center was the East Bay and San Francisco City and it’s Penninsula with a worse commute via on Hwy 580. and then the nightmare of one of the bridges. A minimum of 1 hour was

The extension of BART http://www.bart.gov/ into town has greatly improved the commute into the East Bay and up to San Francisco. At the same time a dramatic rise in the number of companies re-locating or starting up along the Hwy 680 corridor to the North has led to a larger proportion of people able to work closer to home. Today the Silicon Valley connection is not so important although still the largest single source of employment.

Housing prices reflect the deisirablity of the City and styles range from a few standard 3 bed 2 bath ranchers from the 1960’s, a core of larger 2 storey homes from the 1970’s and 80’s, and an increasing number of high end excecutive homes and estates to in the hills to the South and West of town.

Stoneridge Mall on the N West corner of town provides all the usual retail outlets but the essence of Pleasanton is found in the wide range of public facilities provided by a well planned City.

City web site is www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us