by Miranda Chatfield
Which Palo Alto neighborhood has access to a library, grocery store, coffee shop, City Hall, the police department and University Avenue, all within walking distance?
The answer is University South.
A quiet neighborhood with well-kept sidewalks and tree-lined streets, University South is home to many long-time Palo Alto residents.
Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin have lived in their home on Cowper Street since 1996. They are now "delightfully retired" and have watched the neighborhood change over the past few decades.
The couple moved from a larger home in a suburban neighborhood in South Palo Alto near Loma Verde. After the last of their children left for college, the couple said they decided to "live like grown-ups and move downtown."
They share the house with Stanford University graduate students, an arrangement they love because "it's like having kids without responsibility."
They said they enjoy their neighborhood for a host of reasons: It is "almost urban," they can "walk to so many things, walk to errands, amusement and entertainment," and there is a diverse mix of people of all ages, some who own property and some who rent.
When Kiparsky and Irwin first moved to University South, they said "there weren't many babies," but now there are lots of children.
"Addison School is overflowing with children, alert, alive and awake, and laughing," Kiparsky said, referring to the elementary school at Addison Avenue and Middlefield Road.
She also said the neighborhood is "very good for eating, not to mention the million restaurants."
Although the neighborhood is close to public transit, such as buses and Caltrain, parking remains problematic because of the overflow from downtown businesses and offices.
While developers have provided more parking over the years, Kiparsky said that is "only a fraction of what is needed."
Jud Campbell, who moved to University South in August 2013, avoids the neighborhood's parking problem by walking to work at Stanford, where he's a post-doctoral student at the Constitutional Law Center.
"It's a nice walking distance to campus," he said. "About 35 minutes. ... I can take an article with me and just read it on the way in and get some exercise."
Campbell said he found his Ramona Street home through a previous tenant, Will Baude, who held the same career position. Baude connected him with his property manager and when Campbell was looking for a place to live in the Bay Area he followed up with her to rent the room.
"I was looking for a place near campus, and I was looking for a place that wouldn't be too expensive, and I had all the resources at Stanford, like the gym ... so I didn't need anything too fancy," he said.
Campbell also said, "It turned out to be a really smooth transition for me to come out here, which is really nice, because a lot of my friends who have come to the Bay Area and started working have had a really hard time finding housing."
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Addison Kids' Club, 650 Addison Ave.; Children's Creative Learning Center Downtown Child Care Center, 848 Ramona St.; First School, 625 Hamilton Ave.; The Learning Center, 459 Kingsley Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 1, 301 Alma St.
LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 270 Forest Ave.
LOCATION: bounded by Homer Avenue, Alma Street, Embarcadero and Middlefield roads
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Elaine Meyer, 650-325-8057
PARKS: Scott Park, Scott Street and Channing Avenue; Palo Alto Heritage Park, Homer Avenue and Waverley Street
POST OFFICE: Hamilton, 380 Hamilton Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Addison Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School
SHOPPING: University Avenue, Town & Country Village