Neighborhood Snapshot: Instant friendliness in Greendell | News | Palo Alto Online |

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Neighborhood Snapshot: Instant friendliness in Greendell

Community welcomes residents even before they close escrow

The welcoming feel of Greendell echoed from most of the residents the Weekly spoke to about their neighborhood of mostly Eichlers and ranch homes. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Before Srini Sankaran even moved to the Greendell neighborhood in the southern part of Palo Alto, he was struck by the hospitality of residents of the 70-80 homes -- mostly Eichlers and some ranch-style -- in the quiet community.

"After we picked the house, we wanted to see how the neighborhood was and so we talked to the next-door neighbor," said Sankaran, who has been a resident of Ferne Avenue for 15 years and is president of the neighborhood association. "I couldn't have found a better person to talk to. He took half an hour to explain and welcome me to neighborhood, even though I was just considering buying; people are very warm."

Nadia Keshavjee moved to Ferne Avenue in 2014 from San Jose, where her family had lived for 2 years, and she agrees with Sankaran that the neighborhood is filled with warm neighbors.

"We didn't get to know our neighbors too well (in San Jose)," she said. "Greendell is well connected and neighbors look out for each other. People were really supportive and made sure we were settling in OK."

Keshavjee said that once when she was out of town, Sankaran's son helped clear out leaves from in front of her house when there was some flooding.

Sankaran does note that the neighborhood could use more volunteers for its neighborhood preparedness program that's part of the larger city of Palo Alto's Block Preparedness Coordinator (BPC) Program. BPC aims to prepare the community before a disaster strikes, establish emergency radio communications links and empower residents to assist emergency response by serving as 'eyes and ears.

A happy Greendell newcomer is Ken Dupree, who moved to Ferne Avenue with his family several months ago from Kansas City, Missouri. Dupree is thrilled about the quality of the schools, easy access to the beach and proximity to activities like soccer and tennis at the Cubberley Community Center.

"You can swing a dead cat, and you've hit nine good schools," he said. "I like the diversity of the Peninsula, and being in Silicon Valley is perfect because my wife is a techie."

He said that it's nice to have all the perks of Palo Alto without as much of the congestion that comes with living closer to Stanford University. He enjoys a 10-minute commute to work.

The neighborhood hosts an annual block party on Labor Day weekend that usually brings together about 130-150 people with things like bounce houses, dunk tanks and cotton candy, Sankaran said.

"The lady that organized the block party invited us to the block party before we were even residents," he said. "That tells you how the neighborhood works, there's just really nice people."

Angela Swartz is a freelance writer for the Weekly. She can be emailed at


CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Crescent Park Child Development Center (Peekaboo), 4161 Alma St.; Discovery Children's House Montessori, 303 Parkside Drive; Palo Alto Infant Toddler Center, 4111 Alma St.

FIRE STATION: No. 4, 3600 Middlefield Road

LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 4050 Middlefield Road

LOCATION: between Ferne Avenue, San Antonio Avenue and Mackay Drive

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Srini Sankaran, president, Greendell Neighborhood Association,; 650-485-1335

PARKS: Greenmeadow Park (private), 303 Parkside Drive; Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive

POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): Palo Alto Prep School, 4000 Middlefield Road; Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, 450 and 470 San Antonio Road

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Fairmeadow Elementary School, J.L. Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School

SHOPPING: Charleston Shopping Center, The Village at San Antonio

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