3.5 out of 10


37.4799186813571 -122.207761349879
Great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Shopping Options
  • Cost of Living
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Internet Access
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees


2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Schools 2/5

"Unsightly North Fair Oaks community"

Ampex is an anonymous, under-served, lower-class community within the busy urban chaos of North Fair Oaks. In fact, it is nestled at the armpit of US Route 101 and 82, which I intend as a perfect analogy for its dismal quarters. For the perspective resident, the area is overrun with everything from ugly one-story depots to unmarked commercial buildings, from ragtag blocks to unkempt residences. Its only grain of distinction is its proximity to the highways, which grant the public quick access to another neighborhood.

Ampex’s residential quarters are everything but glamorous. Homes are mixed between compact and unsightly residences (some even looking like shacks) and a couple bland, boring apartment with no sense of green community landscaping. More specifically, residences are usually surrounded by ugly, chain-linked or wooden paneled fences which only seem to protect small patches of ill groomed property. If you drive through the neighborhood, you’ll see some old, hubcap-less cars, grungy street corners and a mobile home park cornered into the northern region. For young families, the neighborhood encompasses Fair Oaks Elementary School, but isn’t more than a dilapidated school zone.

While within close quarters of downtown Redwood City, Ampex is considered a shabby run-off from its commercial hub. If you head towards the southern end of the community, you’ll hit a plethora of ugly one-story depots and commercial buildings. This includes a couple auto-body shops, parking lots, eye sore depots, anonymous warehouses (probably for upholster businesses, etc.) and gritty storage facilities. During the week, depot workers tend to congregate around Middlefield Road for some cheap Mexican food. And that’s about it.
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5

"More Than A Bit Dingy"

Ampex is actually a big data storage company in this neighborhood that makes devices for “data capture” that can function in “demanding environments” like at sea, in the air, or in remote areas on land. (Sounds like they have some defense contracts.)

Now I haven’t been in this neck of the woods for that long (it will be one year in the summer) but I have never, ever heard of anyone calling this area Ampex. I think most people just consider this to the commercial area by Redwood Village.

This is definitely one of those ugly commercial areas with office buildings and parking lots and not much else—at least on its northern end by the Bayshore Freeway. This is definitely not the kind of neighborhood anyone goes into for any reason other than business. I’m not sure there are even any restaurants to feed the office workers who commute here every day to man their cubicles.

There are lots of repair shops, and places like paint shops and upholsterers.

This is north of Spring Street.

South of Spring Street you get an older residential neighborhood made up of 50’s (or older) Ranch homes and sort of dingy apartment buildings. We actually almost got a place in North Fair Oaks this summer. It was one of those boxy apartment complexes not that different from the place we ended up getting except that it and the entire street it was on had this sort of depressing run down look. It is the kind of area where people use bed sheets as drapes (and occasionally card board boxes) so we kept looking.

That turned out to be the right choice. North Fair Oaks, I have since learned, has a bit of a crime problem and is not the best place to live. Overall, I am much happier with our apartment which is about the same price ($1100/month) and is in a much nicer spot. I don’t think I would like to live here.

And I hear the schools are not very good either. Fair Oaks Elementary, I’m sorry to say, has bottom basement test scores.
  • Affordable
  • Close to Palo Alto
  • Run-Down Looking
  • Terrible Schools
  • Possible Crime Problems

Unranked Streets in Ampex

Greenwood Ln

"Brings Back Memories"
37.4813101004819 -122.212269433634
"A residential street clashes with a factory street."
37.4776308622519 -122.212810685886

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