5.2 out of 10

Shell Ave, Martinez

38.0067055627392 -122.125408842607
Great for
  • Childcare
  • Cost of Living
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Shopping Options
  • Schools
Not great for
  • Public Transport
  • Resale or Rental Value
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees


3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"A Steal"

Shell Avenue in Martinez leads, as you might expect given the name, right into one of the many chemical plants that make up much of Martinez. These plants look like a tangle of pipes and domes to the uneducated eye--like mine. At night the towers spit out flames and white smokey emissions.

It is because of these plants that people hesitate to live in Martinez, fearing a chemical spill like the one that happened in Richmond last year. The spills, however, are not very common and rarely cause people feel sick.

As you head south of the chemical plant/refinery along Shell Avenue, you find a number of homes dating from around WWII. These are smaller wood paneled homes with stoops and small front yards. They are in various states of repair--it is the kind of place you could use to film an Eisenhower Era period piece.

As you get farther from the plant, however, the homes get slightly newer and more uniformly well-kept. As you get past Pine Street (which takes you down to Highway 4 and away either back towards Concord or in the direction of Richmond) there is a mostly undeveloped hill that separates this section of Shell Avenue from the final section made up of older pre-War homes before it dead ends on Alhambra right by the High School. On the mostly undeveloped hill there is an apartment building, where--no doubt because of the proximity of the chemical plant--you can get a 2-bedroom apartment for $1150.

As to the homes along Shell, they range from $150k to about $400k roughly corresponding to the distance of the home from the plant. The benefits of living on Shell is that you are relatively close to Highway 4 and so you are commute ready. Also because Martinez is generally overlooked when people are looking for a place to live, it is relatively more affordable--especially north of Highway 4 where there are greater chemical worries.

Martinez also has strong schools with Alhambra holding an API of 8, Martinez Junior High a 7, and John Muir Elementary a solid 6. Crime is relatively low and the area has a definite middle class feel throughout.

Overall, I think that a home here, especially a rental, is probably a steal.
  • Affordable Rents and Home Prices
  • Good Schools
  • Close for Commutes
  • Close to Chemical Plant
  • Older Home Problems
  • Some Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Unranked Streets in Martinez

Alhambra Ave

"Good Neigbhorhood South of Highway 4"
37.9833411367095 -122.119163283598

Arnold Dr

"A Pretty Average Suburban Stripmall Area"
37.9932039977439 -122.098788911181

C St

"Between the High School and the Football Field"
38.0052451325525 -122.132401205878

Estudillo St

"Old Bungalows, St. Catherine's and Starbucks"
38.0095553375109 -122.129429936134

F St

"Older Spot with Schools for All Ages"
38.0011026276807 -122.132535456326

Fig Tree Ln

"Typical Martinez Pleasantness"
37.9940459152797 -122.095554398831

Green St

"From Pill Hill to the Court House"
38.0146985406957 -122.138082311527

Howe Rd

"Omellets, Chainsaws and a Big Refinery"
38.0039651931918 -122.110842470663

Hull Ln

"Nice Suburban Street Close to Movie Theater"
37.9921840175793 -122.106382656129

I-- 680

38.0301322770626 -122.117164753639

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