7.2 out of 10

Whisman Station

37.3904784629174 -122.060255454647
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Public Transport
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Safe & Sound
  • Cost of Living
Not great for
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Shopping Options
  • Childcare
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Medical Facilities
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"New Wave of Condominium Living"

Cornered into North Whisman Road, the Central Expressway and US Route 237, Whisman Station is the essence of community living. It is a close-knit community and provides everything from a number of different transportation options to its overall pedestrian-friendly ambiance. And while a large portion of the neighborhood was converted into an industrial parkland for Verizon, the other half is a blissful sneak peak into the future of condominium and single-family living. As a result, it is an attractive experience for those invested in their futures in the Silicon Valley area.

Whisman Stations’ residential terrain is a glimpse into modern day living. The neighborhood is saturated with newly built condominium complexes clustered together in what shapes up to be its own intimate community. Each condominium complex offers a quaint architectural style reminiscent of an old, 1950’s design and is tinted in a variety of beige that keeps a sort of homogeneous feel to the community. Each residence also offers two stories of living space with a clean-cut look to it. They are accented with tree-lined streets and small, polished front yards. However, it only yields room for narrow roads with little street parking available for visitors. But the community provides polished landscaping quarters throughout the district and a communal pool to take a dip in. For the price, condominium listings are around $400,000 to $700,000. There are also a few homes that seem to blend into the condominium-heavy neighborhood. These homes tend to be the bulky version of the condos that they lay adjacent to.

For young families, parents send their children to Landels Elementary, Crittenden Middle School and Mountain View High School. Also, there are a number of different transportation options. This list includes the light rail system in Whisman Station, which connects local residents to Silicon Valley. Elsewhere, the Mountain View Caltrain station is just up the road from the Central Expressway and is the primary line for commuters traveling up the San Francisco peninsula. If driving is your main means of transportation, the area provides quick access to nearby Highway 237 and the Central Expressway. For recreation, Chetwood Park lies within the heart of the community, giving residents a place to enjoy the outdoors, play with their family or walk your dog.
Pros
  • Great For Commuters
  • Great Schools
  • Walkable Complexes
Cons
  • Expensive for Renters
  • No Local Supermarket
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Walkable Condos"

I should start off by saying that I generally am not a fan of homogeneity in neighborhood design. I usually hate those neighborhoods where every house is built to look like the one next to it and only the number of your home lets you distinguish your house from the one next to it. Communities like these feel like they have all the conformity of the 1950’s without any of the community involvement that made those 1950’s ethos so successful.

Whisman Station is a patchwork of condominium complexes. I am not sure if the developers here worked in coordination or if one developer decided to create these half dozen slightly varying communities that encircle the Whisman VTA station. In my favorite of these complexes on the southe end of Magnolia park, homes are two stories high, with large sunny windows and thick front piers providing shelter at the front door (very reminiscent of early 20th Century California bungalows but without the walk up stairs). Bushy front yards (obviously community maintained), are trimmed to precision and give way to leafy streets with classic looking faux early century wrought iron lamps and young trees that offer tell-tale signs that this is a community still in its infancy.

Yet Whisman station feels less oppressive than it does quaint to me. I think that much of this pleasing effect has to dimensions of the streets here. They are narrow and have plentiful sidewalks. (Garages are in back alleys where each home has its own garage or along cut-out bays along the front of homes.) By narrowing the streets, the developers have help encourage walking within the neighborhood and discouraged vehicles from driving quickly.

So often when you get a planned community, the whole space in between homes just feel like a large alley. Often the front of homes are made for vehicles and with an emphasis on the garage as the true entry way to the home. Sidewalks, if existent, are placed behind the homes and lead to pools or recreation areas, but they largely remain little used except on hot summer days. By reversing this equation the planners of the south of Magnolia community have harkened back to a bygone period when planners tried to create a sense of shelter within the community and to emphasize the pedestrian as the central unit of the community.

I don’t know if this type of community works in 21st Century, car centered Mountain View. Many may feel as if they are living in a retirement community and indeed, many of the residents that I have seen here are of the gray haired and oversized glasses variety (though not all, as the mom’s and toddlers at the park play areas prove). However, I welcome the attempt to remove the focus of our neighborhoods away from emission producing vehicles and towards a means of living based more on the use of shoe leather than fossil fuels.

In fact, I could see someone living here without an automobile—a seeming impossibility in the Peninsula. At the center of Whisman Station you have—well—Whisman Station, the VTA light rail station that connects you with the rest of Silicon Valley, making it possible for you use light rail for your work commute rather than an automobile. With the planned extension of BART, it may soon be possible to relatively easily get from anywhere in the greater Bay Area to anywhere else with relative ease. In addition, commuting via rail is a much more productive way of getting to work, allowing you to prepare for the day or catch up on reading on your way. Certainly much safer than checking texts while negotiating the horrendous bumper to bumper parking lot that are the Silicon Valley freeways during any weekday commute. As it stands, this is definitely a commuter friendly, environmentally friendly community.

The complex of homes also has all of the amenities you expect from a condo complex like this. Magnolia Park and Chatwood Park are both kid friendly areas, isolated from traffic, and having a mix of open space, a fountain in the case of the first and play structures. Each of the complexes also has a pool, a real boon given the hot summers and September Indian summers in this area of the Peninsula.

Of course, there are some problems with trying to live here without car. One is the distance and walkability of grocery stores. Unless you intend to have your groceries delivered—not always the most efficient way of getting what you actually want—you will have a little bit of a hard time trying to make a carless existence work in this section of Mountain View.

If they had a Lucky or Safeway in Whisman proper, that would make it much more conducive to walkability. Without that, however, it remains a sort of keep from which you must drive out to get what you need, thus diminishing what I think is one of its central strengths

So what does it cost to live in one of these condos?

Usually, these condos go for over $650K, but the foreclosure crisis has done its number here with more than 80% of the condos on the market being on the market due to foreclosures. Those which are being sold due to foreclosure run for sometimes as little as $350K—almost like the average price for a condo in other parts of the Bay Area.

You can also rent a condo here at typically high Mountain View prices: $5000 for a 3-bedroom, $3200 for a 2-bedroom.

At those rents, it is probably easier to buy, however.
Pros
  • Walkable Complexes
  • Great For Commuters
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • No Local Supermarket
  • Expensive for Renters
  • Too Close to Highway on Southern End
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish

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"Okay Connector Freeway"
37.3888433828351 -122.055715399233

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