Montclair Village, Back in 1947

Back in 1947, Montclair Village’s commercial district already existed and was fully platted.  As portrayed by this official map, our village should look familiar to modern-day Montclarions.

In the map, it’s easy to locate Mountain, LaSalle and Antioch — including the Coffee Central triangle.  You’ll also find some parking, with six (see the encircled “6”) spots designated on Moraga Avenue.

Sure, there are a few changes.  All those empty lots have been built out and transformed many times.  Now the Sacramento Northern is kaput, while Highway 13 rumbles alongside the Village.

Yet we still find comfort in what hasn’t changed in nearly 65 years.

Simcity Meets Montclair Village

Who should be occupying retail vacancies in Montclair Village?  Do you want more food, apparel, gifts or specialized services?  We made some fantasy picks a few years ago, and several ideas came true!  Now it’s your time to dream and speak up.

While Montclair Village retailers closed for different reasons, some spots have been vacant for a long time.  We believe that Score Education Center, the Movie Express and Argento Jeweler have been shuttered for well over a year.  Currently, there are nine storefronts to be rented, in these exact locations.

Roger Vickery, Director of the Montclair Village Association, has asked everyone for their thoughts.  You may leave them in the comments here, or email them to Vickery at

P.S.  Maybe Simcity’s creator could weigh in.  Will Wright lives in our hills, too.

New Map For Northern Montclarions

Every so often, a good samaritan attempts to define our slightly-confusing borders.  This time, neighbor Jonathan Ryshpan created a nice Google map overlay which shows Northern Montclarions exactly where they live — right down to the street level.

As you may know, Montclair’s divided into two separate parts.

Beat 13Y covers the northern reaches, roughly above Thornhill to Berkeley, and its safety concerns are represented by the North Hills Community Association (click here).  Beat 13Z encompasses the southern half, including Montclair Village, and is cared for by the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council (click here).

Fortunately, Montclarions mingle peacefully and we’re betting that many residents have no clue about these distinctions.  However it is good to be reminded that you belong to one of two tribes, at least from the City of Oakland’s police mapping viewpoint.

So let’s examine this dividing line between Beats 13Y and 13Z more closely.  While Thornhill is a good rule of thumb, it’s not valid as you head uphill.  It turns out that the border is far more circuitous:  Thornhill – Sobrante – Oakwood – Glen Oaks – Wild Currant – Thornhill – Snake – Skyline.

Click to Ryshpan’s map here, and see if you agree with this assessment.  It’s always been a little murky, but matters to those folks who may be (knowingly or unknowingly) living in no-man’s land.

Foreclosures Not Too Healthy

Our beloved zip code is showing a sign of real estate stress.  According to recent RealtyTrac data, there were 31 foreclosures which represented one foreclosure for every 595 homes.  At the same time last year, we recorded one foreclosure filing for every 1,216 units in Montclair and Piedmont.

Last year, our foreclosure rate was a third of the national average and now we’re starting to catch up with the rest of the country.  In November 2009, our 94611 zip code recorded only 0.08% compared to 0.24% nationally.  This past month, we doubled to 0.17% while the USA decreased to 0.20% overall.

The somewhat good news?  Current 94611 foreclosures fell well below numbers notched by Oakland and nearby neighbors.  In November 2010, our 0.17% rate compared favorably to 0.47% for Oakland, 42% for Alameda County and 0.43% for the State of California.

Statistics here aren’t damned lies, and the percentages and numbers are still very small.  For those 31 former owners of Montclair and Piedmont properties, however, this past year must have been rough going.

Wallaroos and Emus in the Oakland Hills

Quick! What’s the difference between a kangaroo and a wallaroo? The wallaroo is slightly smaller and a little stockier than its more famous cousin. The antipodal macropods are now frolicking with emus at the Oakland Zoo’s new Wild Australia exhibit.

You can see the new exhibit by taking a ride on the zoo train, which is now called the Outback Adventure Train. California’s climate is so similar to parts of Australia (consider the eucalyptus), would wallaroos and emus survive in the Oakland Hills if they escaped their enclosures?