Family friendly is how Jessica Clark, a marriage and family therapist, describes her Suburban Park neighborhood where she's lived for seven years. That quality is what sold her on the neighborhood. When she and her family wanted to move from San Jose to Menlo Park, they drove around the neighborhood and even from the car, she knew it would be a great place to raise a family.
Clark’s intuition about the neighborhood as a family-friendly place was correct. “When kids play outside, they always see someone they know. They always stop to chat and will join them,” Clark said. “It’s a very friendly and social place.”
Situated in eastern Menlo Park, bounded by Marsh Road to the north and Highway 101 to the east, sit the triplet neighborhoods of Suburban Park, Lorelei Manor and Flood Triangle. These tightly knit communities provide a relatively affordable place to live in Menlo Park.
Suburban Park hosts holiday parades and a special street dance.
All three neighborhoods share access to Flood Park, a large San Mateo County park on Bay Road. Another perk is being within walking distance of the hip Marsh Manor shopping center, with its sparkling new grocery store, restaurants and yoga studio.
Ranch-style homes are the norm. Often seen with bikes out front, the curb appeal of the houses is undeniable. Neighborhoods are full of families with small children, couples hosting parties in cul-de-sacs, and original homes from the 1950s. A freight train used to run on tracks behind the neighborhoods, but those have tapered off over the years.
Nearby Flood Triangle is another popular place to live because of its amenities and peaceful nature.
Doug Bui, a resident of Menlo Park for the last 49 years, retired 14 years ago, sold his house and moved to Oakwood Place in Flood Triangle. Bui enjoys the accessibility and location of his house and cocktail parties that he and his neighbors host during the summers. “The weather is outstanding; there’s nothing more we could want,” Bui said. “We’re fortunate to be able to live here.”
The Lorelei Manor neighborhood, just off Marsh Road, has its own active homeowners' association, and was an early adopter of the Next Door social media app.
Tom Cecil, a software engineer, bought his house at the end of 2010, when his eldest child had already started school and the family wanted to stay within the school district. He did not know much about Menlo Park when he first moved to the area, but found that the neighbors were welcoming.
Nader Barbari, a clinical data associate, is president of the homeowners' association this year. He has rented his house for nine years and said that what first attracted him to the neighborhood was the curb appeal.
Not everything is rosy, however. Some consistent complaints from the Lorelei Manor neighborhood are the commuters that contribute to the cut-through traffic from Marsh Road.
“Cars can drive pretty fast, and there is a light industrial zone behind the neighborhood,” Cecil said.
In the past, the mayor and the police chief have come to talk to the neighborhood about issues that the city and neighborhood want to work on with the neighborhood.
“We’ve talked with the city, and the city was pretty responsive,” Cecil said. “There have been issues that come with the territory.” -- Sarah Mason, 2017
CHILDCARE & PRESCHOOLS: James B. Flood School, 320 Sheridan Ave., Menlo Park
FIRE STATION: 300 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS: Lorelei Manor: Nader Barbari, president;
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Menlo Park City Elementary School District — Laurel School, 95 Edge Road, Atherton; Encinal School, 195 Encinal Ave., Menlo Park; Hillview Middle School, 1100 Elder Ave., Menlo Park
Sequoia Union High School District — Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton
SHOPPING: Marsh Manor