Greenridge - Castro Valley - Page 3

Little-known yet in the 'middle of everywhere,' these Eichlers light up the East Bay hills with community feeling

two young girls walking dog

Caufield's home, with an enclosed pool, overlooks a canyon and a flock of 20-plus turkeys. "In the morning and the afternoon," he says, "they start to really gobble."

Public trails wind below the neighborhood; and Greenridge Park, with playgrounds, picnic areas, and more trails, is at the top of the road, which dead-ends at the park. The neighborhood is also near several regional parks.

"Everybody appreciated the quiet and peacefulness up here," Doris McKim says.

Greenridge is an oddly shaped Eichler neighborhood -- most of the homes along a single street, with a few cul-de-sacs and side roads.

Originally, Eichler had planned about 400 houses on both sides of the ridge, Shea recalls, but a recession caused him to sell sections to other developers, who built standard tract homes in later years. Original plans also called for Eichler to build a community center, she says.

Several lots within the Eichler section contain non-Eichler homes. Shea, who has examined the original county-approved plans, say these steepish lots were originally set aside as pocket parks. After Eichler pulled out, she says, neighbors strongly protested plans to build on these lots -- but lost.

Because of the street layout, Steven Cavalieri says, the folks he meets are those who live uphill from his house, since he does his neighborhood strolling heading uphill to the park pulling his son Vincent in a wagon.

musical open house

Walking dogs also brings many people together. "You walk your dogs and say hi to your neighbors," says Nick Relampagos.

"It's a very doggy neighborhood," says Barbara Eandi.

John Giles has won fame as the neighborhood dog-walker, taking many of his neighbor's dogs on jaunts through nearby parks.

But it's not only dogs that pull people together. Andria does her part by running a neighborhood Eichler website. She and her husband have also hosted house concerts featuring guitarist and singer Adam Levy that attracted many people from Greenridge.

The neighborhood has had a voluntary association for years, the Greenridge-Coldwater Area Homeowners Association, which functions well as a social group. But it's not specific to the Eichler homes, says Wendy Bisset, a former officer. Many people believe an Eichler-only group would be better able to address Eichler-only issues.

Efforts are underway to perk things up. Barbara Eandi, John Giles, and others have been landscaping 'the triangle' of greenery that greets people at the bottom of the hill.

couple admiring the view

Eandi would like to see the neighborhood seek historic designation. Andria and other neighbors too are interested in efforts to preserve the homes.

There has been talk of installing speed bumps because of the occasional driver who comes careening down the hill. One plowed into parked cars.

And Scott San Filippo, an officer of the association, has made burying the ugly utility lines his priority, though he concedes it will be expensive and difficult. "One of the first things I said to Thomas was, we have to get these utilities underground," he says.

But in Greenridge, it's the personal touches, more than the political ones, that are most telling. A man, recently widowed, is supplied with meals by his neighbors. So is a new mother whose delivery proved complicated. The car that was slammed by a downhill speeder? Neighbors cleaned things up.

"It's inspiring," Andria Tay says. "That community feeling is basically still here."

• The Eichlers of Greenridge are found on Greenridge Road (north of Crow Canyon Canyon Road), and on Crown Court, Cotton Court, Badger Court, Lomond Way, and Highwood Road.

• Greenridge Eichler Community is a website developed by Andria Tay that serves as a kind of online town The Greenridge/Coldwater Area Home Owners Association, which runs the holiday party and summer barbecue and serves the Eichler and adjoining neighborhoods, can be found online at

• Don't miss ace photographer David Toerge's slide show tour of Greenridge.


Photos: David Toerge; and courtesy Andria Tay