Walk along Valley Glen's quiet, tree-lined streets and take a step back to the San Fernando Valley of days gone by: charming, affordable homes built in the '30s and '40s; neighborhood dinners; abundant orange and walnut trees; and easy access to parks and shopping in the neighborhood that formerly was part of Van Nuys.
Affordable, older homes with built-in alcoves, Art Deco bathrooms, hardwood floors and porches attract first-time and move-up buyers to Valley Glen, located roughly between Burbank Boulevard and Vanowen Street, and Hazeltine and Whitsett avenues. Entertainment industry workers like the proximity to the studios and other media-related businesses, and residents boast of an esprit de corps that galvanizes families to fight for neighborhood causes, such as the area's name change, and look out for one another's homes.
In a city where friends too often are separated by freeways rather than backyard fences, a group of Valley Glen neighbors began a tradition five years ago of Sunday night dinners, involving more than a dozen residents. The host family for each dinner provides the main course and the guests bring side dishes.
"We also celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, successes, all types of life events together," participant Bob Beuth said. "We're a close-knit extended family."
In the works
Work began last spring on the San Fernando Valley Metro Rapid Transitway, a 14-mile landscaped busway connecting the North Hollywood Metro Rail Station and the Warner Center in Woodland Hills. The line runs through Valley Glen and includes stops at such activity centers as Los Angeles Valley College. When it opens in the summer of 2005, it is expected to reduce bus travel time between the east and west Valley by up to 30%.
Good news, bad news
Situated close to Fashion Square Mall and Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park in Sherman Oaks -- with its Olympic-size pool and Little League baseball diamonds -- Valley Glen enjoys a reputation for "Leave It to Beaver" suburban living. The area also encompasses Oxnard Street's industrial corridor, however, a thoroughfare lined with a number of auto body shops. Despite the 1998 name change, Valley Glen suffers some of the negative ramifications -- many say undeserved -- associated with Van Nuys, including higher car insurance rates.
In an area of about 4,000 single-family homes and 2,000 apartments, 27 single-family homes were listed for sale at the end of October. The prices range from $349,000 for a two-bedroom home on a 5,266-square-foot lot to $589,000 for a three-bedroom home on a 7,348-square-foot lot.
Valley Glen is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Elementary schools include Monlux, Erwin Street, Coldwater Canyon Avenue, Kittridge Street and Hazeltine Avenue. Scores on the 2003 Academic Performance Index ranged from 649 to 746, out of a possible 1,000. Madison Middle School scored 602, while Grant Senior High scored 596.
Single-family detached resales:
*year to date
Sources: DataQuick Information Systems; Valley Glen Neighborhood Assn., Raquel Magro, at Pinnacle Estate Properties; California Department of Education.