Pinole, California

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What's it like to live in Pinole?

Living in Pinole

Hi there, Im born and raised in Pinole( 30 years) I guess the biggest thing to know is that there’s a big difference between Pinole Valley and Old Town Pinole. The divider between the two being the 80 overpass over Pinole Valley Road.

The other claims about crime and pollution should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s not a crime-free utopia by any means, but it does happen, mostly centralized in a couple neighborhoods and is the result of us having ingress/egress routes from other areas (San Pablo Ave through richmond/San Pablo to rodeo, appian through el sobrante, and quick access to 80) and it’s mainly vehicle property crime of breakins and catalytic converter theft. Air pollution from chevron is not generally a concern unless something crazy happens, and that rarely does. I’d say our biggest threat in terms of air pollution would be if a wildfire ever broke out in the backroads of Castro Ranch or along the hillside in the valley, both of which could cause big problems.

The schools aren’t great, but all except for Collins Elementary have been renovated at least since 2000, and the high school is like brand brand new with only one graduating class so far.

The Trader Joe’s and sprouts parking lots are both clusterfucks basically all the time, and dining options are diverse enough, but nothing really noteworthy (except Red Onion, which is amazing for food and it’s staff IMO)

It’s definitely a commuter and retiree suburbia, with zero nightlife.

I lived in the apartments off Estates Ave for a while, which are the only ones in the valley. They’re alright but not great, but rent was affordable.

What is living in Hercules or Pinole like for a young family?

I also left Oakland for Pinole and have been living in the Pinole Valley area for 20+ years. Raised my now 20 year old twins here and can say it is a really great experience place to raise kids. We had a great community at Ellerhorst Elementary in the valley, Middle & High School suffer from the same issues as most CA public schools, but my kids always had access to a lot of activities.

I debated moving after my divorce, but stayed and am really happy I did. It’s quiet and has a small town feel, but still close enough to Oakland & SF to not feel like you’re stuck.

Neighbors are friendly, but even after 20 years, I don’t always feel like I fit in. The diversity has dramatically increased in the 20 years I’ve lived here, but some of the more “old Pinole” folks don’t seem to always realize it. Would also like to see some sort of revitalization of old Pinole to add more diversity to the businesses here - we are heavily dependent on large chain stores.

All in all, I really do like it here!

What is living in Hercules or Pinole like for a young family?

We live in Tara Hills, bordering Pinole, and basically consider Pinole our city. It’s got all the essentials, including well maintained and safe parks, a downtown with enough restaurants to give variety, and every grocery store you could want. Very safe. It is TERRIBLE for pedestrian safety and bike lanes; previous city administrations ignored these issues for decades, and the current staff and council are finally making some slow progress. Pinole is a great community.

Pinole California! Living in Pinole, CA! A Small Town with a Big Heart!