My son will be transferring to the Coast Guard base in Alameda this summer, and I am looking for a roommate/garage apartment type scenario for him. He will be underway for months at a time, and is a great mechanic and handyman. He can do plumbing, electrical, carpentry, drywall, and all sorts of car stuff. No smoker, drinker, does not tom cat around. I need advice on what areas to look in, and what areas to avoid, and things like that. Thanks !
Born and raised in Alameda, and spent my first 37 years there (with a few expeditions along the way).
There are a fair amount of garage conversions and mother-in-law additions available as rentals. However, the nicer ones tend to stay occupied and rented out through word of mouth rather than advertising.
Room-mate situations are abundant. And probably the best option, since housing is expensive in Alameda. The town is an island, so there was room for only so much expansion.
When I lived there the area to avoid was anything west of Webster Street and north of Lincoln. The closer you get to what use to be called the Buena Vista Apartments on Buena Vista and Poggi the worse the neighborhood gets. By the time we left in 2000, I wouldn't want to even drive in that area during the day.
Most neighborhoods east of 8th Street are good. The Gold Coast is fabulous, and a garage apartment in that neighborhood is a real treasure, but hard to find (nobody wants to give one up and they are expensive). The east end is generally "nicer" than the west end. That goes back to N.A.S. and the gazillions of sailors that would descend on Alameda from base. Bar fights, drugs. Webster Street was the focal point for the naughty base behavior.
Beach front living is awesome. That is where we lived the last 8 years. However, parking is a pain in the butt and Shore Line Drive can be impossible to navigate on warm weekend days. I don't know if they still do this, but when I lived there the Alameda PD would shut down Shore Line and you had to show proof of residency in order to move through the road block. And traffic was still backed up!
The ferry runs from Alameda to San Francisco and is wonderful. BART is available from Oakland. AC Transit pretty much covers Alameda. Public transportation is actually good throughout the immediate Bay Area. Leaving Alameda by one of the bridges can be subject to delay if they are allowing a boat to pass through. I have been trying to remember if they are all are draw bridges. I know the Park Street, High Street and Fruitvale bridges are, but the Bay Farm Island bridge might not be. Webster Street has an under water tube that travels under the Oakland Estuary. You enter the tube in Alameda and exit it in Oakland (takes about 30-45 seconds, unless traffic is bad and then you might have to sit there).
I loved living in Alameda. It was my home. It just got too expensive and too crowded.
Craigslist started in the Bay Area, it's probably a good place to start looking. I don't know if there is a roomie exchange at the CG Station, the last time I was there they still had Tracen Alameda. Might try the classifieds at http://www.latitude38.com/index.lasso .
I lived at the Gates, they're a bit too far away to be helpful.
I lived in Alameda forever and am still nearby. Coastguard island is an island in the estuary between Alameda and Oakland. They usually provide housing. Are you saying he's going to be on a ship months at a time, and then he's off duty and needs a place to live? That sounds very odd.
I'm sure he can figure out the situation with those he's serving with, and they can use craigslist to find what they need.