Woodbridge is a large community in the heart of Irvine. Started in 1975 and completed in the early 1990’s, the community covers approximately four square miles bounded by Culver, Irvine Center Drive, Jeffrey and the 405. It is one of Irvine’s premier neighborhoods.
Woodbridge is bisected into two residential segments, called North Lake and South Lake, by a broad stripe of retail, commercial and institutional development between Alton and Barranca. The lakes are between three and six feet deep and each is crossed by a large wooden footbridge, owing the village its name. A four-lane circular loop road, Yale Loop, runs around the interior of Woodbridge, connecting all its housing blocks and major streets. The village is walled off from the rest of Irvine by a row of pine trees and a continuous, 20-foot-high Privet hedge.
In Great Streets by Allan B. Jacobs (MIT Press), Pinewood (street name) on the Northern edge of the village off of the Yale Loop, is cited as one of the great “new urban” streets. The houses of Yale Loop and the wall and hedge which surround the development act as a shield to disguise the high-density residential products which are situated between them.
The design concept works very well. A casual observer seeing Woodbridge comes to believe the entire community is composed of large single family residential homes giving Woodbridge a high-end veneer.
Even the more modest homes are very well maintained and show real pride of ownership.
Residents who really “know” Woodbridge will tell you there is a hierarchy of desirability radiating outward from the center. Neighborhoods closer to the lakes have larger homes and are more desirable. People in this area are the creme de la creme, and they defecate without odor.
Those who live outside the loop are the “wannabes” who really aren’t worthy of Woodbridge’s aura of greatness. You must pardon my facetious banter, but I was given a very similar description by a long-time resident. Interesting that even within one of Irvine’s best neighborhoods, the competition to put oneself above others is notable.
There are other attractive streets in Woodbridge…
Each one of Woodbridge’s lakes has a “beach club” next to it, where there is a “lagoon” (a sand-surrounded fresh-water swimming pool that empties into the lake), a dock facility to rent pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and hydro-bikes.
Swimming is prohibited in the lakes, but many people swim or fall off of their boats into the water. The beach clubs also have two volleyball courts each. South lake has a recreation room and a snack shop in it also, which is only open at certain times throughout the year.
There are also two “swim clubs,” Stonecreek and Bluelake, on each side of Woodbridge. These have lifeguards all day 10-10 during summer, and weekends 10-5 during the winter. Stonecreek has a two-meter diving board, and Bluelake has a one meter and a three meter diving board. The Woodbridge swim teams are based out of Stonecreek. Woodbridge is home to Woodbridge High School.
Twenty-four tennis courts, twenty of which are lit for night play, pathways, bikeways, and a plethora of recreational parks within the four square miles make Woodbridge a community of interest to young families as well as retirees who enjoy outdoor activities. Its community tennis club regularly trains young players who are ranked in the first hundred in their USTA age group.
There are four elementary schools (there used to be a fifth, an alternative school, Alderwood, which got moved to Quail Hill), two middle schools, and Woodbridge High School.
One of the weaknesses of Woodbridge is the lack of a strong commercial gathering place. There isn’t a suburban plaza in Woodbridge that is very successful. The Woodbridge Community Center has been recently renovated because many of the retail businesses left and have been replaced by high end office tenants.
There are other successful retail centers in Woodbridge, but none with a good suburban plaza. The center on Jeffrey and Alton has a suburban plaza which is designed correctly to be successful, but it is across from the successful Oak Creek suburban plaza and for whatever reason, it has not done as well.
In my opinion, the best public space in Woodbridge is the southern half of North Lake. This section of north lake is adjacent to the semi-successful community center, and it is connected with a walkway over Barranca Parkway.
There is a unique children’s tot lot which juts out into the lake on the north side of the bridge. This play area is a bit unnerving when your children are very young because it is so close to the water, but when your children are a bit more self-sufficient, it is a great place to sit and enjoy the lake while they play nearby. (Notice the little girl chasing the ducks.)
North lake is beautiful.
Toy sailboating, anyone?
The gazebo is the lakes focal point.
Fine dining at the Waters.
Children feeding the ducks…
A framed view of the distant mountains.
Woodbridge is a community of all ages.
The Senior’s Center is first rate.
Don’t forget South Lake. It is nice too.
South lake looking north from Yale Loop.
A community garden plot place in a retention basin.
There is a wide variety of activities.
There are a great many parks and pools…
This one is heated year round.
Anyone play horseshoes?
My “Irvine” day was full of playing with the family between taking pictures. This style and quality of life is what makes Irvine such a unique place. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this community profile.
Irvine’s Woodbridge: a great place to live.
If you liked the pictures above, see what the pros can do. Check out: