We have all heard the expression, “It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” One thing that strikes me about Irvine is that it is a boring place to visit, but it’s a great place if you live there. Irvine is all about the joy of the mundane, and the happiness of daily life. For me life in Irvine revolves around the time I spend with my family in the various activities available in our great city. As a “bitter renter” I have lived in three different neighborhoods of Irvine, and I have friends in other neighborhoods. Through various family activities, I have become acquainted with several of Irvine’s neighborhoods. If this post is popular, I may profile other parts of Irvine with which I am familiar. The following is about the West side of University Park.
University Park is defined by the roughly triangular shape defined by the 405, Culver Drive and University Drive. Michelson Drive is the major collector street ushering people through the area. The pictures in this post were taken in the neighborhood west of University Community Park and south of Michelson.
University Park is one of the first neighborhoods in Irvine. Most of the housing was built in the late 1960’s. The architecture is a bit dated, but the houses tend to have more interior and exterior space and larger individual rooms. What really sets this neighborhood in Irvine apart is the quality of the land planning. Back in the 1960’s, large master planned communities like Irvine were a relatively new phenomenon. Some innovative thinkers melded together some relatively simple ideas to create a wonderful place to live. The first of these ideas was to create a pedestrian walkway system linking the neighborhood in a way that creates a very safe place to get around with a minimum of interference from automobiles. One of the beautiful features of this community is its mature trees. It makes for a wonderful stroll down the winding pathways.
The backyard pedestrian walkway links a number of tot lots. It is quite common to see parents walking or biking with their young children to these parks. One of the unique features of these parks is their relative inaccessibility by car. If you drove through this neighborhood, you would never see these walkways or parks as they are all on the pedestrian system in the collective back yard.
The back yard pedestrian path is ideal for younger families with children who may be learning to ride bikes or roller blade.
The tot lots are generally of high quality. Kids really do enjoy playing on them. Sometimes when a tot lot is too small or lacks interesting climbing apparatuses, children will lose interest quickly. This is not usually a problem with these tot lots.
Near the center of the community, there is one location where the pedestrian pathways intersect a lightly traveled local street. Here is one of the many community pools in University Park. All of the pools require either a key or a code available only to University Park residents (and their friends).
University Community Park is the central feature of the master plan. It has something for everyone.
The Adventure Playground according to the City of Irvine website: “Since 1977, the City of Irvine’s Adventure Playground has been creating challenging programs for children to explore and learn in an environment that was once naturally available but is now virtually nonexistent. Adventure Playground, or A.P., is an enclosed area dedicated for children to develop, stir their imaginations and encompass the benefits of free and natural play. This living playground is constantly changing and always supervised. Maintained by trained and friendly staff, you are sure to have an enjoyable experience every visit.“
The baseball field is lit, there are concrete dugouts and a fan seating area.
There are basketball courts, tennis courts, and racketball courts.
Did you know there is a professional disc golf association?
Univesity Park Elementary School is adjacent to the community park. It has one of the better childrens play areas.
Also at University Community Park but not pictured here is a branch of Orange County Public Library.
Obviously, Irvine has plenty of activities to keep every member of the family active. Irvine also has the great weather to make using these activities part of the daily lives of its residents. It is easy to step out your door and walk to any of a dozen parks or play areas and invest quality time with the family. On the weekends my family will often make day trips to enjoy the other activities Southern California has to offer; however, sometimes we choose to have an “Irvine Day,” and just hang out at the parks and pools in our neighborhood and take it easy. It is great to live in a community with so much to offer.