Neighborhoods of La Mesa: Vista La Mesa
This is third installment of a new series I'm starting, on the neighborhoods of the area I primarily work, which includes La Mesa, San Carlos, El Cajon and Santee.
This area is bounded by Massachusetts Avenue on the east, California 94 on the south, the San Diego City Limits on the west, and University Avenue on the north. The area in San Diego west almost to College Avenue is broadly similar. The area in La Mesa east across Massachusetts (Lemon Grove Vista) is perhaps slightly less desirable. The main "neighborhood" streets are Waite and Hoffman (which becomes Celia Vista at the San Diego City Limits). Lois and King streets, which are essentially extensions of 70th Street, are used to a lesser extent. Marian has a light on University it shares with Harbinson on the other side of that street, but is very quiet once you get south of Boulevard Place (a short frontage road for University).
Keep in mind, this is the busiest corner inside the neighborhood, excepting only the commercial arteries on the edge!
The main commercial arteries serving the area are University Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue. At one point in the distant past, there was a mini-mart on Hoffman but it's long since been converted to a residence. The area was mostly built up in the 1920s through the 1940s, and has been stable or slightly improving since the late 1970s.
Massachusetts from Waite drive, looking north:
This was during the lunch hour rush. There's a freeway onramp just the other side of where I was standing. As you can see, it's not too bad. Just the other side of the freeway is a large neighborhood shopping center, including an In & Out Burger, if you're one of their many fans.
Physically, the houses are mostly smaller, with a good sprinkling of what were originally two bedroom cottages of about 800 -900 square feet, but most of the neighborhood is three bedrooms now with maybe 20% being four. Most properties have garages, split about half and half between the one and two car variety. Far more use piers than concrete foundations. Large numbers have been modernized, but hardwood floors are still more the rule than the exception. The lots are typically 6500 square feet up to about 9000 or thereabouts, so they originally had plenty of room for additions, and perhaps half have had at least one extra bedroom or bathroom added, most of these before permits were required and therefore grandfathered in. Architecturally, Craftsman style is quite common, but pretty much every house is different from every other, and there's only one small cookie cutter development of about a dozen dwellings in a PUD that was built maybe fifteen years ago as a fill-in. Foundation issues and destructive settling aren't unknown, but most of those issues have long since been dealt with. Mature trees are perhaps less common than some other areas of La Mesa, but there's no shortage of them here.
Once you get away from the main commercial streets, this is a nice quiet neighborhood. At least one resident kept a couple of horses as of a couple weeks ago. The corridor between Boulevard Place and University is noisy and busy, as is the stuff right on Massachusetts Avenue, but once you get onto the neighborhood streets, traffic is sparse and about the only high density housing I can think of is on Waite Drive between King and Massachusetts. By and large, it's all single family detached housing.
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