Relocating To Pomona, CA : rental housing and general advice?
May 3, 2007 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Pomona/Claremont/Inland Empire Filter. I have just landed an academic job at Cal Poly Pomona. Does anyone have advice about where to live, in rental housing, NEAR as possible to campus. Advice on apt/househunting in the inland empire in general also requested. General advice about Cal Poly and the Pomona/Claremont area sought too.

So, I've gone and got me a tenure-track job at Cal Poly Pomona. I'm going back there next week to negotiate and to meet with real estate realtors/agents. I'm trying to avoid the classic inland-empire commute, and rent a place for a couple of years before I (probably) buy. When I was there for interview, downtown Pomona appears diverse and a little sketchy, and nearby claremont seems a little sterile & white, but safe.

Is there any way I can live a biking distance to work (<5 mi) in a safe but relatively interesting area?i know i'll probably drive, but the option of walking/biking is something i think is hard to let go of. failing that, is there anywhere nearby with a b>minimal commute that has a town-ish culture (i.e. as unlike suburbia as possible)? Any suggestions on particular neighborhoods to avoid?

Any suggestions in general about real estate and agents - things to look for in apartments/houses, prices etc. Suggestions on things to avoid? Furthermore, any suggestions about Cal Poly Pomona and the area in general gratefully received: especially aimed at an 8-yr New Yorker.

For those of you who want to see where Cal Poly Pomona is, here's a link.
posted by lalochezia to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
As a Pitzer College graduate, I can tell you that Claremont is as charming and "east coasty" as you can get in Southern California.

Some caveats:
1. My experience there was almost 20 years ago.
2. All the surrounding communities to Claremont are about as non-charming as you can get - miles of new homes, thousands of strip centers, etc.
3. Claremont is not within bike-riding distance of CalPoly, if I recall correctly.
4. Unless a lot has changed, Pomona was not an ideal place to live.

Hope this helps...
posted by Futurehouse at 8:19 AM on May 3, 2007

But Pomona has Juanita's burritos!
posted by amber_dale at 8:21 AM on May 3, 2007

I spent five years in Claremont as a grad student. On my grad student pittance, I rented a house about 5 blocks from the village and five block from the colleges. I grew up in Ohio and I tell people that Claremont is more midwestern than the midwest.

You don't say what department you're in. However, I found that the quality of schools in Claremont attract top-notch workshops and seminars. One conference our department sponsored had two Nobel laureates and a 3rd who eventually got the Nobel. Pretty cool for a system with fewer than 8,000 students. ... You caught me monologuing.

After you "make it," you can move to plusher digs: the Claremont Hills, Kellogg Ranch. But as a young underpaid assistant professor, a rental in Claremont would be my choice.
posted by GarageWine at 9:00 AM on May 3, 2007

Cal Poly Pomona is, if I remember correctly, on the far western end of Pomona. As a result, it's as close to Covina and West Covina as it is to Claremont. You might try looking there, or Walnut or Diamond Bar or Glendora or San Dimas, because that way you'll have the advantage of a reverse commute - going east in the morning and west in the afternoon. They are all decent cities, and West Covina (dunno about the others) is not lily-white at all - it's actually LA's Little Manila.

However, I'll third the recommendation of Claremont - it's probably the nicest, most quaint city in the IE. It's boring, but that's why you have a car. You should also look in Montclair, which is the city right next door to the East, and should be a little bit cheaper.

Stay the hell out of Pomona - there is no reason to stay in a town that crime-ridden. Also, beware of southern Ontario. Actually, just don't go south of I-10 between highway 57 and Euclid.
posted by thewittyname at 9:13 AM on May 3, 2007

I grew up in Walnut, just over the hill from CalPoly.

Futurehouse's recollections are still accurate. If you want a town-ish atmosphere Claremont is really the only option close by, although Upland has some of that too a bit further east.

If you go west over Temple Ave. to Grand (by Mt. San Antonio College) you come to the neighborhood I grew up in. Tract homes, but quiet and within biking distance of CalPoly. People mostly own their homes, but you can usually find rentals and there are some condos on Grand that are pretty nice.

There is also a small neighborhood right next to the CalPoly campus, but unless it has changed it has the same gang/crime problems as most of Pomona, so I'd avoid it. The only other bike-accessible options would be up Temple into Diamond Bar, but that's a huge hill-- it would be fun in the morning, but a nightmare going home.
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:16 AM on May 3, 2007

I agree with the people who say that Claremont may be your best bet. It's only about 8 google map miles from Cal Poly by freeway, but you'd not want to be riding some of those streets, especially after dark - just too much traffic and not bike-friendly, I think. Other places you might get your realtor to show you would be downtownish La Verne and downtown Covina. Pomona is interesting (art galleries, live music and antiques), and yes, a bit sketchy, but also has some lovely neighborhoods, with beautiful older homes. The rest of the area is mostly sprawl, without much center. The advantage of living in Claremont would be that even if you couldn't bike to work, once you got home you could, if you lived close enough to the Village, stroll out to eat or drink or just window shop. Get your agent to show you the Village area, which is right next to the colleges.
Another advantage to living near downtown Covina, or La Verne or Claremont is the proximity to the metrolink station to get to downtown LA.
If you like to ride for fun, I can give you the route my husband uses to ride down to the beach.

I live about six miles from Cal Poly, and have to run out for the day. If there are any more specific questions I can answer for you, my email is in my profile, and I'll check in here later too.
posted by jvilter at 9:36 AM on May 3, 2007

Claremont is very nice. When I try to picture the town and college from the novel White Noise by Don Delillo, I have a picture of something like the Claremont Colleges and the neighborhoods around it in my head.

But the hilliness of the whole Pomona area as well as the kinda-sketchy neighborhoods around CalPoly pretty much means that bike riding would be very difficult. It's not as sketchy as near USC, but it's not a place I would feel comfortable living in with kids.
posted by chimaera at 9:37 AM on May 3, 2007

I grew up in Covina, and in that whole east San Gabriel Valley area is a suburban cultural wasteland unless you're close to the college town area of Claremont or downtown Pomona. True, it's not lily white now (it never really was), but god it's still mostly dull, dull, dull unless you get way west into the Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silverlake, Pasadena, etc., all of which are too far away from campus to consider living there unless or until you embrace LA car culture. Claremont is your best best, especially because of the rail line. LA can be fascinating though, the more you know about the unique history of the place. Read City of Quartz and re-watch Chinatown.
posted by tula at 12:46 PM on May 3, 2007

I grew up in Claremont/etc. Generally speaking you can't go wrong with downtown Claremont, although the village can be way expensive to rent or buy in.

As mentioned the rail line location is great and there's plenty of parking there.

The old rule of thumb used to be stay above Arrow Highway, but that was many years ago.

Altenatives that are reasonably close to Claremont although a further distance from the village are:

LaVerne, San Dimas, top west corner of Ontario or Western Montclair.

You're probably going to have best luck as far as proximity with LaVerne, San Dimas, the North east end of Covina or the South east end of Glendora.

If you want a college town with fantastic places to eat and an old college feel you really can't get better than old town Claremont (the village). It's proximity to the claremont colleges (Harvey Mudd, Pomona Pitzer, Scipps, Claremont McKenna) make it ideal.
posted by iamabot at 4:42 PM on May 3, 2007

I am probably the only Metafilter member that lives in Pomona. There are some decent neighborhoods in the downtown area or Lincoln Park, which seems to be slowly yuppifying as I speak. The prices are reasonable and the neighborhoods are safe. I would avoid anything within a half mile of Holt or Mission. Look for the historic district signs.

If you want a suburban environment you can live in Phillips Ranch. Because it is Pomona the housing prices are lower than Chino Hills, but crime and ambience are not appreciably worse.
posted by calwatch at 12:57 AM on October 5, 2007

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