The East side versus West side comparison is something commonly brought up when people from out of town are interested in learning about Petaluma, CA. Both have their appeal and unique qualities. It mostly depends what an individual's preferences are.
Petaluma's East and West sides were formerly distinguished by the town's division by the Petaluma River. Today, Interstate Highway 101, which runs North and South through the town, defines the boundary.
Simply explained, Petaluma's West side includes the historic downtown area of its 1885 incorporation as an agricultural river town. The West side holds the largest collection of surviving Victorian homes in Northern California, since they went unscathed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Over time, as land was sold off from those grand Victorian estates, newer bungalows of the 1920s and later ranchers of the 1950s were built between them. More recently, newer high-end view homes and developments have been built on the West side as expansion spread up into the Western hills of town. Most of Petaluma's West Side is easily accessible on foot. For this reason, I describe the Petaluma West side way of life as the "walk-to-downtown lifestyle".
Petaluma's development brought about 1960s expansion into the formerly rural and industrial East side. More ranch style homes and modern subdivisions increased the density of Petaluma's East side in subsequent decades. Many high-end neighborhoods sprung up around golf courses with quiet, tree-lined streets, cul-de-sacs and elaborately beautiful modern homes. The majority of grocery stores and shopping centers are found on the East side.In places, it has a genuinely suburban feel yet is still within a close proximity to the heart of town. I call the Petaluma East side way of life, the "cul-de-sac lifestyle".
Of the two sides, each has it's draw. It depends on what a buyer is looking for. Each has its unique appeal and long standing loyalists in the ongoing debate.