My wife and I live right near Sherman Circle as well. We don’t have a family yet, but are expecting in Dec! Between EL Haynes playground, the Petworth playground, Library, Upshur Park and Pool, etc. – it seems there are a ton of great family friendly activities and we are looking forward to raising a family in our hood. The EL Haynes playground is open to the public on the weekends and evenings and the weekdays. The Petworth Parents Yahoo group is a great reference and very active – so I’d recommend that you join that. We do walk our dog in and around the circle often and feel fine doing so. Everybody on our block is extremely nice and we feel very safe and have not had any issues at all. The people who you see walking around the neighorhood are the people who live in the neighborhood.