Commuting from Walnut Creek to the East Bay

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Commuting from Walnut Creek to Oakland

Jan 2012

My partner and I are considering a move from Oakland to Walnut Creek. For those of you who live in the Walnut Creek and commute to Oakland, how long does it take you? I need to be in Oakland by 8:30am most mornings and have flexibility on what time I leave (anywhere from 3-6pm). Thanks! Considering a Move

It's a bitch, but you will learn when the ''traffic pockets'' are, like 7:50 and 8:10. With traffic, it can be 45 minutes, without about 15. I dont know where you work but there are back roads..... Up Moraga way in Lafayette, pass Campolindo School in Moraga then straight through the Canyon to Montclair. Why not BART? that's a total breeze. Trains always on time, no parking to deal with. Walnut Creek is nice. Reenie

If you're driving, my commute is similar to the one you're looking at. I'm actually coming up from Danville/San Ramon via 680, and I usually reach the 680-24 interchange around 7:35 a.m. Typically, from there via Highway 24, I reach Orinda/Caldecott Tunnel around 7:45 a.m. and arrive in Downtown Oakland by 7:55 a.m. I can't speak to the afternoon commute, because I usually take a different route to go home. Of course, it will also depend on which part of WC you're coming from, and which part of Oakland you need to get to. Also consider BART as an option. The parking can fill up quickly, but if you're within walking distance of a station either on the WC or Oakland side, or can take an AC or CCCTA bus on either the WC or Oakland side, that may be an alternative. Hope this helps! HMD

Hi, I live in Walnut Creek and to Oakland it's a very easy commute. Disclaimer: I do live near 680 and not off of Treat or Ygnacio Valley Road. Those roads are subject to major traffic. That said, you can either take Bart or just drive. I commute to far North Berkeley (Gilman) around 8ish in the morning and it will take me 30 to maybe 40 minutes if there is heavy traffic. At that time of the day both tunnels are open and visa versa in the PM. Coming back is longer but it doesn't start until 4ish or so. Walnut Creek is great! anonMo

Early morning commute from WC to El Cerrito

Sept 2007

I am hoping to get a sense for how long it will take from Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill at the Geary Blvd exit to the top of Moeser at Arlington in El Cerrito by 9AM sharp on a weekday morning. What time would you have to leave? How bad is the westward traffic? How long does it take at that hour to get from Geary Blvd to the Caldecott Tunnel? thank you

Maybe try taking san pablo dam road at Orinda heading to richmond, left on san pablo avenue in richmond, left on clinton, right on the arlington. that takes you to the top of moeser. Might be faster than trying to get thru the caldecot. estimated time? difficult to say. 45 min if you are lucky. a begillion hours if you are not. Sean

I have the perfect tool for you. Go to, click on the traffic tab at the top, then click on Predict-a-Trip in the left hand navigation bar. This tool lets you enter a trip starting point and ending point and pick a time of day that you plan to travel. It calculates the historical driving time for that trip at that time of day. Give it a try! Friend of 511

I don't have an exact answer to your question, but if I were you I would check the traffic report in the morning and consider the following alternate route if there is a backup at the Caldecott:

Take 24 to San Pablo Dam Road. Follow SPD into El Sobrante and get on 80 at either El Portal or the end of SPD. Exit at McBryde, just an exit or two later, and get on Arlington where it begins, at the end of McBryde near Alvarado Park. Then you have a relaxing 5-10 minute drive on Arlington to Moeser. With this route you avoid the frequent backups that occur at the 580/80 interchange (near Ikea)as well as the very congested Central Ave. exit in El Cerrito off of 80. liza

I live around that area and commute to the Arlington/Barrett. It takes about 45 minutes. I would suggest that instead of taking the 680 to 24 that you go up Geary until it turns in to Pleasant Hill Road. take that south all the way to hwy 24 . It's much faster than going on the fwy. there are always cops (highway patrol for some reason) right there on Pl. Hill rd, so don't speed. Instead of taking the tunnel, exit at Orinda and take San Pablo Dam road. it gets a little backed up at the light in Orinda (again, don't speed!) but it's worth it. YOu bypass all that mess in Berkeley and Emeryville. You take this road all the way thru el sobrante, to Richmond and get on 880 south. then take whatever exit you need to. good luck. anon

There is no easy way to do this commute and to be honest, it is an awful one. You could drive on 680 and 24 and exit either San Pablo Dam Road or Fish Ranch Road depending on how bad traffic is to the tunnel. Then either take Fish Ranch Road to Grizzly Peak Boulevard and take that all the way to Marin Ave. Or take San Pablo Dam Road all the way to Wildcat Canyon Road and take that to Grizzly Peak Boulevard and then to Marin Ave. At Marin Ave follow that down to the circle and then turn on Arlington and drive to Moeser. Going through the tunnel would be impossible with the traffic and then the traffic in the MacArthur Maze. Going the other way over highway 4 or San Pablo Dam Road all the way to Pinole and then coming back to El Cerrito would also have multiple traffic jams and be awful. You'll need a minimum of one hour on a good day and up to two hours on a bad day to do this commute. Anon

Commuting from Walnut Creek to UCB - drive or BART?

Jan 2006

What would you advise as the best way to commute from Walnut Creek to a UCB office which is located at Hearst & Oxford? I know that it's only about 6 blocks to walk from Downtown Berkeley BART to that location, but there is the time factor to consider as well for driving to WC BART, parking, waiting for the train, transferring at MacArthur and waiting for the Richmond Train, then walking to the office, and doing all of that in reverse at the end of the day. At the same time, there appears to be a UCB parking garage (Oxford Garage?) right there as well. I realize driving includes the cost of the parking garage (how much would that be for FT staff?) as well as gas. At the same time, BART prices just went up and soon you'll have to pay for parking at Walnut Creek BART. Anybody out there live in Walnut Creek and commute to UCB? How do you do it and why have you chosen to do it that way? Oh yes, the other information necessary to advise me is what time of day am I talking about: I'd need to start work between 7am and 7:30 am, and would be leaving work at 4pm. Thanks! drive or BART?

I've been commuting from Lafayette to UCB for 2.5 years and know 2 other people who commute from Pleasant Hill BART to UCB -I highly recommend BART over the car. Traffic can be very bad coming through the tunnel in the morning and then traffic through Berkeley to campus can be terrible as well. The transfer at MacArthur is easy with virtually no wait in the mornings; the pm transfer I typically wait about 5 minutes for a train. Very occasionally there are delays but in my experience they are pretty rare. I commute about the same hours as what you listed; sometimes the trains are very crowded; I wouldn't count on finding a seat all the time (except after the transfer, the trains are less crowded to/from Berkeley). For time efficiency, you can bring work to read on the train - or a novel, or write letters, plan the day - you get the idea. It can be time used, not wasted.

I can't speak to parking at WC BART; both people I know commuting from Pleasant Hill bike to the station - you might consider that option as well. I live within walking distance of the Lafayette station.

As for BART fare, as FT staff, you are eligible to sign up for a commute program through campus where you buy BART tickets pre-tax each month - and they arrive in the mail.

I find BART to be dependable and low stress. Plus it's better for the environment. BART fan

I would drive--but don't park on campus. You can go part of the way on 24, to Orinda, then go through Tilden and park on one of the side streets off Euclid, then walk or take a bus to campus. It's a well-known secret that you can park beyond the 2 hour limit up in the hills. I think this would save you time and money! long-term parker

BART!!! Hands down, BART. Have you ever sat in the traffic from Walnut Creek heading into the East Bay/ SF? I have seen is terrible. Have you looked at the schedule for the BART? Parking in downtown Berkeley will be $$$!!! Coming home in the evening, if you drive, the freeway looks like a parking lot. The walk from Berkeley BART will be fine. You will be more relaxed and more sane. Rachel