Lamorinda & Walnut Creek Commutes

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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! anon

Carpooling in Orinda

Feb 2011

My husband used to carpool in Oakland before we moved to Orinda. He wants to continue carpooling but he doesn't know where to park his car! We live pretty far from BART so he can't just walk to the carpool lane. Do you know of areas around downtown Orinda where he can park to carpool without getting ticketed? Is it OK to park in nearby residential streets where restrictions are not displayed, ie they don't have street signs stating you can't park there. Thank you! wanna carpool

I haven't commuted into SF for 7 years, but when I did I got a monthly parking pass at Theater Square. It was perfect: cheap (about $50), safe and covered, and ideal for both casual carpool and BART parking. Ex-commuter

Commuting to Sunnyvale from Walnut Creek area

Feb 2010

My husband, two small children and I are currently living in Aptos. We really love it here for its small town charm and natural beauty. My husband has been commuting to Sunnyvale three times a week and so far has been okay with this commute. Now his company is being sold and his new office will be in Foster City, which is way too far from Aptos.

So, we are now trying to figure out where to live in the Bay Area. We have our reservations about the Peninsula and South Bay but we have always loved the East Bay (we lived in Oakland for 4 years before moving Aptos) but I don't want to live in such an urban environment anymore. We are thinking about Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill area, but my husband is very concerned about the commute.

Does anybody out there do this commute (680 down to the 580 across the 238 and over the bridge) and if so how long does it really take with traffic? Also, does anybody have any suggestions about other communities to live in. Thank you in advance for any information or suggestions. Cambria

I live in Walnut Creek, and enjoy living here. That said, although I don't drive to Foster City regularly, I can tell you that this is not likely to be a fun commute (unless there's a BART option or your husband can leave home early- ish??). As best as I can tell, 238 is always a mess. 580W is not likely to be much fun either for a regular commute, although/ because many people do it. I'd suggest looking on the peninsula, or at least a bit further south on 680 (Dublin? Pleasanton?) to cut some of the time. At the very least, I'd suggest trying to stay south of the 680-24 exchange. I'd also check out driving times on at the times of your husband's theoretical commute. Sorry to burst your bubble.
Hi, Regarding communting from Walnut Creek to Foster City... I currently live in Lafayette and commute to Foster City 4 days a week. I work 5:00AM-4:00PM (4-10 hour days). So, my commute is not too bad. It takes me 40 minute to get to FC and about 1 hour- 1 hour 20 minutes to get home, depending on the traffic. I have a bunch of friends who do the same commute from Moraga and Orinda and leave the east bay between 6:30 and 7:30. So far, they haven't complained either. I would suggest asking if a flex schedule would work. I am sure if you worked 8-5, that might be a differnt story. Feel free to email me if you have anymore questions. geer
Your husband really wouldn't want this commute. A number of years ago I worked in Foster City and a co-worker commuted from Walnut Creek. It took her 2 hours each way during rush hour. Now this was before the San Mateo Bridge lanes were fully expanded, but she described multiple trouble spots, so I am sure it is still bad.

My husband currently works near there at Redwood Shores and he doesn't know anyone who lives in the Walnut Creek area. He used to have a co-worker in Concord, but she mainly telecommuted. There is definitely a reason for this.

As far as other locations to consider... we live in Alameda and the commute is not so bad. An hour during peak times, but my husband's commute is shorter because he leaves early and he drives with a neighbor, so can use the 880 carpool lane.

We know someone who commutes to Foster City from the Oakland Hills (near the zoo) and it sounds like an OK commute.

My husband has many co-workers who live in places in 880 near the San Mateo/Dunbarton, such as Fremont, Union City, etc. Castro Valley is also an option.

Good news is, you have other options. Best of luck. EastBayCommuter

Commuting to San Francisco from Moraga

Jan 2007

I am contemplating a move to Moraga and am trying to research the commute. I would be commuting as a solo driver (I am not allowed to pick up casual carpoolers), most likely from the southern part of town. How long will it take me to drive to downtown SF from there? I am interested in best-case scenario, worst-case scenario, and the average. Also - what's the back-up like for the tunnel in the morning/evening? Anon

The only way to really find out is to go do it, as it will vary mostly by the time you leave. But have you considered driving to Orinda bart? anon
My husband communtes from our home in Moraga to SF almost everyday. We live in the south part of Moraga, which is the area nearest to Canyon. He says it takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to get to the city -- the 90 minutes obviously being when something bad happens on the roads, which would affect the commute wherever you live in the East Bay. Also, he says the tunnel flows in the morning (sometimes slowly, but it moves) because both bores are headed west. Only if there is an accident is there a problem. Also, the most common delays happen on the approach to the bridge, which would affect you if you were coming from just about anywhere east of SF.

Here are his tips:
--Take BART if you can.
--If you go down Moraga Way through Orinda to Hwy 24, you need to leave the house before 7:15 or after 8:30 am. (There is a bit of commute traffic, and the high school traffic adds a lot.) Otherwise, it can take you half an hour just to get to the freeway.
-- If you need to leave for the city between 7:15 and 8:30 or if Moraga Way is backed up, you can go over Pinehurst Road (in Canyon)to Redwood Road, and then down to 580. (Everyone around here calls that ''going the back way.'' I've done this going into Oakland many times and it is pretty darn quick--it will take you either to Redwood Road or to Montclair, depending on which way you go--plus it is a beautiful drive...but don't do it when it is freezing! The road gets dangerously slippery.) Moraga Momma

I live in south Orinda, and my experience is that the *real* back-up happens long before you reach the freeway or the tunnel. At some times in the morning, instead of the usual 6 minutes to the freeway from my house, it can take more than 20. Moraga Way is only two lanes and can't handle all the a.m. commuters as well as traffic from kids headed to school. Orindan
My brother-in-law also commutes from Moraga (nr. Canyon). I don't know if this is feasible for you, but he drives over the Canyon road and then picks up casual carpoolers on Park Blvd. in Oakland. He works right downtown so it is easy for him to drop them off in the a.m. anon

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