Commuting from Lamorinda to San Francisco

Parent Q&A

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  • BART from Orinda or Lafayette to SF?

    (1 reply)

    Hello!  I'm hoping there are some people on here either in Orinda or Lafayette or for some reason have good knowledge of the ins and outs of commuting from there... My family is entertaining the idea of moving to Orinda or Lafayette. We both work in SF. It seems like getting a parking permit for either the Orinda or Lafayette BART parking lot is not going to happen anytime soon. So for someone who has to commute in at high commute times (i.e. after the non-permit parts of those BART parking lots are probably filled up) and does not live walking distance to the BART station, what does one do? (One of us would need to drop kids off at schools, so both of us going in excessively early would not be an option). I'm sure there must be a bunch of answers (??), but would love to hear what the various options/experiences are. I know you can buy those daily parking passes in advance, but is that reliable/exhausting to have to keep doing?

    Thanks! Try it. 

  • We live in SF and are considering a move to Orinda/Lafayette. We love our school in SF and find it a good fit for our son (4th grade) with ADHD and other learning differences. It also happens to be right off of BART (1 block). We will likely put our other son in the public system in Orinda or Lafayette. Just wondering if others have done the commute into SF for schools and any advice. My husband works in SF so will also be taking BART in each day.  We are still looking at East Bay schools options  for our son, but just trying to figure out if it is reasonable to think we could commute at lest for a year or so until we find a good school fit closer. 

    Since 6th grade my son has been commuting to school in SF on BART. He currently gets on in Oakland, but he previously got on in Lafayette. Except for the trains being very full, he's never had any problems. A teacher from the school meet his at the station in SF.

    As a regular BART commuter on the line that serves the "Lamorinda" area, I have to weigh in that riding BART into SF every day is not pleasant. Almost daily the cars are jam-packed, riding in and riding home. I did this commute for 10 years, and it's gotten noticeably worse in the last 2. If you can beat rush hour on the way home at least, it might be more bearable. Good luck! 

Parent Reviews

Hi! I wanted to add my 2 cents given that I did this move 11 years ago albeit from Manchester but with kids exactly the same age as you. We originally rented in Oakland  to get a feel of the neighborhoods around us and where we might want to live and understand the school system. We eventually bought in orinda that is more suburban than Rockridge but the next Bart stop along and have loved it. We have been so happy here and my kids are now 17 and 13. Orinda has amazing public schools, parks, sports, cinema. Interestingly two neighbors moved in either side of us last year are both British too so I guess you’re in good company! My husband barts to south San Francisco’s each day which is a 45 min commute. To drive can be 1-1.5 hours. The pain with Bart is finding parking but he got a moped which allows for free and easy parking each day. Good luck with the move - it’ll be great and you’ll love it here!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


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 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