Lamorinda & Walnut Creek Commutes
Berkeley Parents Network >
Working & Careers >
Lamorinda & Walnut Creek Commutes
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).
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.
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!
Hi, I live in Walnut Creek and to Oakland it's a very easy
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 511.org at
the times of your husband's theoretical commute.
Sorry to burst your bubble.
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.
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
We know someone who commutes to Foster City from the
Oakland Hills (near the zoo) and it sounds like an OK
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
I have the perfect tool for you. Go to 511.org, 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
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.
I live around that area and commute to the Arlington/Barrett. It
about 45 minutes. I would suggest that instead of taking the 680
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
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.
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
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.
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!
Hands down, BART. Have you ever sat in the traffic from Walnut Creek heading into the East Bay/ SF? I have seen it...it 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.
this page was last updated: Mar 25, 2013
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network