Commuting to and from Pleasanton
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Commuting to and from Pleasanton
I'm moving to the bay area in July and have spent the past several months exploring
communities during weekly trips. I'm relocating for work, the office is in
Pleasanton, however I'd prefer to live in SF or just over into the east bay. One of
my primary concerns however is the commute. While it's a ''reverse'' commute, it
still seems there are trouble spots that I'd like to avoid. With that, can anyone
offer validation or advice on commuting from the following areas to Pleasanton.
(FWIW, I'd prefer to have my commute be 45 mins or less.)
-Alameda: A very promising community for my needs (kids 4,6,8, decent schools,
touch bit more affordable). Unknown is 1) Getting on and off the island, and 2)
Seems the logical route is 880 to 238 however 238 appears to be at a stand-still at
anytime of the day and from what I've been told, is under perpetual construction.
Are there alternative routes? What would be my expected commute time Alameda to
- El Cerrito/Albany/North Berkeley: Need to go through the maze on 580 E/W and
just seems like every day that is a nightmare. Hour plus?
- San Francisco: I work with people that commute from SF and say it's about 45-50
minutes, however the X-factor seems to be where you live in SF. Any experience
from people living in the Richmond or Sunset and having to come east?
Looking for home
From North Berkeley - my husband has commuted to Pleasanton for the
last 10 years - he takes surface streets (MLK) to 580, if you go
before 8 a.m. it's not too bad. Time: approx 45 minutes. Return same
way, approx 50 minutes. Get in the far right lane a mile or more
before the 238 split. His occasional BART trip is at least 1 1/4
hour each way. Some employers offer a Commuter check for transit,
otherwise you are looking at min 14K a year on your car mileage, not
to mention gas, tires, etc. Those are the facts.
You are right, the 580 maze and the I80 stretch from the maze to El
Cerrito takes way longer to navigate than it should. I live in
Oakland and would love to visit Albany and North Berkeley more
often, but just avoid that drive whenever possible, even though it
often isn't that bad outside of commuting hours.
There are plenty of good neighborhoods in Oakland along Highway 13,
including Montclair, Glenview, Redwood Heights (my neighborhood),
and around Seminary Dr. The commute to Pleasanton, which I do
occasionally, is quite easy, with few if any slowdowns. And it is
also easy to hit 13 through the Caldecott as well as 580 west for
non-work trips. And these neighborhoods rarely see anything like the
crimes that make the news, thankfully.
Bryan in Oakland
I'm sure you have your reasons for wanting to be in San Francisco,
it is a world class city and all, but life with 3 kids in SF is
expensive and has lots of hassles. Pleasanton is quite far out! If
you are thinking of Alameda, why not go for Orinda/Lafayette or even
Walnut Creek, Alamo, or Danville, or Pleasanton? If you must be West
of the tunnel, how about Rockridge in Oakland or Elmwood or
elsewhere in South/Central Berkeley. From there it is easy to go to
Pleasanton on 24 and 680. Or Montclair, you could go down 13 and
take 580 to Pleasanton. Commmuting from the Richmond or Sunset
districts just to downtown SF is a pain, and adding on the commute
to Pleasanton is really long. You are going to have to make this
trip twice a day for a very long time. I'd make it easy on yourself.
Bay Area Commuter
I commute from Alameda to Pleasanton. While there's usually a slow
on 238, it's hardly ever a 'stand-still'. I can make it from
Alameda to Pleasanton in 30 minutes most days. I do live close to
the High street bridge, thus closer to 880 than many places in
Alameda. Coming home, it's about the same. There's always a
slowdown on 238 but in 10+ years of this commute, it's rarely worth
trying an alternate route (580). It moves along and it's really
only a couple of miles of slowness.
Another option from Alameda is to take BART to Pleasanton. When I
time it well, it's about 45-60 minutes from either Fruitvale or
Coliseum to Pleasanton (including walking/riding to my office near
the station). Since it's a reverse commute, one can take a bike on
If you live in El Cerrito you can go ''the back way'' i.e. via San
Pablo Dam Road, It's a pretty road that connects El Sobrante to
Orinda. Then you pick up 24 to 680.
Still, though, it's a bit of a hike. What about Orinda or Lafayette?
They're not really that much farther from SF than Albany or El
Cerrito, but they're closer to Pleasanton.
I live in Pleasanton and commute to Oakland daily on BART. The train
ride is supposed to be 30 min, but is often longer, so door to door
ends up being at least 45 minutes. Like you, I would prefer to live
in Alameda, Albany, Lafayette or SF - but we ended up in Pleasanton
because it offers a very family-oriented community, good schools,
and relatively more affordable homes. Since living close to work is
such a boost for quality of life, I'd encourage you to consider
If you're commuting to Pleasanton frome elsewhere you might want to
find a home that allows you to use to BART. It's a much more
reliable and relaxing way to commute than by car. To figure out how
long the drive will take from specific destinations at various times
of day/day or week try the Predict-a-Trip tool at traffic.511.org.
Would Live in P-Town Instead of Commuting
I live in El Cerrito and have been commuting to Pleasanton for years
now, about 35 miles each way. It is normally not a bad commute, but
the commute changes depending on the time of day and year. If I get
on the freeway before like 6:45am, it really only takes about 35
minutes. (My house and work are both pretty close to the freeway
though and I live off of Central in the south part of EC, so this
could vary.) If I don't get on the freeway until after 7:15am, it
is much more crowded on 80 west, but once you get through the maze
and on 580, there usually isn't any traffic after that, so the whole
trip would be about 40-45 minutes. On the way home, there isn't any
traffic until getting back to the maze and trying to get back on 80
east, which is usually stop and go anytime after 3pm, so the whole
trip usually takes between 45-50 minutes. This is how it is right
now, but it changes depending on the time of year... It is always
busier during the school year and slower in the summer, except for
the commute home on Thurs and Fri seems to be busy all year round on
80 (people trying to get out of town). It also takes longer during
the winter months when it is dark and rains a lot, especially
December, so that often will take 55-60 minutes to get home. The
other thing that happens is that on the way to Pleasanton in the
morning, the sun is really low in October and the winter months and
gets in people's eyes going over the Dublin grade, so you have to
add about 5-10 more minutes getting there during those months as it
is usually stop and go up the grade. Also wanted to mention that
the people who live in SF that work at my company take BART. Hope
I used to work in Pleasanton, and when I first got the job, I lived
in Tiburon. That commute, needless to say, was hellish. Took me over
2 hours one day and I was in tears. HOWEVER: Get this. We eventually
moved to Montclair and that was a 25-30 minute commute and very
easy, all things considered. But what I was floored about was that
we had actually been looking in Albany as a possibility of living
there, and THANK GOD I DIDN'T. Because the commute through that I-80
corridor is AWFUL. As it is, my doctor is in Albany and it takes me
45 minutes usually to get to her office from Montclair. So by all
means, avoid the 80 corridor.
Other things to consider - Pleasanton has a very nicely located BART
stop. Is BART an option for you?
I think Alameda would be a long commute. Like living in San
Francisco, it depends where you live on the island. On the other
hand, don't let 238 be a deciding factor. While it's always clogged
up, it's a short stretch of road. You get through it relatively
quickly. There are also other routes through that area besides 238,
if you learn your way around, to get to 580.
I'd lean toward Montclair - the schools are good through junior high
and you'd have a fairly easy commute - 13 to 580. And it's pretty
close to SF still and BART in Rockridge.
--Former Haight resident now loving Montclair
I'm starting a new job in Pleasanton soon, and am wondering:
a) How long does it really take to get there driving?
b) How long does it really take to get there via BART
(El Cerrito or North Berkeley to Pleasanton station)?
c) When do you have to get to the El Cerrito and North Berkeley
BART stations in order to get a parking spot?
I'm positively dreading this commute, but must take this job.
Any words of advice on how to survive long commutes, esp. while
also having a toddler in daycare, would be greatly appreciated.
I've gone from El Cerrito to Pleasanton only on weekends, when
BART is probably slower and driving is probably faster. But
BART took about 70 minutes and driving about 40 minutes. On
weekdays you must get to EC Plaza BART by 7:40 am (or after 10
am or pay for a reserved space) to get a parking place.
I have commuted from Oakland to Livermore for the past six years,
which is bit further but slightly less problematic than your
proposed commute. My commute involes a bus from my house to
BART, BART to Pleasanton, then another bus to my work. The total
door-to-door time for me is 1 1/2 hours (one way). Although
cumbersome, on the rare occasions that I opt to drive I usually
regret it. Formerly a reverse commute, traffic is getting worse
by the day as more companies relocate in the Tri-Valley area.
While my primary motivation was initally to help lessen the load
on the environment, since the birth of my son 3 years ago I have
come to appreciate the relative quietude of public
transportation, the down time to read that I would not otherwise
have at home, the costs of daily driving as well as keeping out
of the way of irrational motorists. My suggestion: if your new
work place is located within walking distance of the
Dublin/Pleasanton BART station take BART.
this page was last updated: Jul 25, 2010
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