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Old 01-13-2012, 06:00 PM
 
44 posts, read 168,171 times
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I am considering a job in San Francisco and need some advice on places to live. We are a family of 3 and my son is currently in Kindergarten. Good public schools are our #1 priority. Are there ANY good elementary schools in the city, or are they all in the east bay/Peninsula?

Another important consideration for me is commute and I am aiming for no more than 1 hour total per day. It looks like Millbrae has good schools, but what would be a realistic commute time to Belden place? Would you recommend driving or taking public transportation?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:17 PM
 
291 posts, read 775,551 times
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The SF school district is on a lottery system so there's no telling where your kids will go to school. Most families live in cities outside of SF and commute to work. Check GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community for school ratings in cities around the bay area. I know Albany has a good school system and it is not too far from SF. Depending on your budget, private school is always an option too if you must live in SF and the lottery takes your child to a school your are not comfortable with.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
24,979 posts, read 24,775,267 times
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BART is the best commute option. That's about a 5-7 minute walk from the Montgomery station. Live somewhere along the BART line. You should also be a bit more specific about the type of neighborhood you want. Suburban? Walkable? Diversity? Amenities? Weather?
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:48 PM
 
44 posts, read 168,171 times
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I didn't know about the lottery, thank you for mentioning it!

In terms of what we are looking for, definitely some diversity. We are originally from Paris, France and lived in LA for 10 years before moving to Phoenix. Let's just say we are not Phoenix people In LA we lived on the Westside and loved it. I don't know what would be comparable in SF and if we could afford it (HH income is about 120K).

Regarding weather, we would prefer an area that gets some sun rather than foggy and wet, but anything will be better than the Phoenix summer...
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
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Everything really depends on your budget. Rents and housing costs vary widely in the Bay Area. Along with what Jade suggested, this is also a pretty big factor.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
3,764 posts, read 6,933,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eurocali View Post
I didn't know about the lottery, thank you for mentioning it!

In terms of what we are looking for, definitely some diversity. We are originally from Paris, France and lived in LA for 10 years before moving to Phoenix. Let's just say we are not Phoenix people In LA we lived on the Westside and loved it. I don't know what would be comparable in SF and if we could afford it (HH income is about 120K).

Regarding weather, we would prefer an area that gets some sun rather than foggy and wet, but anything will be better than the Phoenix summer...
Looks like we posted at the same time. The East Bay is pretty handy into the City via BART. I think the weather in Lamorinda (Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda) are near perfect....some fog then the sun by 10am generally speaking and oddly not as hot as the city of Walnut Creek, but also a great choice for a larger hub of this region. Excellent public schools and your income seems about right for the area. Less expensive rentals can be found in nearby Pleasant Hill--also with pretty good public schools. The lottery system in San Francisco is why parents seem to end up in the East Bay.
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:32 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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Need to get the application in year before kindergarten or too late for decent placement in SF public schools. We tried 2 years early, but still got lowest rated school assignments & they laughed at our application and list of requested schools, saying everyone wants those schools.

Some friends sent kids to private school in city @ $30K each. But most people we know living in the city, end up enrolling kids either in Nueva School down in Hillsborough, & hiring someone that will drive them there & pick them up, or they move outside of the city for a better school district. Ran into old friend that ended up enrolling kid in Synergy Private School, but I remember it being a Mortuary so kind of creepy to me. We toured most of the private schools, most not diversified, special needs kids excluded. French-American & Alliance de Francais is popular for learning French, & know some kids going to these schools, but they are weak in certain academic areas our friends complained, & outdoor space limited like most SF schools. As charming as SF is, and houses so charming, the schools are like run-down jails, even the private ones I found.

Consider living just outside the city, and commute or carpool into city.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:47 PM
 
44 posts, read 168,171 times
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Thank you all for the great feedback. What kind of commute would I be looking at if we lived in Lamorinda? Also, is this a diverse community?

Another detail: My husband and I are the foodie type, so having good restaurants around would be important.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:57 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
24,979 posts, read 24,775,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eurocali View Post
Thank you all for the great feedback. What kind of commute would I be looking at if we lived in Lamorinda? Also, is this a diverse community?

Another detail: My husband and I are the foodie type, so having good restaurants around would be important.
Good restaurants are really easy to find in the Bay Area, so don't worry about that.

A friend of mine lives in Los Feliz, so I imagine you'd want something a bit similar.

My top 2 choices for slightly more urban/walkable areas with good schools would be Albany and Alameda. (Albany is north of Berkeley, and Alameda is an island on the Bay off of Oakland.)

Both places have good schools, interesting architecture and are walkbale. They also have pretty good food scenes and are very easily accessible to Oakland and Berkeley. Neither place has their own BART station, but they are about a 10 minute drive from BART. Each is also well served by buses to BART, although Albany might be a bit easier. Each is surved by the Transbay Bus. These are mainly commuter buses to SF. They drop off about 5 blocks from KEarny and Bush at approximately Fremont and Howard. The bus is really speedy, about 15-25 minutes from Alameda and around 30-40 from Albany (roughly equivalent to the BART rides).

Lamorinda is much more suburban. So you'd need to drive anywhere, but each of the 3 towns: Orinda, Moraga and Lafayette have their own downtown areas. Orinda is the closest to Oakland and BART. Your ride would be 30 minutes. Lafayette adds 5 minutes. Moraga doesn't have a station, so you'd drive to Lafayette or ORinda for BART. Moraga is off the beaten path in comparison to the other 2 since it is around 10-15 minutes drive from the freeway. Lafayette has the biggest downtown, and Orinda has a cool art deco theater. These areas are less diverse than places on the "other side of the tunnel." These 3 places are through the hills from Oakland. And there is a tunnel on highway 24 to get there. Orinda is about 7 minutes from Oakland. LAfayette is 12, Moraga is 20 and Walnut Creek is about 15. Walnut Creek is next to Lafayette. Also suburban, and is the shopping hub for that part of the east bay. It has the biggest downtown with main street stuff and an outdoor mall with chain stores. BART ride from Walnut Creek is 40 minutes, and it is also suburban.

Alameda: diverse, victorian houses, sunny weather (summer = 75), walkable, really close to SF (about 10 miles), good transit access
Albany: fairly diverse, walkable, reasonably sunny weather (summer =72), 15 miles to SF, good transit access
Orinda: not-diverse, sunny weather (summer =78), short BART ride to SF (30 minutes), suburban, close to Oakland and Berkeley (~4 miles), 15 miles to SF, BART station
Lafayette: similar to Orinda, slightly warmer summer weather, 20 miles to SF, BART station
Moraga: warmer than Orinda or Lafayette (Summer = 82), more rural suburban feeling, houses are much more spread out, no BART, 10-15 minutes from the freeway

FYI: BART has parking. Spots fill up very fast. There are reserved permitted spots but they have wait lists. Most East Bay BART stations have non-reserved parking, and it is full by 7:15 AM. West Oakland fills up later, more like 9. So even though BART is the fastest, getting to BART isn't great if you need to drive and park.

Since Albany and Alameda have buses to SF that stop in the neighborhoods and several buses that connect to BART, it technically could actually be easier to commue to work.
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:23 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 10,472,997 times
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Belden Place is like 2 blocks from BART so BART should really be the only thing you want to take to get to work. The Transbay Terminal isn't super far but will be about a 15 minute walk to work. The Caltrain terminus in SF is way far away. You don't want to drive unless you are a zillionaire and can afford the price of parking garages at rush hour in downtown SF--probably $20 to $40 a day on top of gas and bridge tolls, compared with more like $7 to 10 a day on BART.

Millbrae, Alameda, Albany, and the Lamorinda area are probably your best bets for good schools and BART.
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