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Old 10-21-2010, 12:08 AM
 
2 posts, read 16,062 times
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Hey Guys,

What would the commute from downtown San Jose to Mountain View be like during peak hours?

I heard vastly different times from various people so far, just wanted to see what experience you guys might have.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,975 posts, read 2,540,641 times
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Some people commute by using 280 then 85 into Mountain View. I would avoid going that way. 85 is a mess in the morning. Traffic is pretty much stop and go. 101 is also congested but still better. Another option would be to take 87 to 101N, then get on Central Expressway just north of the airport. The average commute would be about 30 minutes. You're getting different numbers from people because it depends on which highway you take, and whether there are any accidents or road construction.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:54 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
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On the way in, you should definitely take 280. Why? If you get onto 87 northbound, you have to sit through metering lights to get on, then another much longer wait to get onto 101 at the end. That can add up to 20 minutes to your drive! So, 280/85 is the clear choice. On the way back, though, you're pretty much on your own. No matter what you do you'll be sitting in stop and go for miles.

Last edited by sonarrat; 10-22-2010 at 11:04 AM..
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:05 PM
 
94 posts, read 156,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obrienmorgan View Post
Hey Guys,

What would the commute from downtown San Jose to Mountain View be like during peak hours?

I heard vastly different times from various people so far, just wanted to see what experience you guys might have.

Thanks in advance for any help!
I've done this commute every day for a while now, so I've tried 101, Central Expressway and 85 to 280. The short answer is that the best case is 25 - 40 minutes in the morning and 30 - 50 minutes in the evening, depending on where in Mountain View you're going.

If you're going to Downtown Mountain View and you'll be there by 7:30 AM, you'll have a 25 minute morning commute more days than not. Add 5 - 10 minutes if you'e commuting later in the morning. Add 5 -10 minutes to that if you're commuting to Moffett or Shoreline. In the morning, traffic chokes on 280 at the 880/17 interchange, because the freeway narrows from four lanes to two at that point. You can beat this if you're early enough (7:10 AM). Any later and traffic will be stop and go on 280 all the way from Downtown to the 880/17 interchange. 280 is usually pretty clear after the interchange, but it takes forever to get there. 85 north is usually slow (20-40 mph). I don't go this way.

Highway 87 is usually completely clear in the morning from Downtown to 101. However, there is a long meter backup from 87 to 101, which is worse the later it is. You can avoid this by keeping to the right at the 87 and 101 interchange and getting off at the North 1st exit. I do one of two things. One option is to go right at North 1st, then Brokaw and get right back on the highway. You're backtracking, but it's less than a mile, three right turns and the lights are usually green. It takes 3 - 4 minutes if the meter is off. The meter at Brokaw and 101 is off until about 7:30 AM. Or, I go left at Orchard Parkway, left at Trimble and get back on there. The meter at Trimble is slow, but you're further along 101. Traffic on 101 is stop and go pretty much every morning starting at the 101/237 interchange. If you're going to Downtown MV, take 237, not Moffett. This is the route I take and most days it's about 25 minutes in the morning. (I'm 5 minutes off the freeway on both ends).

If both freeways are jammed, I take Coleman Avenue to Central Expressway, but this is usually 35 minutes or so.

Evening traffic is bad everywhere. If you leave early enough (4:00 PM on the dot) you'll definitely save time. Every 15 minutes after that just makes things worse. If you're coming from Downtown MV in the afternoon, it will take 8-10 minutes just to get on 85. If you leave at 4:30 PM or later, 85 will be slow (15-30 mph) almost all the way to 280, which takes forever. 280 is usually somewhat clear (35-45 mph) most of the way back to Downtown. 280 often slows down around Meridian on the way back, but you're close enough that it isn't that long a wait.

101 in the evening can be unpredictable. It's never good, but sometimes it's not terrible. You're usually OK until San Thomas, where you can 100% count on either slow traffic (20-30 mph) or stop and go traffic all the way to 87. 87 South is hit and miss in the evening. Some days is completely clear and others it's slow (30 mph). Traffic on 87 usually backs up a little before Taylor in the evening.

Central Expressway is fairly predictable in the evening. Central and Moffett to De La Cruz to 101 to 87 to Downtown SJ at 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM is usually 30 minutes or so, and you're generally not sitting in traffic. (This is the way I go home.) You can also go right at De La Cruz (which turns into Coleman) depending on traffic on 101/87. Be aware that the Coleman/Hedding and Coleman/Taylor intersections suck in the evening. You can also go around 87 on Hwy 101 and get off just past that at Old Bayshore to North 4th Street. Most days it takes 30 - 35 minutes and is less aggravating than the stop and go either on 101 or 85.

Last but not least, you can take CalTrain. The train itself only takes 15 minutes, but if you're 10 minutes from the station on either end, you're up to 35 minutes. It also costs (I think) $112 per month from Downtown SJ to Downtown MV. Your employer might offer discounts, or a shuttle, so I'd check with them. I don't take the train because it doesn't save me much if any time (longer in the morning and shorter in the evening) and costs too much.

Take a look at SigAlert and the Google Maps phone apps, as both have live traffic that will save you commute time.

I HATE commuting, so I spent a lot of time finding the best routes. Hope they help.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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Wow guys thanks a million for taking your time to answer my question! Its greatly appreciated.

I will be working for Ellis St in MV eventually (currently in Cupertino), and everyone in work is saying i'm crazy to want to live in SJ as the commute will be a killer. However i've just moved over from Ireland and as a single male I want to live somewhere a bit more lively than the suburbia that is the rest of South Bay (apologies for the generalization, I'm sure there are really cool places I just dont know about yet).

Overall I think I might just take that commute for some downtown city living.
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
2,844 posts, read 1,900,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obrienmorgan View Post
Wow guys thanks a million for taking your time to answer my question! Its greatly appreciated.

I will be working for Ellis St in MV eventually (currently in Cupertino), and everyone in work is saying i'm crazy to want to live in SJ as the commute will be a killer. However i've just moved over from Ireland and as a single male I want to live somewhere a bit more lively than the suburbia that is the rest of South Bay (apologies for the generalization, I'm sure there are really cool places I just dont know about yet).

Overall I think I might just take that commute for some downtown city living.
My guess is that you're over by VeriSign and other companies. Cupertino doesn't really a town or city center so I know how you feel. SJ does have a downtown but it isn't all that lively after dark as you might think for a city its size (the downtown went through several decades of decline and it' is now coming back). You actually might want to try downtown Mt. View - walk around it....a fair number of restaurants and bars for a town its size. There's a lot of younger, single people there so you won't feel out of place.

Really the only truly urban area is SF, but the commute is pretty long to go to MV, though some people do that. Best of luck, maybe you want to try out a few places
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:57 AM
 
Location: A bit further north than before
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You should also check out downtown Palo Alto - not quite the big city, but much more lively than most suburbs.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:53 PM
 
94 posts, read 156,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obrienmorgan View Post
Wow guys thanks a million for taking your time to answer my question! Its greatly appreciated.

I will be working for Ellis St in MV eventually (currently in Cupertino), and everyone in work is saying i'm crazy to want to live in SJ as the commute will be a killer. However i've just moved over from Ireland and as a single male I want to live somewhere a bit more lively than the suburbia that is the rest of South Bay (apologies for the generalization, I'm sure there are really cool places I just dont know about yet).

Overall I think I might just take that commute for some downtown city living.
That's about 5 minutes closer to Downtown than I am, so you could probably count on 20-30 minutes in the morning and 25-35 in the evening.

I moved to Downtown SJ for the same reasons as you - the rest of the South Bay is unexciting. If you're looking at the apartments on 3rd and San Fernando, 4th and San Fernando or overlooking 2nd Street, LIVE ON THE COURTYARD AND NOT ON THE STREET. You're a block from SJSU, and you WILL hear people screaming at the top of their lungs at 1:00 AM to 2:00 AM four to five nights per week, every week. This may be less of an issue in the winter, but it's like that constantly when the weather is good. Sometimes it's celebrating and sometimes it's fist fighting, but you will definitely hear it. Also, on 3rd street you'll hear delivery trucks as early as 4:00 AM and the garbage trucks start emptying dumpsters at about 6:00 AM.

There are some nice, affordable, older and well maintained places near 6th and San Fernando that I'm sure experience a LOT less noise.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
3,894 posts, read 5,234,699 times
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I've done it a couple times during rush hour, and it took maybe 30-40 minutes on the freeway.

As somebody else said, downtown Mountain View (ie. Castro Street) is actually a rather happening place. My wife and I have been there a couple times with friends and were suprised at the amount of stuff going on: clubs, Salsa dancing, outdoor restaurants, etc.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:14 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
984 posts, read 1,621,502 times
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How do you define peak hours? I leave around 9:30-10:15 from a condo just off Meridian (about 1.5 miles from downtown), and I usually get to Mountain View in around 20 minutes, longer the earlier I leave, 85 is the worst part, but it being only 3.5 miles I need to go, and it still moving at least 30mph whenever I'm there it is not really a big deal, three extra minutes. I have taken Race to the Alameda to El Caminot to De La Cruz to Central before, and that takes about 20-25 minutes, the office being near the border with Sunnyvale, just off central, and also just off 237. I can imagine the other end of Mountain View(near San Antonio) would take longer to get to.
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