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Old 02-10-2013, 02:31 PM
 
11 posts, read 15,517 times
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We are a family of four, with two little children. My husband's job is going to be at Palo Alto. We are wondering what are some good neighborhoods to live in. We are looking to rent. Here are some parameters:
  • Housing is important to us, as in a 4 bedroom house for about $2750.
  • My husband is okay with a commute time of 30 or even 45 mins peak in hour traffic. I am not sure if there are train commute options which might also work for us.
  • A good public school would be great to put our toddler in. Any recommendations would be terrific.
  • Residential area with parks will be good.
Can you please provide some neighborhoods that might fit these parameters.

We are driving to San Francisco in a week or two to check out the neighborhoods, schools etc. So any information you can provide will be so very appreciated.

Thank you so much for your help.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:45 PM
 
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Whoa. I don't know if you are going to find anything like that.

I work in Palo Alto and live on the outer perimeter of that commute time (takes me about 30-40 mins) and we are paying close to your rental budget for a ONE BEDROOM. Albeit it's a fairly nice complex with decent amenities, but still, I don't think there's going to be anything available in that amount for a 4 bedroom, especially is you are now considering good public schools as well.

The Bay Area rental market is pretty insane right now. Maybe consider Fremont or areas of San Jose near Caltrain?
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:47 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
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It will be very hard to rent a 4 bedroom house which is very close to Palo Alto for that budget. You would need to rent in San Jose or in the East Bay somewhere and that price would probably get you 2-3 bedrooms. For the East Bay, try Castro Valley or Fremont.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:50 PM
 
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You can get a 4 bedroom in Morgan hill for $2750...you will need to downgrade to a much smaller place if you want to live closer to work... Fremont may be an option for your budget, and there are some good/great public schools there.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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Thanks so much for your reply. What are the commute times like from San Jose, Castro Valley and Fremont during peak hours? Are there train commute options from these neighborhoods?

Thanks
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raheri View Post
Thanks so much for your reply. What are the commute times like from San Jose, Castro Valley and Fremont during peak hours? Are there train commute options from these neighborhoods?

Thanks
I can only speak somewhat intelligently about San Jose. I was living with a friend around the Evergreen/ East San Jose area and driving to Palo Alto for work when I first moved up to the Bay Area. This was in 2008, so traffic may have gotten worse since then. I had to budget 1.5 hours door to door. So to arrive by 8 AM, I was leaving at 6:30. About the same on way home leaving work at 5 pm. It was a pretty nightmarish drive.

I have co-workers that take Caltrain, and that seems to be a much better option. I believe from Diridon to Palo Alto is only 30 minutes if you take the express train. Several of them drive to the station, park their cars, and take Caltrain.

As for Castro Valley and Fremont, no train commute options from there to PA I believe, unless you take BART to the city and then connect to Caltrain, which sounds like a ridiculous thing to do.

EDIT: I should add that I believe there is a bus service (Dumbarton Express?) that runs between the Fremont area (maybe Union City) and Palo Alto, but don't know specifics such as timing and all that. But could be another option for public transit.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:36 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechoson View Post
I can only speak somewhat intelligently about San Jose. I was living with a friend around the Evergreen/ East San Jose area and driving to Palo Alto for work when I first moved up to the Bay Area. This was in 2008, so traffic may have gotten worse since then. I had to budget 1.5 hours door to door. So to arrive by 8 AM, I was leaving at 6:30. About the same on way home leaving work at 5 pm. It was a pretty nightmarish drive.

I have co-workers that take Caltrain, and that seems to be a much better option. I believe from Diridon to Palo Alto is only 30 minutes if you take the express train. Several of them drive to the station, park their cars, and take Caltrain.

As for Castro Valley and Fremont, no train commute options from there to PA I believe, unless you take BART to the city and then connect to Caltrain, which sounds like a ridiculous thing to do.

EDIT: I should add that I believe there is a bus service (Dumbarton Express?) that runs between the Fremont area (maybe Union City) and Palo Alto, but don't know specifics such as timing and all that. But could be another option for public transit.
The Dumbarton Express runs from Union City BART to Palo Alto, with another stop at a park & ride lot right next to Hwy 84 at Ardenwood on the Fremont side.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:27 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonarrat View Post
The Dumbarton Express runs from Union City BART to Palo Alto, with another stop at a park & ride lot right next to Hwy 84 at Ardenwood on the Fremont side.
The AC transit U line also runs from Fremont to San Jose, but there is no train commute, and plans for a commuter train has pretty much been cancelled. There are train commutes from Fremont and the East Bay to San Jose, and Caltrain from there to Palo Alto, but the schedules are not coordinated, and it is much longer going around the bay like that. I think most people drive across the bay.

You can take the Caltrain from Tamien or Diridon in San Jose to downtown Palo Alto, the train takes 20-26 minutes in peak times, but I don't know how morning traffic is getting there. There are also 3 trains coming from further south, South San Jose is more affordable then closer to Palo Alto, maybe someone who has tried it can tell you how long such a commute is.

Weekday Timetable
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:26 PM
 
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I live near the Blossom Hill Light Rail Station. I see a lot of people get off at the Tamien station to catch Caltrain.

VTA
Blossom Hill Station - 6:40am
Tamien Station - 6:51am

Caltrain
Tamien Station - 6:55am
Palo Alto - 7:23am

43 minutes isn't too bad. You have to allocate time on getting to the light rail station in San Jose and then getting from the train station in Palo Alto to the work location. Driving from this area to Palo Alto is a whole different story. I've concluded that there is no quick way from anywhere up the peninsula down to the Santa Teresa part of San Jose.

The one thing that many people don't realize is that if you are somewhat close to the Winchester or Santa Teresa light rail lines, it is real convenient and quick to take light rail to Caltrain. The slow part of the light rail trains is when you get to downtown.

There are so few Caltrains that go south of Tamien that I would not recommend relying on those trains. Also if you get a monthly 2 zone Caltrain pass, you can ride on VTA trains and regular VTA buses without additional cost.
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