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Old 06-26-2012, 05:50 PM
 
1 posts, read 10,797 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi!

I'm in the process of completing a move here from the Midwest, and about to start a job a couple blocks away from the Powell St. BART station in San Francisco. I've been staying with some friends in Moss Beach on the coast for a while, but with the new job, I want to get my own apartment and bring my partner in to live with me.

My criteria are these:

– 2-bedroom apartment
– Cats allowed
– Within walking distance (preferably under 1/2 mile, up to 1 mile if I have to) to its nearest BART station
– $1500/month or less
– Safe, walkable neighborhood
– Ideally in an area with parks, markets, etc accessible by foot (though living on the BART line will take care of a lot of the accessibility to cool places)
– Ideally with a BART ride under 30 minutes to the Powell St. station (though I'm willing to be flexible on this; heck, if I live far out, I could just get a lot of reading done)
– Ideally a quiet neighborhood

My partner and I are more interested in things like farmers markets and bookstores/libraries than nightlife, restaurants, etc. We're also used to living in a college town in a student lifestyle and walking where we can, although we do have a car.

From what I've been seeing on Craigslist, 2-bedroom cat-allowing places under $1500 tend to be clustered in a few places:

– Richmond
– Pittsburg
– El Cerrito
– Oakland
– San Leandro
– Walnut Creek
– Hayward/Castro Valley
– Fremont/Union City

...with the occasional listing popping up in Berkeley.

I've had a chance to wander around a few of the stops on foot, but I'm not going to imagine that this has given me a real sense of what it would be like to live in any of these areas. I have decided I'm not interested in the area around the BART in Richmond, and my sense is that if at all possible I'd like to snap up something in the Berkeley area, but beyond that, I'd appreciate any insight. Has anyone lived near the BART stations in those areas?

Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:59 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
18,983 posts, read 32,735,351 times
Reputation: 13647
I'd also take out Pittsburg, really doesn't have what you're looking for. I'm most familiar with the areas around BART on the other side of the Caldecott so I couldn't tell you much about the others besides WC, which is a decent choice. I believe the ride is 35 min into downtown SF. Pittsburg isn't worth the extra time and it's not a walkable area you are looking for.

Pleasant Hill BART might be worth a look but it doesn't have that much in walking distance but it's a short drive in Downtown WC, a 3-min BART ride away from WC too; the free shuttle at WC BART takes you right into the middle of downtown but it's not that far of a walk from the station anyways. Concord might work too as it's does have a decent downtown but it's a bit more lower class in that area.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:48 PM
 
197 posts, read 668,310 times
Reputation: 174
My thoughts on narrowing down your list:

Cross off Richmond & Pittsburg. Fremont has some nice spots but not enough to commute from that far to SF. Cross it off too.

Albany fits most all of your criteria except it might be out of your price range. It is between El Cerrito & Berkeley & could be within walking distance of the EC Plaza or the North Berkeley BART stations. I'd cross off EC Del Norte station - not much around there (but this could make it a good value and not that far to Berkeley). Berkeley has a lot of what you are looking for but it might not be quiet enough for you & you will also have to compete with all of the students in the area for rentals.

There are several stations in Oakland - Rockridge being the most upscale & probably too expensive. It also has influence from UC Berkeley. The Lake Merritt area might work. You will have to look into specific neighborhoods as there are some parts of Oakland that won't fit what you want.

Walnut Creek has a nice downtown but is farther out (35 minutes on BART or so) & gets much hotter in the summer. Kind of suburban-urban if that makes any sense. Generally upscale but it does have some areas not as upscale.

San Leandro/Castro Valley/Hayward/Union City - Basic East Bay suburbs. Generally not that walkable. Some neighborhoods better than others (some much worse) but lumping them together here. Castro Valley probably has the best reputation but not a lot going on. I'd say San Leandro and Hayward would have the most going on around their BART stations (but still not much). I wouldn't necessarily cross any of these off if you can get a good deal but I'd put them farther back than the others for what you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aowomoyela View Post
Hi!

I'm in the process of completing a move here from the Midwest, and about to start a job a couple blocks away from the Powell St. BART station in San Francisco. I've been staying with some friends in Moss Beach on the coast for a while, but with the new job, I want to get my own apartment and bring my partner in to live with me.

My criteria are these:

– 2-bedroom apartment
– Cats allowed
– Within walking distance (preferably under 1/2 mile, up to 1 mile if I have to) to its nearest BART station
– $1500/month or less
– Safe, walkable neighborhood
– Ideally in an area with parks, markets, etc accessible by foot (though living on the BART line will take care of a lot of the accessibility to cool places)
– Ideally with a BART ride under 30 minutes to the Powell St. station (though I'm willing to be flexible on this; heck, if I live far out, I could just get a lot of reading done)
– Ideally a quiet neighborhood

My partner and I are more interested in things like farmers markets and bookstores/libraries than nightlife, restaurants, etc. We're also used to living in a college town in a student lifestyle and walking where we can, although we do have a car.

From what I've been seeing on Craigslist, 2-bedroom cat-allowing places under $1500 tend to be clustered in a few places:

– Richmond
– Pittsburg
– El Cerrito
– Oakland
– San Leandro
– Walnut Creek
– Hayward/Castro Valley
– Fremont/Union City

...with the occasional listing popping up in Berkeley.

I've had a chance to wander around a few of the stops on foot, but I'm not going to imagine that this has given me a real sense of what it would be like to live in any of these areas. I have decided I'm not interested in the area around the BART in Richmond, and my sense is that if at all possible I'd like to snap up something in the Berkeley area, but beyond that, I'd appreciate any insight. Has anyone lived near the BART stations in those areas?

Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:09 PM
 
Location: The Bay
6,914 posts, read 14,786,551 times
Reputation: 3120
For your purposes the Richmond Annex in Richmond CA might work... it's right next to the El Cerrito Plaza BART, has a small commercial area centered on San Pablo and Sacramento (groceries, restaurants, etc), is much cheaper than any of the other places you're looking barring Pittsburg and Hayward and it's relatively safe. On the downside it's a very suburban area but it's two BART stops away from the entertainment in DT Berkeley and a bus/bike ride away from DT Albany.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:11 PM
 
10,624 posts, read 26,778,446 times
Reputation: 6776
Another thought: are you willing to give up BART? If willing to take the Transbay buses you'll expand your options. And the really far-out BART stations have a really expensive ride into the city, which can add up fast. We recently found everything on your list, minus BART, in Alameda. We looked at Oakland, Albany, Berkeley, and parts of Oakland, El Cerrito, and Alameda, and even started to investigate some of the farther out places like Pleasanton (which does have rentals in your price range, but outside of the immediate downtown seems very suburban). If you lived by a regular bus line (i.e. not just the express Transbay routes) on weekends or nights you could still easily hop on a bus that connects to BART. Although technically there are probably parts of Alameda that are within a mile that are within a mile of BART. Seems like a lot of people bike to Fruitvale. Alameda probably doesn't fit your wish list as well as some of the nicer parts of Berkeley or Oakland, but it has some nice bookstores, a GREAT produce store, a laid-back farmer's market, easy commute to downtown, quiet (and beautiful architecture), very walkable, and some of the most "affordable" rents we saw during our apartment search. We get around the island almost entirely on foot, and bus gives easy access to SF and Oakland (and BART).

My husband commuted from Dublin via BART for awhile. The commute was terrible, but the upside was that he got on first and was guaranteed a spot to sit. I've never done a BART commute, but if you're hoping to do a lot of reading on the ride that may be something to consider.
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:07 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,226 posts, read 36,952,414 times
Reputation: 28563
As for BART stations in Oakland, the ones that have neighborhoods in walking distance that roughly meet your criteria are Lake Merritt, 19th, 12th, Macarthur and Rockridge.

Corresponding neighborhoods:
Adams Point
Grand Lake
Piedmont Ave/Rose Garden
Rockridge
Temescal
Uptown
Old Oakland
Lakeside Apartments District

Taking the bus to SF (which drops you off south of Market and East of Powell, the bus serves neighborhoods so the stop is likely really close to your place, I live 1 block from one line, and 3-4 blocks from 2 other lines, way less crowded than BART, you get a seat about 90% of the time)

Diamond, Laurel, Cleveland Heights, Glenview (and the city of Alameda)

Outside of Oakland, Berkeley, parts of El Cerrito, parts of Albany and parts of Walnut Creek, most areas served by BART aren't walkable and are mostly suburban.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
14,725 posts, read 14,704,283 times
Reputation: 15462
Grand Lake, Adams Point & Piedmont Ave are very nice but not close to BART. And the Lakeside Apartments would require you to walk through that seedy tunnel which connects the old Kaiser Auditorium to the Lake. I'd avoid the Macarthur BART area in general unless you're accustomed to urban living, same with the Lake Merritt station (which isn't unsafe, but pretty desolate at night).
For your budget I'd recommend El Cerrito/Rich.Annex, San Leandro, and the Uptown area of Oakland east of the freeway.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,226 posts, read 36,952,414 times
Reputation: 28563
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natural510 View Post
Grand Lake, Adams Point & Piedmont Ave are very nice but not close to BART. And the Lakeside Apartments would require you to walk through that seedy tunnel which connects the old Kaiser Auditorium to the Lake. I'd avoid the Macarthur BART area in general unless you're accustomed to urban living, same with the Lake Merritt station (which isn't unsafe, but pretty desolate at night).
For your budget I'd recommend El Cerrito/Rich.Annex, San Leandro, and the Uptown area of Oakland east of the freeway.
Depends. I live at the far end of Piedmont Ave (close to the Rose Garden), and it is about 1-1.25 mile to Macarthur or 19th. If you live closer to Broadway, it is a 1/2 mile. Not very far at all.

Macarthur BART? Totally fine if you head east. In fact it gets better as you head more east. I walk home alone at night the entire way (single female here). You need a moderate amount of street smarts to live anywhere in a walkable BART accessible neighborhood here. Uptown isn't any safer than the area around Macarthur BART, you need to be comfortable with urban living to live there as well.

Lakeside Apartments? You might live a whole lot closer to 19th depending on the block you choose.
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:01 AM
 
75 posts, read 258,044 times
Reputation: 84
In my opinion, Walnut Creek would be your best choice. (Of course, I live in Walnut Creek so I am biased.) The Pleasant Hill BART station is actually in Walnut Creek and there are some amenities in the area including access to the Iron Horse Trail. Walnut Creek has a beautiful new library and is part of the Contra Costa Library system so one has access to all the books, etc., in the system. You probably won't find a quiet neighborhood right next to BART but a mile away will give you quieter areas. Walnut Creek is safer than your other choices and BART goes directly to San Francisco without the need to transfer to another train.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:27 AM
 
3,098 posts, read 3,792,259 times
Reputation: 2580
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natural510 View Post
Grand Lake, Adams Point & Piedmont Ave are very nice but not close to BART. And the Lakeside Apartments would require you to walk through that seedy tunnel which connects the old Kaiser Auditorium to the Lake. I'd avoid the Macarthur BART area in general unless you're accustomed to urban living, same with the Lake Merritt station (which isn't unsafe, but pretty desolate at night).
For your budget I'd recommend El Cerrito/Rich.Annex, San Leandro, and the Uptown area of Oakland east of the freeway.
the 19th street bart station is an option for parts of the lakeside apartment district.
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