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Old 12-31-2013, 01:01 AM
 
3 posts, read 7,612 times
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I know this sounds like another of those threads. However, I have done my research; mostly based on the inputs of some of the earlier posts in this forum and am still confused. Our situation is as follows:

My wife would be joining UC Berkeley and I would joining a tech company in Santa Clara area. My wife may return ~10PM at times. My wife can't drive. I can; but I hate driving in the Bay Area commute traffic and would rather not. So, we are looking for areas where our commute would be minimal and it would safe for a woman to walk alone ~10PM.

There are a few options we have considered:

a. Stay close to (north of) Downtown Berkeley BART. My wife can walk to her lab. According to the crime data, that area would be pretty safe. However, I would have a 2 hr 15 min commute (Either Bart+Amtrak+Bus, Bus+Amtrak+Bus or Bart+Bus)

b. Stay between Jack London Station (Oakland) and Lake Merritt BART station. My wife can take BART directly to work. I can take either Amtrak or BART. However the apartments are insanely expensive! And there have been robberies.

c. Stay near Fremont BART. My wife would have a longer commute(~1 hr). I could take a direct bus to office (~ 1hr). The Fremont BART station does not seem to be super safe at night but is probably better than areas in between Oakland and Fremont.

Which of these options would you advise? Am I misssing anything? Is there a better compromise? ShouldWe are not looking for spend more than $1800 for a 1 bedroom with all utilities included.

Thanks a lot for the advice.
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Old 12-31-2013, 01:19 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,814 posts, read 30,178,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyunbit View Post
I know this sounds like another of those threads. However, I have done my research; mostly based on the inputs of some of the earlier posts in this forum and am still confused. Our situation is as follows:

My wife would be joining UC Berkeley and I would joining a tech company in Santa Clara area. My wife may return ~10PM at times. My wife can't drive. I can; but I hate driving in the Bay Area commute traffic and would rather not. So, we are looking for areas where our commute would be minimal and it would safe for a woman to walk alone ~10PM.

There are a few options we have considered:

a. Stay close to (north of) Downtown Berkeley BART. My wife can walk to her lab. According to the crime data, that area would be pretty safe. However, I would have a 2 hr 15 min commute (Either Bart+Amtrak+Bus, Bus+Amtrak+Bus or Bart+Bus)

b. Stay between Jack London Station (Oakland) and Lake Merritt BART station. My wife can take BART directly to work. I can take either Amtrak or BART. However the apartments are insanely expensive! And there have been robberies.

c. Stay near Fremont BART. My wife would have a longer commute(~1 hr). I could take a direct bus to office (~ 1hr). The Fremont BART station does not seem to be super safe at night but is probably better than areas in between Oakland and Fremont.

Which of these options would you advise? Am I misssing anything? Is there a better compromise? ShouldWe are not looking for spend more than $1800 for a 1 bedroom with all utilities included.

Thanks a lot for the advice.
Well, if your wife can't drive it seem obvious to me that you should live close to her job. Truly, she will need to be careful taking public transportation, so why not minimize her commute.

That said, you will need to look for somewhere around Berkeley so she can get home as soon as possible.

So, now you need to get to Santa Clara. You can take the capitol corridor via Amtrak then public transport or taxis or bike, etc.

It will not be ideal. No doubt about it. But, I think you need to keep your wife as safe as possible. Then, it would also be only fair for her to be the one to make dinner :-)
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Old 12-31-2013, 02:18 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Capitol Corridor is pretty pricy, and I doubt it is near the Santa Clara office.

I am going to be honest, it is pretty lose lose. You have a 60 mile distance between your two jobs. Yours in Santa Clara is not in a transit friendly area. Especially when trying to split the distance from anywhere.

I am no expert on the northern peninsula, but that is likely your best bet. It isn't super walkable or transit friendly but you can perhaps look at like downtown San Mateo, she could take a bus (like the ECR) up to Millbrae BART then BART to Berkeley, and you can take Caltrain down to the South Bay. Or maybe just live near Millbrae, but I am not sure about housing options nearby.

The transit commute for you including amtrak would be pretty pricy, and the discounted passes aren't all that cheap.

Personally, I don't love walking around downtown Berkeley at night. There is good foot traffic and a lot of "characters" but assuming basic street smarts she should be fine. Depending on where he lab is she may want to take advantage of the free campus experts. The path from campus to BART. especially from the science buildings can be quite dark. I am assuming she is not working at the labs at the top of the Hill. If that's the case,I always thought the transit up there ended pretty early.
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Old 12-31-2013, 05:23 AM
 
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@NoMoreSnowForMe We are leaning towards the option of staying in Berkeley unless any better options emerge.

@jade408 I agree it is all lose-lose. I wish she could choose Stanford instead of Berkeley.

Amtrak Great America is actually only a 2 mile bike ride away from my office. Monthly passes on Amtrak is $278 per month (ouch). The $130 tax credit will soothe it to some extent but not much. But I realized that even if I drive,I would probably spend the same amount on gas unless I find a carpool/vanpool.

I had considered living in San Mateo. However, i noticed that it means a 1 hr 30 min commute for my wife and ~1.5 hr commute for me+ the problem of airplane noise. I thought living in Fremont might be better if she does commute that long a distance. Am I missing anything here?

Thank you for your sharing your experience on Downtown Berkeley BART. Her lab is at the intersection of Hearst and Spruce St (0.4 miles away).

My wife might learn to drive. But, even then parking in UC Berkeley is a nightmare and she probably might not do it.
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Old 12-31-2013, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,234 posts, read 35,087,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyunbit View Post
@NoMoreSnowForMe We are leaning towards the option of staying in Berkeley unless any better options emerge.

@jade408 I agree it is all lose-lose. I wish she could choose Stanford instead of Berkeley.

Amtrak Great America is actually only a 2 mile bike ride away from my office. Monthly passes on Amtrak is $278 per month (ouch). The $130 tax credit will soothe it to some extent but not much. But I realized that even if I drive,I would probably spend the same amount on gas unless I find a carpool/vanpool.

I had considered living in San Mateo. However, i noticed that it means a 1 hr 30 min commute for my wife and ~1.5 hr commute for me+ the problem of airplane noise. I thought living in Fremont might be better if she does commute that long a distance. Am I missing anything here?

Thank you for your sharing your experience on Downtown Berkeley BART. Her lab is at the intersection of Hearst and Spruce St (0.4 miles away).

My wife might learn to drive. But, even then parking in UC Berkeley is a nightmare and she probably might not do it.
Berkeley doesn't give out parking passes that's for sure. She definitely will need to do a transit commute, they are very transit first. From that corner for her lab the streets are pretty busy. I would feel totally fine walking around there at night mostly. It is really the BART station that bothers me.

I work in downtown San Mateo and rarely hear planes.

As for Fremont, near the BART is basically office parks. Not much transit there at all. Assuming you could walk it would be pretty unpleasant. No walkers on the street and a streets ape designed for cars. I wouldn't feel safe walking there, not due to crime but due to the high speeds of the cars and the layouts of the street. It is not really a good trade off. Sounds good on paper but reality is it isn't the sort if place anyone would walk from BART.

if you can handle the time commute from living in Berkeley I guess I'd try that. The areas adjacent to the Amrrak are kinda lacking in commercial, retail and foot traffic. I wouldn't live over there for sure. The amtrak train is nice and has wifi, and even room for a few bikes. (I haven't taken it as part of the commute). Also I find the train rally loud. I can occasionally here it from my apartment 3 miles from the train tracks. You could also look ATP,aces near downtown Oakland or other parts near BART. Apartments in Berkeley tend o be over priced and crappy with the student population. Your best bet would be north Berkeley or Albany if you stay in that town. I'd just rather live in Oakland and save money with a nicer quality apartment.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:13 PM
 
3 posts, read 7,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Berkeley doesn't give out parking passes that's for sure. She definitely will need to do a transit commute, they are very transit first. From that corner for her lab the streets are pretty busy. I would feel totally fine walking around there at night mostly. It is really the BART station that bothers me.

I work in downtown San Mateo and rarely hear planes.

As for Fremont, near the BART is basically office parks. Not much transit there at all. Assuming you could walk it would be pretty unpleasant. No walkers on the street and a streets ape designed for cars. I wouldn't feel safe walking there, not due to crime but due to the high speeds of the cars and the layouts of the street. It is not really a good trade off. Sounds good on paper but reality is it isn't the sort if place anyone would walk from BART.

if you can handle the time commute from living in Berkeley I guess I'd try that. The areas adjacent to the Amrrak are kinda lacking in commercial, retail and foot traffic. I wouldn't live over there for sure. The amtrak train is nice and has wifi, and even room for a few bikes. (I haven't taken it as part of the commute). Also I find the train rally loud. I can occasionally here it from my apartment 3 miles from the train tracks. You could also look ATP,aces near downtown Oakland or other parts near BART. Apartments in Berkeley tend o be over priced and crappy with the student population. Your best bet would be north Berkeley or Albany if you stay in that town. I'd just rather live in Oakland and save money with a nicer quality apartment.
Thanks a lot for the insight. Any idea about the area around Sacramento and University in Berkeley? It is close to North Berkeley BART as well as Amtrak.

I would have loved to stay somewhere in Oakland which is close to BART/Amtrak and is safe. The only such area I found was around Jack London Square/Lake Merritt BART. However, the property rents there area astronomically high. Are there any other areas? I did not get what ATP aces refers to. But, to get there, wouldn't my wife have to still take BART?

We are crossing out the Fremont idea. San Mateo probably would have worked but my wife would have long hours ~9-9. I think the 3 hr daily commute on top of that would be too much for her.

From your feedback it seems as if my wife would be better off not heading off towards downtown Berkeley BART ~9-10PM. If so I think Berkeley/Albany are the only areas we are restricted to. Am I missing anything?
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Old 12-31-2013, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Pacifica, CA
297 posts, read 737,404 times
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Also you may want to consider the area near 19th st. Bart station in oakland (not sure about amtrak access), but if you were in Adams point-its walkable to Bart and there's lots of foot traffic, so its safe.

Or, Millbrae, she can take Bart and you can take Caltrain. its Super safe-i'm a single woman and felt perfectly safe at all hours-however rents may be out of your range.
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Old 12-31-2013, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,234 posts, read 35,087,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyunbit View Post
Thanks a lot for the insight. Any idea about the area around Sacramento and University in Berkeley? It is close to North Berkeley BART as well as Amtrak.

I would have loved to stay somewhere in Oakland which is close to BART/Amtrak and is safe. The only such area I found was around Jack London Square/Lake Merritt BART. However, the property rents there area astronomically high. Are there any other areas? I did not get what ATP aces refers to. But, to get there, wouldn't my wife have to still take BART?

We are crossing out the Fremont idea. San Mateo probably would have worked but my wife would have long hours ~9-9. I think the 3 hr daily commute on top of that would be too much for her.

From your feedback it seems as if my wife would be better off not heading off towards downtown Berkeley BART ~9-10PM. If so I think Berkeley/Albany are the only areas we are restricted to. Am I missing anything?
My friend lives at Sacramento and University. Rents are cheap, apartments are average. That is basically the border of sketchy in Berkeley, give or take a few blocks. (West of Sacramento gets worst) There are also a few characters around that area, you'll want to be aware for sure. Not much foot traffic. For your reference, my friend who,lives there is a single female and doesn't drive. There is lots of stuff in walking distance, so it is pretty decent. A quick bus ride to amtrak too, on the 51. She has lived there for over 6 years and it has been steadily improving.

Berkeley BART has lots of homeless people. Not sure what sort of environment you are coming from, but for me it isn't ideal but I feel safe enough walking around there in the well lit streets at night (FYI I went to Cal). One of my good friends is from Palo Alto...she never adjusted to walking around the town of Berkeley. For me it is kinda dirty and semi urban, but with some basic awareness most if fine. I adapt easily.

The apartments adjacent to amtrak in Oakland are pricy. But from most points downtown it is only about 1 mile. I live way over in Piedmont Ave and it is around 3 for me, but no direct bus service. Amtrak isn't well connected to buses, you can take the b shuttle or the 72. If you are close to Broadway you'll have a fairly direct bus ride, or you can transfer downtown to a 72. (Or walk 10 minutes from the last 51 stop)

Oops ATP was a typo. Look at places around the BART stations in Oakland (19, MacArthur, Rockridge). Even Rockridge is only 4 miles to Oakland amtrak. And from MacArthur BART you can take the emerygoround to amtrak in e-ville.
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
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Just a couple of thoughts. First, Amtrak isn't noisy to ride in my opinion. Not sure if the previous poster was talking about it being noisy if you live next to it as opposed to being on it. On the other hand, BART is really noisy to ride. There's a high pitched squeal that drives me nuts. Definitely consider headphones with music if you take BART any distance. Caltrain is also a pleasant ride.

I see a lot of those fold-up bikes when I take the Caltrain or Amtrak. Might be more convenient if you can afford one.

http://www.citizenbike.com/default.a...FaHm7AodQ2IADg
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,234 posts, read 35,087,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Just a couple of thoughts. First, Amtrak isn't noisy to ride in my opinion. Not sure if the previous poster was talking about it being noisy if you live next to it as opposed to being on it. On the other hand, BART is really noisy to ride. There's a high pitched squeal that drives me nuts. Definitely consider headphones with music if you take BART any distance. Caltrain is also a pleasant ride.

I see a lot of those fold-up bikes when I take the Caltrain or Amtrak. Might be more convenient if you can afford one.

Folding Bikes by Citizen Bike

The ride on amtrak is quiet but the trying warning bells are loud. Would not want to live near the tracks as they are very active freight corridors.

The so called squeal on BART is loudest under the bay. The OP wouldn't be impacted if going around the east bay.

A folding bike is a ok idea or maybe your office is served by Bay Area bike share.
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