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Old 04-20-2008, 10:11 AM
2 posts, read 34,795 times
Reputation: 12


I realize that traffic on the 101 is very bad, but I would like to move to the Sonoma area this summer in spite of the traffic (have 2 young children).
Do any of you commute to work in San Rafael area from the cities of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, or Petaluma? Would you please comment on your commute experience and the early/late driving times to avoid the worst of rush hour traffic. do any of you bicycle between San Rafael & Petaluma? Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:59 PM
10 posts, read 103,060 times
Reputation: 15
I don't do the commute, but since no one else has posted a reply, maybe I can help you some.

I live in Rohnert Park right now. With no traffic, Rohnert Park to SF will be 45 min.

Santa Rosa is widening 101 right through the downtown, due to be completed late this year/early next. It gets pretty backed up right now, although there's ways around it - not necessarily faster, but you won't be stuck in traffic.

There's really not much significant slowdown south of Santa Rosa all the way the south of Petaluma.. it gets a little congested, but youll still be doing 45mph+

Traffic generally isn't *too* bad through Novato, and doesn't start to get bad until you get close to San Rafael. Depending on how far into town you needed to get and at what time, it may be pretty reasonable. If you arrive a little later in the commute, most of the people heading all the way into SF will be stuck farther south of you. I'd say it's at least 1.5 hours from Rohnert Park to the golden gate bridge during rush hour, so I'd bet you could make it to San Rafael in an hour, especially if you can be a little flexible in your driving times.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:39 AM
Location: Omaha, NE (the O-N-E)
226 posts, read 993,634 times
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When I lived in Santa Rosa, I could make it to SF in about an hour and that is with a little traffic, unless its 2 am there will be some traffic!

Santa Rosa is a nice place to live... I lived there 'til I was 18 graduated from Elsie Allen and SRJC... very beautiful, but expensive compared to the Midwest (where I moved to)
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:20 AM
Location: Northern California
3,712 posts, read 14,515,091 times
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If you are going to work in San Rafael, then live in San Rafael and skip the commute and the $4/gal gas expense. There is nothing wrong about living in San Rafael.
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:49 AM
2 posts, read 34,795 times
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Red face Thank you for your responses!

I am still awaiting a possible job transfer this summer and would live to move up to the Sonoma area. Thanks again for the input.
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:27 AM
4 posts, read 49,698 times
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Hi there,

My family lives in Rohnert Park - the OH commutes from here to San Rafael 4 times a week. It's roughly a 50 minute commute during peak traffic time, in either direction, minus any stops for coffee and donuts.

My guess is that you'd probably want to factor in another 25 minutes for the morning commute from Santa Rosa, and anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for the return trip. (Coming back into Sonoma County, you're not only dealing with commuters, but also college students trying to get to class at the local junior college.)

Bear in mind also that most of the Sonoma County stretch of that commute along the 101 is either two lanes, or three (with one being a diamond lane for carpoolers only), and/or is under construction of some sort.

If you have a firm job offer in San Rafael and are really determined to move to Sonoma County - Petaluma would probably be your best bet.
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:17 PM
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I would agree with the last poster, and some others. The commute between any place in Sonoma and San Rafael is brutal. I worked for years in the Civic Center area, and know many people who hated the commute. Heck, even going up to Santa Rosa on the weekends will frequently land you in stopped traffic. My suggestion is to live in northern San Rafael, Novato, or at the most, Petaluma. I have known several people who just had to quit the San Rafael job, especially when the kids got to the age where there were lots of activities. Sitting on the freeway eats into family time, and that's something you can never get back.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:43 PM
1 posts, read 7,490 times
Reputation: 10
Santa Rosa is a beautiful area. I understand how the commute can be as I drive to either San Rafael/ San Francisco or Berkeley to work. I tend to leave home around 8 to 8:15 AM and make it to San Rafael by 9 or so/ San Francisco by around 9:15-20/ Berkeley between 9 and 9:30 AM(Usual slow down around the Lucas Valley exit). Now I leave work at 6pm and traffic can be variable. The greatest slow down happens when the four lanes becomes two lanes in Novato. People don't realize that maybe by everyone merging a couple of miles before this while going at 65 MPH everyone would prevent the then twenty to thirty minute increase in commute as everyone wants to get into the two lanes at the very last second. If possible try to aim for living in San Rafael. You'll avoid an annoyance. Sorry if I sound annoyed, but sometimes the way people drive baffles me.
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:00 AM
44 posts, read 100,990 times
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Traffic isn't too bad on the 101, but recently there's been road work up in Petaluma and Santa Rosa, which can cause major slowdowns. However, they are widening the freeway so you'll be perfectly fine once the road work is done.
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:50 AM
2,645 posts, read 3,231,852 times
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Originally Posted by gsw510 View Post
Traffic isn't too bad on the 101, but recently there's been road work up in Petaluma and Santa Rosa, which can cause major slowdowns. However, they are widening the freeway so you'll be perfectly fine once the road work is done.
No, they are not widening the freeway. When they are done with the work, it will still be two lanes from North Petaluma down to Novato.

And though this thread was originally from 2008, since it's been revived, I'll add that traffic from Sonoma County to Marin has been horrible. HORRIBLE. It takes me an hour to get home, and that's driving the 19 mile route from Novato to north Petaluma. I leave late in the morning and get there in 25 minutes, to give you a comparison.

Folks up here won't even go to the city on weekends because traffic through Petaluma sucks 24/7.

We have a commuter rail starting next year (unless it's been delayed again). Lots of opposition up here, because the county has a lot of rednecks and seniors who don't want to pay for anything. But despite people thinking it's the "train to nowhere", it will give commuters another option, which we don't have now.

I got lucky. My company is moving to Petaluma, so my commute will soon end. But for others, the freeway construction that's been going on forever is a nightmare.
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