Commute Question Around Town, posted by Scott, a resident of another community, on Sep 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm
My family is considering relocating to Pleasanton from the East coast. I was recently hired by a firm in north San Jose and I was wondering if anyone who does the Pleasanton to San Jose commute could comment on how bad it really is.
From my initial study, it does not look good but before ruling out Pleasanton , which looks like a great town, I wanted to hear what some of the current commuters think.
Some background info:
A) I will have some flexibilty with commute times. My current thought would be to leave Pleasanton around 7:30 am and leave SJ around 6:30.
B) I would probably be getting on/off RT 680 at the RT 64 exit.
C) My current commute is ~50 miles each way(but it is at highway speeds)
Posted by trekmtb, a resident of the Heritage Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 1:51 pm
I live in Pleasanton and have made that commute for over 25 years.
I live near downtown and commute to San Jose, adjacent to Milpitas. The commute has been OK at times and it has been horrible depending on the economy and the time of day. Weather and season affect it also. Any kind of serious accident causes real problems. These days it has not been too bad as there are a fair amount of people out of work.
Having said all of that, I avoid most of the traffic (going in) by setting my hours from 7:00am to 4:00pm. I also get to work about 30-45 minutes early so I leave around 6:00am or a little before. I rarely have any traffic problems. It takes about 25 minutes to go my 26 miles. Coming home is a different issue, especially on Fridays. If I leave at 4:00pm it'll usually take about 40-45 minutes although this week has been closer to an hour. (school back in session?) Fridays can take much longer so I usually head home about 3:30pm since my hours are somewhat flexible. It still takes about an hour. The Friday before a holiday weekend will get even worse.
You mentioned Hwy, 64. I think you mean 84. That's not in Pleasanton, it's the junction for Livermore, if you are coming from there you have an additional set of delays. Hope this helps. Welcome to Pleasanton if that is what you decide to do.
PS: They are openting a toll lane on 680 at the end of the month but only in the north direction which has less traffic issues.
Posted by trekmtb, a resident of the Heritage Oaks neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm
I forgot to mention that the times that you are thinking about would be traffic in the AM and not as bad in the PM so maybe the toll lane (expensive) would help you. I'm sure that others with similar ours will comment.
Posted by not bad, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm
I moved from N. San Jose (a few minutes from where I work) to Pleasanton about 2 years ago).
For me it was a move I'll never regret. The quality of life for me is far superior to what I experienced in SJ. Everybody has different tastes/needs so check out the demographics of each community to help you decide. I'm sure you already have which is why you're looking at Pleasanton.
Now to your original issue regarding commute. Short version for those who don't want to read my whole story = 40 minutes in AM and 50 minutes in PM.
I'm on SE side of Pleasanton. I leave for work at 9am and get in by 9:45 most days (only takes ~30 minutes on Friday AM). I head back out at around 6pm and I'm home 6:50ish (except Fridays where north bound return time is worse, payback for light AM I guess). The southbound AM commute is likely to change a bit in 11 days when the pay-lane opens up, not sure if it will be better or worse. Right now the diamond commute lane opens up for everyone for free at 9am but this will change when the diamond lane will be restricted by a toll system if you are not commuting.
Commute times tend to decrease by a few minutes in summer and go up once schools starts, but this may be unique to my 'late start'. Leaving so early in the AM without a commute partner my suspicion is that your travel time could be a few minutes longer than mine since you will not be able to commute unless you pay for the privilege or have someone to drive with (an option). I'm personally not in that much of a hurry to get in, but rather more interested in getting home early.
You can shave a few minutes off each way by commuting with someone as I do a couple times a week, about 2/3 of the way SB and 1/4 of the way NB (if you access 680 from 237/880).
In two years I've had about 4 days where my ride home was 1.5 hours or longer due to major accident or something like that on 680N.
Posted by Risa, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm
Coming home on Fridays is pretty bad, it takes twice as long as the commute home usually does. Occasional crashes make the commute three times as long. I moved from the east coast to Pleasanton, and I LOVE California. If you're from New York, say goodbye to real pizza, Italian bread and bagels, but besides that it's fantastic and so worth it.
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm
I would need to understand your reasons for selecting Pleasanton over a closer community, I would also want to understand your future career goals.
I grew up in San Jose, it is a good community. It is made of several smaller communities that allow you the "feel" of a smaller town, with the benefits of a larger city. With that said, there are very few areas I'd want to move back into, and they are expensive. One of San Jose's greates assets is the location - you have access to the East bay and Pennisula which offer plenty of career choices with minimized driving times.
I love Pleasanton, but if I or my wife worked in San Jose we would be looking to move. I moved to Pleasanton because its a family friendly community with excellent schools. However, sacraficing time with my family to provide that benefit when alternative/equivalent options are available, would be hard to overlook.
Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm
I work in San Jose and live in Pleasanton. I take 680 south and then Montague Expwy or 237 to get into 880South. I avoid the Mission Blvd exit in Fremont to get to 880 because you can be there forever and it is not worth it. It takes me about 40 minutes to get to work, but I avoid traffic by leaving home at either 7:30 am or 10 am. Coming back, as long as you avoid the 4:30 to 6 pm rush, it is about a 35 min drive for me. With traffic, it can be up to an hour. I prefer to work from home on Fridays to avoid the pm rush hour.
I used to live near Los Gatos, and the commute to work for me was about the same because 880 is horrible going North in the mornings.
The good thing about Pleasanton is that it is a great community, great schools, great for raising kids.
We lived in the south bay before moving to Pleasanton, and there are very few places that are good for raising kids, and they are extremely expensive. The school boundaries are not straightforward either.
I have a friend who moved here from another state and bought a house in Los Gatos, thinking great school district. Wrong!!! His kids ended up going to private schools because their assigned schools were in Campbell, and he paid a Los Gatos price for his house!
The commute for me has been worth it because my kids love their school and the community is great. And before we had awful schools and about the same commute to work, so we made a good move by deciding to live in Pleasanton. We got more house for the money too.
Posted by Ptown Resident, a resident of the Walnut Hills neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm
Two points to be made here:
1. Our family used to live and work in the South Bay, and there were times when my commute took me less than ten minutes. Travel-wise, you couldn't really ask for anything better than that unless you worked from home full-time. However, when it came time for the kids to enter the school system, we decide to move to Pleasanton as it offered an excellent school district and a family-oriented environment. Though my commute has risen sharply, it was the best decision.
2. I also commute from Pleasanton to North San Jose and fortunately am able to use the carpool lane with hybrid stickers. It takes about 35 minutes to get to work with the carpool lane, and if I leave after 9am, then commute time can grow to 50 minutes. As others mentioned, the earlier you leave, the better. As for coming home, typical time is about 45-50 minutes, slightly longer on Fridays. As in anyplace, add in time due to weather, accidents, etc.
Also keep in mind that your commute can vary depending on where you live within Pleasanton. There are neighborhoods where it may take you 10 minutes just to get on the freeway.
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 8:52 pm
You now have about an hour or less commute and living in Pleasanton your commute will be about the same. Clearly you should go find something in Fremont, Milpitas, or even San Jose itself. Why is Pleasanton so great in your opinion? I moved here in 1979 because housing was cheap and schools were reasonably good. On the other side of the hill the housing was cheap where schools were BAD and UNAFFORDABLE where schools were good. I had young kids to raise. My commute was one hour each way to Menlo Park. What's your reason?
Posted by Ready to move to SJ, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 9:49 pm
Pleasanton is a good place to raise kids, so if that's the goal..OK. But otherwise....it's a small town, alot of people have money and it can be rather boring.
I've made the commute to Intel in Santa Clara and it just got too bad (1.5 hours), that I found a job closer. Kids are grown and I'm looking to move back to Santa Clara where there is more cultural opportunities available more diversity and shopping and sports. There are many good schools in Santa Clara and Campbell and prices are more affordable there now than in years past.
Posted by dublinmike, a resident of Dublin, on Sep 9, 2010 at 10:55 pm
Risa, define "real" pizza. America does not have "real" pizza. Some small local places but not Chicago and not New York. In Italy, the crust is crispy, thin, light sauce and minimum toppings. Bagels... you are right. Lumps of dough.
Oh, sorry, forgot to mention about the commute... it can be bad at times but what you get is: 1) better weather 2) likely to find people on the street that smile 3) grocery clerks that say "thank you" 4)likihood of getting mugged is minimal 5)lower property taxes (although locals can't believe it) 6) good Mexican food if you stay away from false diners like Chevys and
Chipotles 7) 1/2 hour drive to San Francisco 8) great local wineries 9) 2-3 hours drive to the Sierra 10) minimal bigotry 11) great local hiking trails 11) Monterey Bay Aquarium 12) Family oriented and, along with #1 above, only snows about every 20-25 years...true. Lived here all my life.
Posted by Another resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm
"There are many good schools in Santa Clara and Campbell"
Not if you are looking at high schools. There are pockets here and there with one or two good schools. It is very hard to find a place with good k-12 schools. You have to go to places like Palo Alto to find that. Even Cupertino is only k-8, and for high schools it merges with other districts and they only have one good high school.
Almaden only has one good high school, and even if you are in the attendance area, you may be bused to a different high school because they are still part of San Jose Unified.
Schools in the south bay are terrible, and the places like Palo Alto are very expensive.
Pleasanton has great k-12 schools, even with the budget cuts.
But I agree that if you do not have (or plan to have) kids, perhaps Pleasanton is not the best place for you.
About the commute: not bad, I have been commuting to Sunnyvale for years, and as long as you avoid the rush hour, you will be fine. I live in Pleasanton because I have children, enjoy the community and the freedom my children have to walk to and from school without me having to worry about their safety.
Posted by dancermom, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 8:47 am
Be aware that real estate agents seem to steer "relocations" to Ruby Hill as the cool place to live. That adds at least another 20 minutes to your commute. If you are thinking Hwy,. 84 is in your drive,it leads me to believe you are looking over there. We moved up from Cupertino solely for the idea of living at Ruby, but the extra 3 miles each way into Downtown Pleasanton with kids made it a no go. I would hate that commute to where I worked in Santa Clara, b/c 84 can get dicey since it is so narrow and winding.
Posted by Cindy, a resident of the Avila neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 8:57 am
First off you will simply LOVE living in Pleasanton. I'm originally from MA and moved to Pleasanton 13 years ago. Although not limited to Pleasanton, the weather is wonderful, particularly compared with the East Coast. So congrats on deciding to move here.
I cannot speak to the commute directly but indirectly I have a neighbor who takes the ACE Train from downtown Pleasanton to San Jose. She loves the train. The only downside is that the schedule is not flexible...she takes a 6:45am train and arrives in SJ just before 8am I believe. She said there is an earlier one that leaves at 5:45am. Coming home the last train is at 5:30pm. If you can make those kind of hours work you may want to consider the ACE Train. She said the folks on the train are very friendly and even go so far to celebrate b-days by bringing breakfast on the train. She had no trouble getting into the train life, even after spending most of her career at places where she would drive. Good luck! I myself commute to Foster City each day - by car. Long commutes are just a way of life out here unfortunately...similar to my years in MA.
Posted by Patriot, a resident of the Carriage Gardens neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 9:09 am
It is nice to see many of the nice and true comments about Pleasanton--have lived here since 1971 and all 3 of our sons went to the hocal schools which are excellent and many have made the California Excellent Schools list again and again. I work locally and have never made that commute. Over time it has improved greatly and the roads wider and better--the new southbound toll lane will be helpful for commuters--its cost will be based on the density of the cars using it and I believe that applies only to "solo" car drivers.(the lane opens on September 20th). Again alot will depend on when you need to be at work. Coming home too will be a time choise that you will have to play with--Fridays in the summer and the holidays can be of peak nature and therefore time consuming. I grew up in Connecticut and went to college in Philadelphia and you will find that the 300 days of sunshine are awesome compaired to east coast weather. Pleasanton is fortunate to be at the crossroads of I580 and I680 so getting places is easier and BART to the City of San Franciso is about an hourt. Welcome to a great place to live.
Posted by Patriot, a resident of the Carriage Gardens neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 9:17 am
OOOPs on the above--word should be "choice" Also forgot to mention that there could be a Railroad commute option for you to consider--depending how far you work location would be from the station. It is called the ACE train (Altamont Commuter Express)-- there are 3 trains each day departing from Stockton, California and passing through Pleasanton en route to the final destination in downtown San Jose, California--they return in the afternoon generally leaving San Jose at 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30--the commute time is about an hour and the trains are relatively modern. Another option for you to consider.
Posted by Marie, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 10:09 am
HI, I bought a house in Pleasanton a year ago and do the commute to Santa Clara. Its not fun trust me. I pretty much work 8-5. Coming in I can get to work in about 40-50 mins. Going home an hour at least. If they add a carpool lane going North like they already have going South that would help but not sure that will ever happen.
I love living in Pleasanton but find myself not wanting to drive to the Southbay to see friends or anything during the weekends anymore because I have had my fill of the drive during the week.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Rosepointe neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 10:30 am
I moved here a year ago and make the commute from Pleasanton to San Jose (280/880 interchange) and as long as I leave before 6:30am it takes about 35 minutes and if I leave at 4pm it'll take about 45-50 minutes coming home. Leaving at 3pm-3:45 or after 4:30pm it takes closer to an hour, but for some reason 3:45-4:15 is the ideal time.
Posted by east coaster, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm
Pleasanton is a nice town but NOT worth the commute. Being an East Coaster myself I highly advise you to consider your options if you value your home life. The freways around here make the NJ Turnpike look like a (well paved) country road.
Posted by Resident, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Sep 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm
Highway 84 has been improved partially, with additional lanes and sharp, windy turns removed. Part of the highway is still one lane each direction, but I would not describe this as windy. Traffic from in the commute directions am and pm look bad, but do seem to move, (unless there is an accident) but slowly. I would not choose this area of Pleasanton for commuting to SJ. I'd be looking for something off Sunol Blvd or Bernal. I grew up in Sunnyvale and choose Pleasanton any day for less traffic around town, schools, and so much more. I would hate to live in the South Bay unless I could afford to live in Los Gatos/Monte Sereno/Saratoga or the nicer communities on the Peninsula. ACE Train might be an option that could make your commute more enjoyable/productive.
Posted by Grace Taylor, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm
I would commute 2 hours both ways and still think it's worth living in Pleasanton. I don't miss living back east for a minute ( NYC ). You're gonna love the weather, people, the downtown area, the trees, farmers market on Saturdays just everything! Pleasanton was voted one of the best cities to live......I totally agree.
Posted by think about it, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Sep 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm
I would think about it if I were you. Pleasanton is a nice safe community, but the commute is getting worse again. Must be more people employed again, I don't know. If you never want to see your kids, except on the weekend, I wouldn't do it. Ditto on the comment about living in Ruby Hill, it will add time onto your commute. There are nice places to live all over the Bay area, don't be fooled by the school scores and realtor remarks. PUSD has problems like all the other schools and it's share of bad (entitled) teachers that nobody can get rid of. Believe me, we've had our share of them! Good luck.
Posted by JSS, a resident of another community, on Sep 12, 2010 at 7:32 am JSS is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Wow. Thank you for the all the responses.
I have definitely learned a lot and have a bunch of things to think about.
I also wanted to provide some background on why we thought Pleasanton was potentially a good choice for our family. We have two children of school age so highly regarded schools are of great importance. Second, we currently live in southern Maine so besides the current housing sticker shock we face in every town in the Bay area, Pleasanton appears to offer much more house and land for the $ then the towns in the South Bay. Finally, the town of Pleasanton has a great deal of the other things we would like in a town including a nice downtown area, great parks for the kids and close proximity (but not too close) to a major city.
One additional question, many have commented on how leaving San Jose early helps beat a bunch of the traffic home, if you leave San Jose around 6 or 6:30 how bad is it then? Is it less than an hour or is it worse?
Posted by the real test, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2010 at 10:23 am
Here's what I recommend. I did this before buying my house in Pleasanton and I believe it's the only true way to *know* what you're getting into. Numbers on paper and anecdotal stories are one thing but you need to experience it. You're clearly on the fence and this will tell you which side to jump to:
You need to make the trip. You're going to be making a big financial commitment so its worth it. Start at the address of your new employer and drive to Pleasanton at 6 or 6:30pm and see how you feel afterwards. Have diner downtown, drive around neighborhoods a bit, then stay over in a hotel and then do the AM commute when you think you'd be likely to leave. Just remember that Fridays are an anomaly and the AM 680S drive is faster than normal and the PM 680N drive is slower than normal so your data, if done on a friday, will be off a bit.
You could take the next day and do the same thing from your second favorite place in the south bay, etc and there you go. A small investment to avoid buyers remorse or regret.
Posted by About the houses, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm
"Cambpell and Santa Clara are comparably priced with P-town."
Not really. In Campbell and Santa Clara you get smaller houses with smaller lots and not so good looking neighborhoods, for the same price of a nice looking house in a nice looking street/neighborhood in Pleasanton.
There are no good schools in Campbell. Marshall Lane is the only good elementary, but then you go to Rolling Hills middle which is pretty bad because you have more than Marshall Lane students going to it. The high schools are even worse. And this is living in the nice part of Campbell (may have to buy in a Los Gatos or Saratoga address to get into Marshall lane) - but then it is still a Campbell school but you pay Saratoga and/or Los Gatos prices (not worth it).
As for Santa Clara, the schools are not good either. The only somewhat decent one is Washington Open which is an alternative school and you are not guaranteed a spot there even if you live in the neighborhood or in Santa Clara.
If what you are after is the schools, Pleasanton is a clear choice.
If you must be in the South bay, then try to get a place in Palo Alto or Los Gatos or even Saratoga (make sure the property is in the Los Gatos/Saratoga School district rather than in the Campbell/West San Jose school district - be especially careful with the very expensive properties by West Valley College which the realtors advertise as great schools when in truth many of them are in the Campbell school district)
Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm
I know people who commute 2hrs/day to get to work in Pleasanton!
Don't get your Jockeys in a jumble over this. Live where you want to/where your family's comfortable and happy.
You're gonna have an air-conditioned car.. load up some tunes, get in the #3 lane and suck a strawberry milkshake from Jack-inna-Box. You'll unwind from a hard day at the office, have a pleasant and scenic drive and arrive ready for some quality family time. Don't try to be 'Speed Racer'!! 10 minutes either way won't matter a bit.
Posted by Great, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm
My two cents:
Right now it's a buyers market and a GREAT time to purchase a home anywhere in the Bay or East Bay.
The Greater Bay Area, Santa Clara etc. is HEAVILY Asian now and that is either good or bad and for you to decide. The schools except for Palo Alto and most of Los Altos are not that great and gangs are a problem.
NOW, that being said, Palo Alto is way more earthy and democratic and Pleasanton leans way more to the right with a pretty large radical Conservative Base and a growing Very Radical Tea Party movement.
Alto go to "City-Data dot com" for some great statistics and forums.
Good luck. I came from Palo Alto and were moving back! Wont get as much home for the money but if you read though these forums, there's too much hostility and political divide here for our tastes.
Posted by Check it out by renting, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Sep 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm
You will find different opinions about the commute. The best thing you can do is to rent a place in Pleasanton before you buy. That will allow you to check it out, from the point of view of schools, community, and yes, commute.
That is what we did before we sold our place in the south bay. We were not happy with the schools over there, so it was either move to a different community or send our kids to private schools. We loved it here in Pleasanton, and the commute was not bad at all, especially when we looked at what we were getting in return: nicer house, nicer neighborhood, great community and schools, the downtown and all the events. So we bought a house in Pleasanton and are very happy with our decision. My commute is about 45 minutes, and when I lived in the south bay, my commute to work was about 30 minutes, so it is only an additional 15 minutes.
It is a matter of personal preference.
We have people in Pleasanton who live here and work in Palo Alto, San Jose, Sunnyvale, etc. Most of my neighbors work in the south bay, and their commute is not bad, they make it work.
Posted by Me, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm
Love Pleasonton!! Commute to Santa Clara near Great America. Leave at 6am ish and with a lot of moving traffic it's 35min. Try to leave at 3 or 4 to work from home and head the back way up 880 thru Sunol and it's about 50min. I avoid peak rush at all costs. I've been caught in traffic for 1.5 hrs and it's a real grind.
It's amazing how many people are commuting so early compared to Midwest and East Coast. CA is worth it.