Northern California - new job in Palo Alto, where should a bike commuter live?
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12-11-07, 09:31 PM
I have a new job in Palo Alto, next to Stanford.
Now I need to figure out where to live so I can continue to bike commute.
I currently in Park Slope, Brooklyn and bike 7 miles to midtown everyday.
I love Prospect Park were I can ride car-free and go running
and I like the walkable village-y feel of Park Slope.
I am hoping to find some place with a similar (sub)urban park
within 60 minutes by bike of the caltrain station in Palo Alto.
I have a good job so I don't have to be super budget conscious.
What suggestions of bay area places do you guys have so
I can still commute by bike?
Anywhere in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View would be ideal. If you go closer to the 101 side, you have the Shoreline Baylands natural preserve w/ lots of Bike and Running paths. Anywhere in the mid-peninsula is great though.
Trust me, coming from LA (almost as bad as Manhattan), this is biking heaven here. Lots of protected lanes and cars are a lot more accustomed to seeing (the many) bike commuters.
12-12-07, 12:09 AM
Redwood City works, too.
12-12-07, 12:11 AM
How much do you want to spend? Palo Alto and the others towns in the area are nice. Caltrain is a pretty nice way to commute and dumps you right off by Stanford. San Jose and some of the other areas south and north are a fair bit cheaper.
I live in Redwood City and commute to Cupertino (around 17 miles one way). Alameda Del La Pulgas to Foothill Expressway is a good road to commute on which is what I use. It also connects up to all of the popular cycling routes. You can also add some mileage on to your ride to work by taking a diversion. I don't do any running but there are various trails people run on west of Foothill. Also Foothill has an entrance into Stanford.
12-12-07, 12:49 AM
I used to commute from Redwood City to Stanford. Piece of cake. I'm looking to stretch my commute all the way to Mt View, its a great area to ride, much better than when I lived in CT.
12-12-07, 10:25 AM
If money is not an issue for you, then get a place in downtown Palo Alto (University Ave). There are lots of nice restaurants and shops there and the commute to Stanford is a short bike ride. The downtown Mountain View (Castro Street) is also nice if you'd like a more ethnic flavor. The commute from there to Stanford is only slightly longer (depending where in Stanford you are heading). Most of Santa Clara County between Hwy 101 and I-280 is pretty flat with lots of bike routes for commuters.
Sorry to be contrarian, but moving from Park Slope to mid-Peninsula will be a bit of a shock to you. You already know this no doubt. Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mtn, View, Burlingame, etc. are all nice, but more along the lines of Westchester (or even Princeton) than Brooklyn. There are pockets of 'walkability' -- very, very small pockets (University Ave. for instance) that are very very expensive, and nothing that compares to what you have in Park Slope.
If you want something more 'walkable' you probably need to think about SF (I have it in Oakland but that's not feasible for you). SF is still bike-able although longer.
The good news is that your bike commute is going to be so much better than dealing with the Brooklyn Bridge or the winter weather.
12-12-07, 05:17 PM
If "walkability" means you want to see stores and restaurants open and active after 10pm on weekdays, then yes, you really do need to move up to San Francisco. However, you will have a 1+ hour one-way door-to-door commute to Stanford, even if you combine Caltrain (www.caltrain.org) with your bicycle commute. You won't be alone on Caltrain; this is a very popular commute.
My advice is to spend a week or two out here before you start your job. Visit the various neighborhoods and try to figure out which one fits your lifestyle and commute requirements.
12-12-07, 06:40 PM
Thanks. This is the sort of comparison I was hoping for.
When you say SF is bike-able to Palo Alto, how long would the commute be?
Any opinions on nice neighbourhoods near the Caltrain?
On my commute, I probably have a streetlight ever 75 meters for 7 miles
although you can catch a 'wave' of greenlights, there is alot of stop and go-
so I end up averaging around 13mph. in the mid-peninsula, what sort of speed
can you average? does it have lots of stoplights or stop signs, or are there
low traffic ares where you can `book it` and maintain a good speed.
Thanks for all the responses.
12-12-07, 08:37 PM
San Francisco to Stanford is around 40 miles each way. You will need to be pretty hard core to bike that distance every day. If you take Caltrain most of the way, you can reduce that to about 1 hour each way. Traffic is heavy in San Francisco itself. On the peninsula, Foothill and Alameda have nice bike lanes and will get you to Stanford at a pretty good speed with a minimum of stop lights and stop signs. Unless you're planning on living in one of the trendier parts of San Francisco, you're not going to find a place much more interesting than the area within a 3 miles of Stanford. If you want cheap, that is another issue.
On my communute (Redwood City to Cupertino) I can average between 16.5 to 18 miles per hour depending on the traffic lights and how motivated I am. :) Alameda Del La Pulgas & Foothill have less traffic lights compared to El Camino for example. There are streets that have less stop signs/stop lights and good dedicated bike lanes. Like the Palo Alto Bryant Street Bicycle Boulevard.
12-16-07, 08:53 PM
If you're working near the Caltrain, then you could live in SF and take the baby bullet train to PA. As far as living in the peninsula goes, Palo Alto and Mt View are great. PA has nice bike boulevards with very little automobile traffic, and Mt View is also very bike friendly.
That being said, if you're using to living in a city, then SF is your best bet. Palo Alto, especially in the downtown / Univ ave area is as good as it gets in the peninsula, but you'll still probably find yourself going to SF all the time. Downtown Mt View, near Castro st, is the next best option, and I lived there for about 10 years before recently moving to SF.
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