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Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:29 pm
by Anonymous User
Does anyone have any suggestions where to live if working in Palo Alto? For someone who is single and wants a somewhat enjoyable time with not a terrible long commute?

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:41 pm
by bk1
What's not long? What's your price range? Is this for the summer or for full time after graduation?

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:43 pm
by Anonymous User
Not long is around 30 minutes at the most. I come from around $400 living so anything is going to be bad. So let's just say somewhere in the middle range of pricing. This is for the summer but would be looking for it to transform into a full offer so would like to know both if possible

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:52 pm
by bk1
I'm assuming you're working at one of the large law firms in Palo Alto which means that you should be close to the Caltrain station. For the summer you could live in SF by the Caltrain (Dogpatch/Potrero Hill) which would give you an okay commute with easy access to SF, but that would mean closer to a 40 min commute on the bullet than 30 min. There's not a lot of stuff worth being near between SF and Palo Alto. If you have a car, you could live in Palo Alto which would give you access to the night life there and okay access to SJ (both of which are okay, or bad, depending on who you talk to). In either case, you'll probably be spending a ton. If you can find people to room with it will be better though. The other alternative if you have a car is to live in southern parts of SF, but that commute even on 280 can be meh.

Once you work as a full time associate things change though. Having to stay late at work means that you may rather live closer to work and commute to SF on the weekends for fun (rather than doing the opposite).

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:54 pm
by OneMoreLawHopeful
If you have a car you can actually live in the Western part of San Francisco pretty easily. The commute down 280 is relatively quick, and there are some great neighborhoods in that part of San Francisco (near Clement street in the Inner Richmond is nice, and near Irving in the Inner Sunset is pretty nice too). The rent is also much more reasonable than in SOMA or the other trendier areas. If you get a parking sticker for whatever neighborhood you are in, you can also find street parking relatively easily. I think the stickers cost ~$100 (I haven't checked since I got a place with a garage), but they last for a year, so you'll only need to buy one for the whole summer.

Living in Palo Alto itself is difficult, unless you can find a Stanford grad student to sublet from, but those are hit-or-miss.

Be careful about living south of Palo Alto - the freeways are impacted by "carpool only" lanes that can cause a crunch during peak commute times (the lanes are open to all vehicles after rush hour is over, so traffic spreads out more). For whatever reason there are no carpool only lanes on the freeways north of Palo Alto, so it's not a concern.

If you're very price sensitive, I knew some people who got pretty good deals on summer sublets in Foster City, but there's no amenities out there, you'd have to drive into San Mateo any time you wanted to see a movie or go shopping.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:54 pm
by prezidentv8
Piece of valuable advice:

280 > 101

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:57 pm
by Anonymous User
bk1 wrote:I'm assuming you're working at one of the large law firms in Palo Alto which means that you should be close to the Caltrain station. For the summer you could live in SF by the Caltrain (Dogpatch/Potrero Hill) which would give you an okay commute with easy access to SF, but that would mean closer to a 40 min commute on the bullet than 30 min. There's not a lot of stuff worth being near between SF and Palo Alto. If you have a car, you could live in Palo Alto which would give you access to the night life there and okay access to SJ (both of which are okay, or bad, depending on who you talk to). In either case, you'll probably be spending a ton. If you can find people to room with it will be better though. The other alternative if you have a car is to live in southern parts of SF, but that commute even on 280 can be meh.

Once you work as a full time associate things change though. Having to stay late at work means that you may rather live closer to work and commute to SF on the weekends for fun (rather than doing the opposite).


Caltrain station is like 3 and a half miles from the Research Park where all the firms are. So without a car that is my best bet?

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:03 pm
by OneMoreLawHopeful
Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:I'm assuming you're working at one of the large law firms in Palo Alto which means that you should be close to the Caltrain station. For the summer you could live in SF by the Caltrain (Dogpatch/Potrero Hill) which would give you an okay commute with easy access to SF, but that would mean closer to a 40 min commute on the bullet than 30 min. There's not a lot of stuff worth being near between SF and Palo Alto. If you have a car, you could live in Palo Alto which would give you access to the night life there and okay access to SJ (both of which are okay, or bad, depending on who you talk to). In either case, you'll probably be spending a ton. If you can find people to room with it will be better though. The other alternative if you have a car is to live in southern parts of SF, but that commute even on 280 can be meh.

Once you work as a full time associate things change though. Having to stay late at work means that you may rather live closer to work and commute to SF on the weekends for fun (rather than doing the opposite).


Caltrain station is like 3 and a half miles from the Research Park where all the firms are. So without a car that is my best bet?


Most of the firms are on Page Mill, which is 6-7 blocks from the California Avenue Caltrain stop. Are you checking the right stop?

Granted, if you work at like Arnold & Porter all the way at the far end of Page Mill, then it's really far.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:04 pm
by bk1
Anonymous User wrote:Caltrain station is like 3 and a half miles from the Research Park where all the firms are. So without a car that is my best bet?

I was assuming you were near the stop on California where Mayer Brown/White and Case/Perkins/etc are.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:06 pm
by Anonymous User
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:I'm assuming you're working at one of the large law firms in Palo Alto which means that you should be close to the Caltrain station. For the summer you could live in SF by the Caltrain (Dogpatch/Potrero Hill) which would give you an okay commute with easy access to SF, but that would mean closer to a 40 min commute on the bullet than 30 min. There's not a lot of stuff worth being near between SF and Palo Alto. If you have a car, you could live in Palo Alto which would give you access to the night life there and okay access to SJ (both of which are okay, or bad, depending on who you talk to). In either case, you'll probably be spending a ton. If you can find people to room with it will be better though. The other alternative if you have a car is to live in southern parts of SF, but that commute even on 280 can be meh.

Once you work as a full time associate things change though. Having to stay late at work means that you may rather live closer to work and commute to SF on the weekends for fun (rather than doing the opposite).


Caltrain station is like 3 and a half miles from the Research Park where all the firms are. So without a car that is my best bet?


Most of the firms are on Page Mill, which is 6-7 blocks from the California Avenue Caltrain stop. Are you checking the right stop?

Granted, if you work at like Arnold & Porter all the way at the far end of Page Mill, then it's really far.



Jk... I missed that stop. That is super close. So for a summer I should take San Francisco near a train stop and then if I end up moving there then possibly West SF or somewhere north of PA?

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:07 pm
by prezidentv8
Personally, I'd cop dat Peninsula suburban life breh.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:10 pm
by bk1
Anonymous User wrote:Jk... I missed that stop. That is super close. So for a summer I should take San Francisco near a train stop and then if I end up moving there then possibly West SF or somewhere north of PA?

As a summer that gives you the ability to be in SF for night life and have a relatively short commute. Since you likely won't be staying late at the office, that's fine.

Once you start as an associate you could still live by the SF Caltrain station, it just depends on what sacrifices you want to make. Honestly I would wait until after you've lived there for a summer before you decide what you want to do when you move full time.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:11 pm
by OneMoreLawHopeful
Anonymous User wrote:Jk... I missed that stop. That is super close. So for a summer I should take San Francisco near a train stop and then if I end up moving there then possibly West SF or somewhere north of PA?


That's what I would suggest if you can't get a car for the summer.

Caltrain is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it eases the commute because you can kickback and watch TV, read, fool around on your phone, and even grab a beer (you are explicitly allowed to drink on Caltrain, which is pretty cool). That makes it go by quickly.

But on the other hand, it's stuck on a schedule; you leave when the train leaves and not a moment before. If you have a car you have to wait to get home before relaxing, but at least you get to pick what time you're leaving at.

Personally, I prefer using a car because I'd rather not wait for the next train, but I have friends who feel the exact opposite way.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:12 pm
by Anonymous User
prezidentv8 wrote:Personally, I'd cop dat Peninsula suburban life breh.



with no car?

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:14 pm
by bk1
Anonymous User wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:Personally, I'd cop dat Peninsula suburban life breh.



with no car?

If you move back and don't live in SF you should get a car.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:18 pm
by prezidentv8
bk1 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:Personally, I'd cop dat Peninsula suburban life breh.



with no car?

If you move back and don't live in SF you should get a car.


Indeed. But also: Caltrain/BART. But get the car.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:20 pm
by Anonymous User
bk1 wrote:I'm assuming you're working at one of the large law firms in Palo Alto which means that you should be close to the Caltrain station. For the summer you could live in SF by the Caltrain (Dogpatch/Potrero Hill) which would give you an okay commute with easy access to SF, but that would mean closer to a 40 min commute on the bullet than 30 min. There's not a lot of stuff worth being near between SF and Palo Alto. If you have a car, you could live in Palo Alto which would give you access to the night life there and okay access to SJ (both of which are okay, or bad, depending on who you talk to). In either case, you'll probably be spending a ton. If you can find people to room with it will be better though. The other alternative if you have a car is to live in southern parts of SF, but that commute even on 280 can be meh.

Once you work as a full time associate things change though. Having to stay late at work means that you may rather live closer to work and commute to SF on the weekends for fun (rather than doing the opposite).


You mentioned Dogpatch/Potrero Hill as possible places to live in San Francisco. Could you tell me the difference in the places and if anyone has any other recommendations or would recommend one of these more heavily?

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:23 pm
by echooo23
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:If you have a car you can actually live in the Western part of San Francisco pretty easily. The commute down 280 is relatively quick, and there are some great neighborhoods in that part of San Francisco (near Clement street in the Inner Richmond is nice, and near Irving in the Inner Sunset is pretty nice too). The rent is also much more reasonable than in SOMA or the other trendier areas. If you get a parking sticker for whatever neighborhood you are in, you can also find street parking relatively easily. I think the stickers cost ~$100 (I haven't checked since I got a place with a garage), but they last for a year, so you'll only need to buy one for the whole summer.


What? Inner Sunset and/or Richmond to Palo Alto during rush hour is not relatively quick, even on 280. Just getting down 19th, Sunset, Portola, or whatever way, down to 280 is the pits. And parking is not all that great either. Inner Sunset, and the other commercial pockets in Sunset (Taraval, Noriega, Irving) will be awful. Almost all of Richmond (especially near Clement) is hard, because there are fewer single family homes and more commercial corridors. The only way western part of SF is a relatively quick trip to PA is if you were on the southwestern side and can get on the freeway right away.

Personally, I wouldn't live in SF and commute to PA. For the summer, maybe, but as an associate, that's just nowhere near worth the time/hassle.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:24 pm
by Anonymous User
echooo23 wrote:
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:If you have a car you can actually live in the Western part of San Francisco pretty easily. The commute down 280 is relatively quick, and there are some great neighborhoods in that part of San Francisco (near Clement street in the Inner Richmond is nice, and near Irving in the Inner Sunset is pretty nice too). The rent is also much more reasonable than in SOMA or the other trendier areas. If you get a parking sticker for whatever neighborhood you are in, you can also find street parking relatively easily. I think the stickers cost ~$100 (I haven't checked since I got a place with a garage), but they last for a year, so you'll only need to buy one for the whole summer.


What? Inner Sunset and/or Richmond to Palo Alto during rush hour is not relatively quick, even on 280. Just getting down 19th, Sunset, Portola, or whatever way, down to 280 is the pits. And parking is not all that great either. Inner Sunset, and the other commercial pockets in Sunset (Taraval, Noriega, Irving) will be awful. Almost all of Richmond (especially near Clement) is hard, because there are fewer single family homes and more commercial corridors. The only way western part of SF is a relatively quick trip to PA is if you were on the southwestern side and can get on the freeway right away.

Personally, I wouldn't live in SF and commute to PA. For the summer, maybe, but as an associate, that's just nowhere near worth the time/hassle.


Where would you recommend for both the summer and as an associate?

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:28 pm
by puppylaw
Express trains don't stop at California Ave. Plan on using Palo Alto as your main stop. Caltrain lets bikes on. It's convenient for a lot of people to bike to the train.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:30 pm
by Anonymous User
puppylaw wrote:Express trains don't stop at California Ave. Plan on using Palo Alto as your main stop. Caltrain lets bikes on. It's convenient for a lot of people to bike to the train.


So commute is getting longer and longer... Must be better way

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:33 pm
by OneMoreLawHopeful
echooo23 wrote:What? Inner Sunset and/or Richmond to Palo Alto during rush hour is not relatively quick, even on 280. Just getting down 19th, Sunset, Portola, or whatever way, down to 280 is the pits. And parking is not all that great either. Inner Sunset, and the other commercial pockets in Sunset (Taraval, Noriega, Irving) will be awful. Almost all of Richmond (especially near Clement) is hard, because there are fewer single family homes and more commercial corridors. The only way western part of SF is a relatively quick trip to PA is if you were on the southwestern side and can get on the freeway right away.

Personally, I wouldn't live in SF and commute to PA. For the summer, maybe, but as an associate, that's just nowhere near worth the time/hassle.


I don't know what to tell you - I've lived in San Francisco for several years at this point, and I worked as an SA in SV this past summer. Your described experience here just doesn't match mine. I stand by what I wrote.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:36 pm
by OneMoreLawHopeful
puppylaw wrote:Express trains don't stop at California Ave. Plan on using Palo Alto as your main stop. Caltrain lets bikes on. It's convenient for a lot of people to bike to the train.


There are two levels of "express" trains. The "bullet" trains don't stop at California, but most of the "Limited" trains do (there are a few that don't, Caltrain is a weird system). If you take a Limited train it's something like 45 minutes from SF, though if you get stuck taking a local it is quite a bit longer.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:46 pm
by echooo23
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:
echooo23 wrote:What? Inner Sunset and/or Richmond to Palo Alto during rush hour is not relatively quick, even on 280. Just getting down 19th, Sunset, Portola, or whatever way, down to 280 is the pits. And parking is not all that great either. Inner Sunset, and the other commercial pockets in Sunset (Taraval, Noriega, Irving) will be awful. Almost all of Richmond (especially near Clement) is hard, because there are fewer single family homes and more commercial corridors. The only way western part of SF is a relatively quick trip to PA is if you were on the southwestern side and can get on the freeway right away.

Personally, I wouldn't live in SF and commute to PA. For the summer, maybe, but as an associate, that's just nowhere near worth the time/hassle.


I don't know what to tell you - I've lived in San Francisco for several years at this point, and I worked as an SA in SV this past summer. Your described experience here just doesn't match mine. I stand by what I wrote.


Yeah, I mean, I was born and raised in SF, and I've seen the traffic on 19th get worse and worse each decade. So maybe my opinion is a product of that. But I mean, you're still talking about a solid 45-60 minute commute from Inner Sunset or Richmond to PA during rush hour. But we're entitled to our different opinions as to what "relatively quick" means, of course.

As to OP, I have no suggestions on where to live as a summer, because I've never taken Caltrain to PA, so I'll defer to others on that. I agree with bk above, though, about living in SF for the summer and keeping your options open as an associate. As an SF native, it does pain me to say that I would live in the Peninsula, and not SF, as an associate. Working those hours, I'd rather commute 15 minutes to work and 40 to the city than the other way around. But I'm also older and care less about the social scene.

Re: Working in Palo Alto

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:51 pm
by sap
Millbrae can be a decent place to live - a bit long commute time, but you get the advantage of living by the caltrain and the BART - caltrain for the workdays, BART for the weekends.

The town itself is boring as all hell, but if you're living near caltrain/bart you're also living near a huge safeway, a chipotle, drugstores, etc. so you have everything you need within walking in a pinch. I'm probably heading to Millbrae after I graduate.