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Getting around in Berkeley - rental car, taxi, public transportation?

Getting around in Berkeley - rental car, taxi, public transportation?

Jan 29th, 2009, 06:01 PM
  #1  
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Getting around in Berkeley - rental car, taxi, public transportation?

We'll be in San Francisco for 4 days and would like to visit Berkeley to have lunch at Chez Panisse and see the campus. I know BART goes to Berkeley, but I'm wondering how difficult it is to move around once there. We're in our late 50s with not-so-great knees, so aren't up for long distances on foot.

Should we rent a car for the day and drive from SF or take BART and then buses, taxis, etc.?

Thanks for your advice!
enewell is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:02 PM
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Berkeley has always taken pride in being one of the most car-UNfriendly cities in the U.S. And this is in a metropolitan area for which a car is completely unnecessary. If you even find any parking near campus, you'll end up walking about as much as if you'd taken BART.

If walking is a problem, take a cab from the BART station.
PaulRabe is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:32 PM
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I agree - you really do not want to rent a car for Berkeley -- totally a waste of time/money plus parking issues etc etc.

You can take a cab all the way from SF if you want or just from the BART station (much cheaper)
janisj is online now  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:38 PM
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We had lunch at Chez Panisse in October - on our way to SF from Nappa. I didn't find the driving difficult at all, but parking near the restaurant wasn't easy. We ended up leaving the car in a lot for a super market nearby. Lunch, btw, was divine and well worth a detour. I wish I was going back!
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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When I go to Berkeley, I drive (I drive everywhere). There are plenty of parking lots near campus (especially on weekends, when some of the permit lots are open to the public). Of course, you can take BART and then take a cab to campus, a cab to the restaurant, etc. It's all walkable, but it is uphill from BART to campus (not seriously uphill, but not flat), so although it is walking distance, you probably won't want to walk.
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:55 PM
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I drive in Berkeley too - just about every time I go down there. But if I was staying in SF (instead of driving my own car from home) there is no way I'd faff around w/ renting a car in downtown SF to drive across the Bay.

Now, IF I was doing a day trip through the East Bay and up to Napa or something like that - then sure, rent a car.
janisj is online now  
Jan 29th, 2009, 08:00 PM
  #7  
 
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Sorry, I missed that part! I wouldn't rent a car just to go to Berkeley either -- since there are good alternatives.
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 09:12 PM
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what a coincidence! i had lunch today at the chez panisse cafe.
it was divine as usual and no problem with parking.

bart from s.f. to berkeley would be very easy.

there is a campus entrance about a block from berkeley bart. it is a rather large campus to walk especially with 'not-so-great knees'
there are also taxis on shattuck st. outside the station.

if you don't want to hassle with finding a taxi or having to walk, it may serve you to rent a car.
parking is not difficult around campus or around chez panisse.
both have metered parking. just make sure to carry quarters.
abranz is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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If you are planning on walking around that huge campus, I'd suggest going in a car and parking in a nearby garage. Much easier on your knees.

All the hoofing around BART is for the young-uns with good knees.

Just google "public parking in Berkeley, CA" and you'll get a lot of different websites detailing any number of parking garages near campus.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 03:17 AM
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Thanks for all the responses -- you've given me lots to contemplate.

I didn't elaborate on our plans in my original post, but now I'm wondering about this possibility: we're renting a car our last morning in San Francisco to drive up to Mendocino for 3 nights before coming home. Would it be possible to get the car early, drive to Berkeley, tour around, and then lunch at Chez Panisse before driving up to Mendocino? Is that an impossibly long day?

Thanks again for all the great responses.
enewell is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 06:50 AM
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A long but not impossible day. Mendocino (one of our favorite places) is about a three-hour drive from San Francisco. Berkeley is a hassle but doable by car, especially the area where Chez Panisse is located. If you're a coffee aficionado, you can make a pilgrimage to the original Peet's which is nearby. You'll be able to get a feel for the campus and also for the more central part of Berkeley through your car window.
bon_voyage is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 09:13 AM
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You'll be able to get a feel for the campus and also for the more central part of Berkeley through your car window.

I agree you can get a feel for the "more central part of Berkeley" (by which I assume the poster means College Ave., Telegraph Ave. and Bancroft), but I don't think you can get any feel for the campus unless you get out of the car!
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Where in San Francisco are you staying? How far from a BART station?

To take BART is easy, you'll get off (or out) at the campus gates.

Seach Berkeley university, I think they have buses or shuttles on the campus territory which is huge.
FainaAgain is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 01:45 PM
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mendocino is about 3.5 to 4 hours from berkeley.
so your day would not be impossible, perhaps a little long and tiring especially after lunching at chez panisse.
abranz is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 03:43 PM
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If you decide to drive over to Berkeley and then proceed north, you might consider staying in Healdsburg for a night and then two nights in Mendocino.
bon_voyage is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 05:14 PM
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We're staying at Villa Florence in Union Square, and have already reserved our nights at Glendeven in Mendocino. My mind is still spinning with all the possible scenarios. Thanks again for all the informative replies.
enewell is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 08:40 PM
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We're staying at Villa Florence in Union Square

Well, the good news is, you're incredibly close to the BART station on the San Francisco end!
sf7307 is offline  
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