Commuting from South Orange County to LA environs?
March 28, 2008 9:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for jobs in Santa Monica, Burbank, etc., but I live in South Orange County. What are my options for going between work and home?

Here is my short list:
1) Use my car and ask for flexible start and end times to avoid traffic.
2) Use the Metrolink (I've never ridden the Metrolink before) and have a beater car waiting for me at Union Station. Can I get 3G access while riding the Metrolink?
3) Rent out my house and find a cheap cheap place to live in LA.
4) Rent out my house and move back in with my parents (they live east of downtown).
5) Live with my parents during the week, go back home during the weekend.
posted by zzztimbo to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So... you're looking for more options or which of these would be best?
posted by rooftop secrets at 10:06 AM on March 28, 2008

1) I live in North County and wouldn't even consider the daily drive if I had to work in LA. You are brave to consider it, considering a lot of the congestion is just getting out of South County. By flexible hours I guess you mean you won't be driving in daylight on either leg of the commute...

2) My Brother in Law lived in Laguna Niguel and commuted daily to LA via Metrolink for several years in the 90's. He told me that the cost was easily offset by the time and sanity saved. I can't comment on 3G or Wireless connectivty.

Does the second part of 3) exist?

4) sounds like a money making opportunity and a problem solver.

5) meh...
posted by tdischino at 10:21 AM on March 28, 2008

1) forget it. the 405 is hell all day long until about 8 or even 9pm. you will drive yourself nuts before you get anywhere.

2) getting from union station to santa monica is not going to happen on a daily basis without massive time investments. on public transit that's gonna take an hour, perhaps two. try the commute on a monday morning and you will see.

3) cheap cheap places in LA are rare but this could work.

4) this sounds like a winner but east of downtown is FAR from santa monica. the 10 freeway is just as hellish as the 405, 710 and every other freeway in town. downtown to SM will take you an hour by car at 9am. you think I'm kidding but I'm not.

5) why would you do this? it's not cost-effective at all.

consider selling your home?
posted by krautland at 10:52 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I work with someone who uses metrolink to commute from OC to North Hollywood, and he has to leave the office at 5 PM in order to get to the subway and ride to Union Station to catch the last train. The metrolink schedule could be called commuter hostile with their schedule. For my colleague, it's nearly a 3-hour commute each way, and I'm also not sure about the 3G connectivity.

If there's any way you can do it, move as close as you can to your place of employment. I live 500 feet from my office and my commute is a ten-minute walk. If I had to put a dollar value on the convenience, I'd say it's worth $10k per year easily. This is on top of what I save in gas (getting more expensive by the minute), wear and tear on my vehicle, and my sanity.
posted by mullingitover at 10:55 AM on March 28, 2008

Santa Monica and Burbank both have airports. :)

It's been over 6 years since the last time I lived in So Cal and my impression then was that you might make your driving commute bearable by leaving after 10:30 or so and coming home after 8. But on my visit last September, traffic seemed worse than I remembered, and you know that there's already a lot of people doing the OC-LA commute (and you're probably going to be doing the 405 or the 5, which are particularly bad), and that's a lot of your life to spend driving.

Rail plus something else (car, bike, bus, walking) may work for you. Mess around with a trip planner and see what can be done.

But I think #4 or #5 sound like the best options until you actually have the job you're looking for and can evaluate the price of places nearby vs the value of being close. I know that LA is a pricey pricey place to live, but really, Orange County isn't exactly cheap, and I think it's possible that a good job would make it worth your time to live close even if your housing costs went up.
posted by weston at 12:03 PM on March 28, 2008

For a time I commuted from Rancho Santa Margarita to Pasadena/Burbank and the only reliable way I found to get to work on time was to shower at night and leave my house at about 5 in the morning.

Of the options you've proposed 5 seems to solve the problem without any drastic life changes. But I can't help but want to offer 6) Look for job in OC.
posted by The Gooch at 1:48 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

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