Oy the commute! From Saratoga to Mountain View
April 16, 2008 12:26 PM   Subscribe

My fiance and I like Saratoga and Los Gatos. He works in Mountain View off 101/Shoreline. He'd like no more than a 25 minute commute. He works normal 9-5 hours generally. Google maps indicates that this commute could be done in less than 30 minutes even with traffic. He's extremely skeptical. He's tried testing the drive, but on those days he's done the drive he's felt traffic was unusually light. (Usually there are backups on 101, but on the days he tried driving the commute 101 was flowing like water). So is there anyone out there who has done this commute who can provide a realistic picture of what it would be like? Thank you!
posted by bananafish to Travel & Transportation around Saratoga, CA (7 answers total)
Try SigAlert instead.

SigAlert Route Finder

I did San Mateo for both cities, and then did 17N at Saratoga to 101N at Shoreline. They'll give you three routes with time estimates. You can check at various times of the day to get real time traffic info and speeds on the traffic tab. Then can determine the average commute duration.
posted by Nerro at 1:34 PM on April 16, 2008

I live in Los Gatos, and get on the freeway each morning at 17/Highway-9, getting off at 85/Shoreline (Should never have to touch 101 if you're exiting at Shoreline, there's a flyover).

Functionally, it's about 25-30 minutes in the morning. Usually a bit more frustrating going south in the afternoon 30-35 min @ 5-6 PM. ~15-20 min without traffic.

The worst trip I've ever had was ~50 minutes, but that involved two accidents, and a double-lane closure. The slow spots on 85 are highly variable based on day-of-week and time-of-day, and unless you're in the carpool lane 85 is a very frustrating drive... but I think the quality of life in LG is worth it.

(For objective info, also try 511.org. It has a horrible interface that only a gov't agency could love... but has good source info, and allows you to view alternate route timings and such)
posted by zeypher at 1:56 PM on April 16, 2008

God, 17 is fine if it's moving, but is notoriously bad if there's an accident. Like pack a lunch bad.
posted by Gucky at 2:02 PM on April 16, 2008

Last commuted that route (up 85 to MTV/Shoreline) a couple of years back but I'd ditto that 30 minutes is mostly right; there are bad days, though, and the trip back south is more often clogged than the trip north -- 85 south can become a parking lot.
posted by anadem at 2:15 PM on April 16, 2008

What time you leave has a pretty big impact on the amount of time it takes. The later it is, the longer it'll take. If he can have flexible hours and get in a little earlier, the commute will be better by 10-20 minutes on most days. Earlier afternoon commutes are definitely better, too (barring accidents, of course).
posted by doubtful_guest at 2:59 PM on April 16, 2008

Surface streets might be quicker - like Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd. to Central Expressway to Middlefield. It depends on whether you want to drive before 8 am when there's heavy traffic around every school in the area.
posted by jet_silver at 4:01 PM on April 16, 2008

I used to commute from Mountain View (El Camino) to Saratoga via 85. Admittedly, it was a reverse commute to what you're looking at, but I could do it in 17 minutes door-to-door consistently.
posted by plinth at 5:57 PM on April 16, 2008

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