Home Buying in Walnut Creek>Question Details

farhad.billi…, Home Buyer in Sacramento, CA

Are Walnut Creek & Lafayette safe, family friendly areas to live in?

Asked by farhad.billimoria, Sacramento, CA Mon Oct 1, 2012

Hi, we are a young couple (no kids yet..) I wanted to know which of areas in Contra Costa are the more family-friendly, safe areas to buy a house in? Walnut Creek, Lafayette etc. Also does anyone know what a typical commute time would be from those areas to San Jose? Thanks.

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Joe’s answer

In your case, I think Danville is your best bet. The drive just between Walnut Creek and Danville during commute time is something to consider. The closer you can get to SJ, the better. Danville has much better schools than Walnut Creek, yet only 10-15 mins away if you needed to go shopping at Neiman Marcus or eat at Cheesecake Factory for whatever reason. Lafayette is more rural than Danville or Walnut Creek. Danville/San Ramon has a much newer housing stock than Walnut Creek so you'll have less "fixer-upper" problems and some people accuse these 2 cities of having too many cookie-cutter "McHouses". San Ramon has a high Indian population and I'm guessing that they work in Silicon Valley. Walnut Creek is politically the most liberal of the cities, being open minded about gays and minorities, yet is conservative enough to hold a pro-Mesherle rally at the same time Oakland held an anti-Mesherle rally.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 11, 2012

Absolutely! The LaMorinda area (Lafayette, Orinda and Moraga) as well as Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville and San Ramon, are all very safe and prestigious. Typically, San Jose commuters will go as far north as San Ramon, which is about an hour commute along 680. Many commuters from that area settle in Pleasanton, and Dublin as well. I'd be happy to send you more information if you are interested. Good Luck. Michelle Reese, Better Homes & Gardens/Mason McDuffie 4michellereese@gmail.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
It is rare to find sidewalks in Lafayette. So if you envision your future children going trick or treating to the neighbors, it may be safer and easier to walk on a sidewalk than a rocky drainage ditch. Most of Walnut Creek has sidewalks.

Both cities have very good law abiding residents. The trouble-makers come in from Pittsburg and parts of depressed Concord such as Monument Blvd. area. Walnut Creek police have a reputation for being very strict and the criminals know that.

Lafayette has a much better school system than Walnut Creek. Walnut Creek schools are strangely divided into 2 school systems. One part of Walnut Creek falls under the Walnut Creek school system. The other 1/2 of Walnut Creek shares the same school system as Pittsburg, Antioch, Concord, etc. The Walnut Creek school district is much wealthier than the Mt. Diablo School District, which by most accounts, is already bankrupt.

The Walnut Creek Bart station is poorly designed (1970's?) and is quite small so if you arrive after 7am, you won't find a parking space and will be forced to drive to the Pleasant Hill Bart station. Lafayette Bart is even smaller and does not covered parking so your car will bake in the summer sun.

Pleasant Hill is lower priced and is a very nice family community. Concord is more multicultural and they downtown is mainly Hispanic. Walnut Creek is "WASPY".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 11, 2012
Q: I wanted to know which of areas in Contra Costa are the more family-friendly, safe areas to buy a house in? Walnut Creek, Lafayette etc.

A: Overall, Realtors are prohibited by law from telling you whether or not any specific neighborhood is safe. It’s called “steering” and we are prohibited by our code of ethics and federal law from providing such information. Here are a couple posts that explain more:

NO STEERING ALLOWED: 3 Important Facts To Know As A Buyer

Don’t Get ‘Steered’ in the Wrong Direction…

However, we CAN tell you where to go to get information. In your case, for crime statistics, go to the following sites:


Q: Also does anyone know what a typical commute time would be from those areas to San Jose?
A: It obviously depends on what part of San Jose you want to go to – a typical trip from downtown Walnut Creek to downtown San Jose will take you 55 minutes if there is no traffic at all – think 3:00 am. Otherwise, you will be going through 2 of the worst commute areas in the Bay Area. If you have ever tried driving I-80 from Sacramento to Davis on a Friday afternoon at 5:00 pm, you will have some idea of the traffic density. Now picture that for over 50 miles … It’s horrific. Since the I-680 corridor is on one side of the hills and San Jose is on the other, you have to transition through the hills to get there – there are only 3 practical ways through the hills between Walnut Creek and San Jose (CA-24, I-580, I-680) – and all the traffic headed into the East and South Bay Areas go through those points. It could easily take you 2 hours during rush hour.

Although the Walnut Creek/LaMorinda area is very nice (consider that it gets VERY hot compared to many other parts of the Bay Area), if you plan on frequenting San Jose, you may want to consider Pleasanton or Fremont. Both have great schools and your commute will be less than half what it would be from the Walnut Creek area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
Hi Farhad.

Walnut Creek and Lafayette are fantastic family-friendly communities within Contra Costa County. You are going to have about an hour drive south down the 680 to get to San Jose. Many people will also look into Pleasanton, Dublin and San Ramon as they are a bit closer to San Jose for communting. Lafayette, Moraga & Orinda all offer top-notch schools, recreation, shopping and a variety of housing styles. Our office sits in the heart of downtown Lafayette, which has excellent shopping, housing, recreation and dining options. Walnut Creek is a little bit larger than the LaMorinda area, but boasts a large shopping area called Broadway Plaza and good schools as well. It too has many different neighborhoods and parts of the city to consider purchasing in.

There is much to consider when purchasing a home in our county. Feel free to reach out if you would like more information.

Bryce Schumacher
Pacific Union International
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 2, 2012
Yes, both of these are great places to live and very family-friendly although quite different. Lafayete is mor "villagey" although not so much as it used to be, while Walnut Creek is a real city with big city shops and conveniences. They are only 10 minutes apart though.

A commiute from Lafayette to San Jose could get wearning on a daily basis. Somewhere like Danville or Pleasanton may be worth considering. These, too, are great places to live. A little more affordable than Lafayette as well.

I have lived in Danville, San Ramon and now, Walnut Creek. The big attraction of Danville, to many, is the attractive downtown. And if you like good restaurants you will be spoiled for choice in all of the places mentioned.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 2, 2012
Hi, Walnut Creek and Lafayette are one of the best area to live in and raise a family, so is the whole central Contra Costa.
They are safe communities with very good schools. That does mean nothing ever happend. Both cities have many parks and surrounded with open spaces
Typical commute to San Jose area is about 45-55 minutes from Walnut Creek and 50 -55 minutes from Lafayette.
I don't Think you can go wrong by buying in Walnut Creek , Lafayette, Orinda , Danville or Alamo.

But Walnut Creek is the bigger city with beautiful downtown ,shops, restaurants, parks and centrally located.
I know Walnut Creek and the surrounding area very well.
I would love to assist you further when you are ready.

You can Always check with the police department for additional information.
Please feel free to call 925-938-4000 or 925-852-3132. Thanks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
Central Contra Costa is typically safe and a great place for families since the majority of the residents are families with children. You can always check the local police departments if you want to know the actual data. The typical commute from Walnut Creek to San Jose is an hour at least each way and could be more during heavy commute hours and during the rainy season. Good luck on your search and if you need any more specific answers plese feel free to call me at 925-200-0073.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
Hi there, I am a realtor that works that corridor. The vary depending upon time of day and location within San Jose.
There are some beautiful communities in Danville, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek and Lafayette. All of these are located in safe, family oriented and great rated schools. To San Jose, Pleasanton is the closest then Danville, Walnut Creek and the furthest is Lafayette.
Let me know if you would like additional information.

Mary Anne LaHaye
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
Both are absolutely lovely middle class suburbs. I am quite sure that the commute time is going to depend on the day/time,/accidents, etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
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