Or, if you really want to relax on your way to work, we often drive the 5 miles to the Larkspur Landing Ferry Terminal (plenty of free parking) and ride the ferry across the bay to the San Francisco Ferry Building at the end of Market Street. We get our exercise and enjoy a wonderful view of the sun setting behind the Golden Gate bridge on the way home (an awesome experience if you had a stressful day).
If you must drive into the city you'll find the ride in better than most but the drive home can be awful (unless you can car pool) so in that situation you would want to try flex hours so you can leave early or arrive later. However, I do not think it is worse than other bay area locations.
I find it interesting that so many First time Marin house hunters start out in Mill Valley but end up in Fairfax and San Anselmo as they adjust their expectations. Often, commuters find innovative ways to either avoid the five day commute or adjust it. Some begin to work at home a day or two a week. Others, take the ferry via bike. My husband commuted by bike regularly and enjoyed the comaraderie that he developed over the years. He still commutes and we actually live further out in the back of Sleepy Hollow.
So, is it a good idea? How much do you value a vibrant community in which many of your neighbors are often out and about on foot and bike with their kids and dogs? How much do you value great schools with lots of parent participation? It is a trade off. But, don't be surprised to find yourself living in Fairfax, delighted with your move and the proud owner of a commuter bike!
I did it for 7 years. Outside of commute hours, the bus schedule is horrid. And the cost is surprisingly high compared to MUNI... when I relocated back in 1988, I'd been paying $35/month for a Fast Pass; the bus fare was $10 a day!
All of that being said, if your schedule is regular, if you don't have unexpected changes to your hours, taking the bus can be relaxing. I used to read a lot on the bus, or I'd sleep.
Bottom line: If you love where you live, you won't mind the commute.
That question depends on, first of all, what time of the day will you be commuting into SF?
If you are going in during "normal" business commute times, I won't kid you the traffic definitely backs up, mainly before the San Anselmo hub, after that you can either head down Redhill Blvd (towards San Rafael off 101) which is actually a quicker commute as opposed to on Sir Francis Drake (Greenbrae exit of 101). THe distance is closer to the 101 (meaning less surface roads) even though you are 2 exits north on 101. The traffic lights are timed and the street is one-way, which really speeds things up.
If you are commuting during off hours, the drive isn't bad, I would say you could get into and out of SF in about 25-30 minutes. During commute times, I'd say 45 - 60 minutes. That's into SF. That doesn't account for the time it might take you within SF to get to your destination.
I would estimate commute times to be: am: 7:00 - 8:30, and evenings, 4:30 - 6:30.
If you were to look in San Anselmo, especially homes that are located before the "Hub" intersection, you could cut 15 minutes off your commute time if it's during commute hours.
Fairfax is a wonderful community, I'd recommend talking to folks who live there and commute and ask them directly! I'm happy to get you in touch with folks if you like, just let me know. (As I live in San Rafael)
Hope that helps!
If the commute looks too much check out the community/neighborhood flavors south and west.
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