Hi Brb and thanks for your post.
Having lived in Los Altos, I can vouch for the fact that Foothill Expressway is the main "commute" route through the town, and, as such, traffic is pretty constant along the roadway during the daytime. At night, the traffic is reduced, but there is still traffic.
Now as to what is considered "bad" traffic noise, that's strictly a matter of personal opinion. I now live near Highway 85--a very busy freeway, but the soundwall that rises near my home and the double paned windows in each room helps to deflect a lot of the noise along the road. Still I do hear the larger trucks or the occasional speeding motorcycle on the freeway, but this is actually acceptable to me since, frankly, I can (and have) slept through loud windstorms and earthquakes and my son's electric guitar sessions, so noise is not a huge issue for me or the family. I've also noticed that humans are remarkably adaptable in "filtering" noise over time, so that after a while, you don't seem to notice the sounds at all.
For many, however, hearing the noise from even a well used interior street can be problematic, so if you are sensitive to noise or feel uncomfortable with the traffic and exhaust in the area, a home located near a well traveled section of roadway, like Foothill Expressway, might be a situation that requires further research and contemplation before acting.
The best thing to do is to go to the home with your agent and review the sound levels at all times of the day--morning, evening, weekends to see if these are acceptable to you. Do keep in mind that being located near the Foothill Expressway will cause some price depression in the home value, but you will still be privy to the many other wonderful benefits of living in Los Altos.
Work with your Realtor to evaluate this home further before making a decision!
Allison James Estates & Homes
Buyer Rebates to 1.5% of the Sales Price and Low Cost Listings to Sellers
Tel (408) 426-1616