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3 hour commute each way


Carol in Cal.
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Life for renters squeezed out of the San Francisco/Bay Area housing market, where an $80K annual income is not enough to live close to your job.  This is so tough, and doesn't seem sustainable to me.

 

OTOH, I'm glad the Central Valley is coming back a bit.  I thought we were headed for a ghost town situation there.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/business/economy/san-francisco-commute.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

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When I lived/work in Silicon Valley (late '80s - mid-90s), it was becoming common for people to live in cities like Modesto and drive in to Sunnyvale, Mtn View, daily.  

 

I remember one family - I worked with the wife/mom - that started their drive at 3am.   The sleeping kids were loaded into the car in their pajamas and taken to daycare or school. The parents would work from 6-3 or so, then start back before the traffic got too bad.  At that time, extended hours/overtime was expected of people; I remember coworkers struggling to get out of work on time to get home at a reasonable hour.  

 

We moved away from that area in 1998.  Old friends from work that I kept in touch with told me it got much worse than that for some time after I left.  

 

Then, in 2008, it all changed.  People told me it was like a ghost town then.  I guess it's changing back now?

 

ETA:  I just looked up the house we lived in.  My parents bought it in 1972 for around $40,000. (My husband and I bought it from our mother after we got married.)  Zillow says it is worth over a million now.  It's an OK house, there are only 2 bathrooms, one on the main floor but that is accessed through the master bedroom, so very inconvenient for guests. It's on a hillside, so it has a nice view. But it's in a terrible school district. 

Edited by marbel
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Saw the local news quoted below a few days ago. My husband's employer has company bus pickup service from Morgan Hill and Santa Cruz so that people could afford to buy a townhome on an engineer's pay. Facebook and Google are planning employee housing.

 

When we had $80k in gross pay, the take home after insurance, tax, SS, SSDI was close to $50k. Rent/mortgage literally wipe out most of the take home pay. My neighbor's one bedroom condo just sold for $650k and my zip code is on the lower end.

 

"That striking bit of news comes from a second-quarter report by the California Association of Realtors. It shows that a minimum income of $90,370 was required five years ago to purchase a median-priced single-family home of $447,970 in the nine-county Bay Area. Today, in the wake of substantial job growth, particularly in the tech industry, the minimum necessary income has climbed to $179,390 while the median price has ratcheted up to $895,000 for the region.

 

But while that $179,390 might get you something in Alameda County (where the median home price is $880,000) or Solano County ($412,000), it’s not likely to get you anything in San Francisco ($1,450,000), San Mateo County ($1,469,000) or Santa Clara County ($1,183,440)." http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/11/bay-area-real-estate-to-buy-a-median-priced-home-you-now-need-income-over-179000/

 

ETA:

I am seeing more RVs permanently parallel parked in Mountain View and Palo Alto then in previous years.

Edited by Arcadia
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This is why I strongly believe that high-speed rail should start with the Central Valley cities like Tracy/Modesto/Stockton to San Francisco and San Jose rather than the "train to nowhere" between Bakersfield and Madera. Yes, it would be more expensive but it would be a real boon to the Bay Area.

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When my family lived in the Northern VA area, there were some families my dad worked with at the Pentagon that had a 2 hour commute each way.  I would have hated that.  I would hardly have seen my dad.  

 

I know I had a friend that worked for a car manufacturer in Detroit.  So did her husband.  They worked on opposite ends, though, and worked different hours so they had to take different routes to and from work.  They were in their separate cars roughly 4 hours a day (2 each way) so they could live in an affordable house and they couldn't even ride to and from work together.  

 

I just don't know how people do that.  3 hours is insane.  I feel for anyone who feels this is their only choice.

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This is why I strongly believe that high-speed rail should start with the Central Valley cities like Tracy/Modesto/Stockton to San Francisco and San Jose rather than the "train to nowhere" between Bakersfield and Madera. Yes, it would be more expensive but it would be a real boon to the Bay Area.

But they need to start with density. 

 

I'm not even an environmentalist, but the lack of density there drives me CRAZY when I visit. And people I know who defend it do so in the name of environmentalism. 

 

Emily

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DH commuted 1 1/2 - 2 hours one way for about 12 years. I can't imagine adding 2+ hours daily to that. Part of the reason we are currently low income is because he took a job, any job, in order to work closer to home - the commute was wreaking havoc on his body physically and mentally.

Edited by beckyjo
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This is why I am angry that our tax dollars are not being invested in high speed rail between major cities. We should have one right here in Michigan connecting Detroit, Ann Arbor,  and Chicago with a few points in between. As it is, it is slow boat train that has to stop constantly for freight trains that have the right of way. So it is about six hours from our closest station (which is 40 minutes away) to Chicago. I can drive it in five!

 

High speed rail would allow commuters to have a life besides driving, working, and sleeping only.

 

When dh's work remote contract expires in May 2018, his employer is not going to renew it even though they are pretty desperate to keep him because he is the last person in the company that has such an arrangement, and they don't want to deal with a policy that isn't enforced to one, last remaining employee. I can't move due to the elderly grandmothers not being able to afford a higher cost of living. So he has to live in 85 miles from home because at his age he is tiring so much more easily. Two hours each way isn't sustainable for him in the long term. We have arranged for him to rent a bedroom/bath suite from a co-worker in the area whose kids are all grown so they have more house than they actually need. It is the best we can do. He will get up Monday morning and drive the two hours to work, stay until Friday 4 p.m., then drive home and spend Fri, Sat, and Sun nights with me. We'll have to maintain that until he can retire from the rat race or the elderly grandmothers go to nursing homes or pass away so that I am not trying to maintain two residences besides my own, and run two women to all of their medical appointments that are more than twenty miles from home since neither is capable of driving heavy traffic or long distances any more.

 

Three hours each way makes for a fourteen hour day IF the employee can manage a strict eight hour work day which is not easy in this day and age. That leaves ten hours. If eight of it is devoted to sleeping - and let's face it, it better be because on a commute schedule like that being sleep deprived is terribly dangerous - that leaves two hours for family. If the kids go to bed at 8 p.m. for school and you aren't home until 7 p.m., then an hour with children, and hour without then bed. No f

 

Boy if they ever invent the hover car (Back to the Future) that will be a happy day for many people! 

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But they need to start with density. 

 

I'm not even an environmentalist, but the lack of density there drives me CRAZY when I visit. And people I know who defend it do so in the name of environmentalism. 

 

Emily

 

I agree but it should be a both-and rather than an either-or. I support building more housing units AND high-speed rail to the Central Valley. 1 & 2 BR flats in a high-rise are great for singles and childless couples but they're not going to be the solution for families with children.

 

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 We have arranged for him to rent a bedroom/bath suite from a co-worker in the area whose kids are all grown so they have more house than they actually need. It is the best we can do. He will get up Monday morning and drive the two hours to work, stay until Friday 4 p.m., then drive home and spend Fri, Sat, and Sun nights with me.

 

We know people who do this.  There are lots of ways.

 

One single guy belonged to a big mega church and did house sitting in SV during the week while he built a home out in the Sierra foothills on weekends.  People paid him to live here, and he was basically 'homesteading' on weekends.

 

There are a couple of people who have set up campers near the big tech 'campusses' either in the parking lots or on the streets nearby, and go home to their families on weekends. 

 

And one guy has a tiny house here, and he and his SAHW and three kids drive in very early every Monday.  The kids go to school here and he works.  On Fridays he gets to work really early so he can leave early, and they head out to some land they own about 2 1/2 hours away, where they are building up to being able to live fulltime once they get some income coming off of it.  He is so energetic--I could not keep up his pace, no way.

 

And there are those who rent out rooms here in town to tech workers who agree not to be around on weekends. 

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This is crazy, and wrong. People should be able to afford housing at least reasonably near where they work.

 

The article was about a woman making $80k a year, and I'm curious what the situation is like for people in jobs like retail or food service, earning significantly less than $80k. Are those jobs only filled by people who are living for free with their parents or someone else?

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This is crazy, and wrong. People should be able to afford housing at least reasonably near where they work.

 

The article was about a woman making $80k a year, and I'm curious what the situation is like for people in jobs like retail or food service, earning significantly less than $80k. Are those jobs only filled by people who are living for free with their parents or someone else?

 

They are very crowded where they live. 

Like, a woman and her two children living in one room of an SRO place.

Or an extended family all piled into a very small two bedroom apartment, vulnerable to being evicted because of overuse (the law says two people per bedroom plus one, I believe, so that would be 5 in a two bedroom otherwise the landlord can call it overcrowded.)

 

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The article was about a woman making $80k a year, and I'm curious what the situation is like for people in jobs like retail or food service, earning significantly less than $80k. Are those jobs only filled by people who are living for free with their parents or someone else?

Locally Panda Express hires many college students, especially evenings and weekends. You can hear them talking about tests and assignments and their college. McDonald's, BK and Taco Bell tend to have more ladies my age with their kids in school and husband also working. They pay around $14-17 per hour.

Target locally used to have lots of high school and college students before the recession. Then I see mostly ladies in their 30s-50s. Nowadays I see some college students but I don't remember seeing any high school students. The high school students would be talking about college admission applications and high school classes and AP exams while doing the bagging at the cashier counters.

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My Dad was doing this back in the 80's-90's. We lived in the Central Valley (not too far from Stockton) and he worked in the Bay Area. 2.5 hour commute. He worked out a deal with his employer where he worked Mon,Tues, Thurs, Fri, home Wed and weekends, and sleeping in his office Mon and Thurs nights.

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They are very crowded where they live.

Like, a woman and her two children living in one room of an SRO place.

Or an extended family all piled into a very small two bedroom apartment, vulnerable to being evicted because of overuse (the law says two people per bedroom plus one, I believe, so that would be 5 in a two bedroom otherwise the landlord can call it overcrowded.)

I don't know what an SRO place is.

 

And yeah, it's not right for people to not be able to afford (safe, legal) housing near where they work.

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The article was about a woman making $80k a year, and I'm curious what the situation is like for people in jobs like retail or food service, earning significantly less than $80k. Are those jobs only filled by people who are living for free with their parents or someone else?

 

You get situations like 10 adults crowding into a single apartment. Sadly way too common in these areas.

 

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