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Berkeley is a compact city measuring roughly 4 miles across and 3 miles long. Most Berkeley residents own cars, but many do not and opt instead to use public transit and bicycles to get around. Although a car will save one some travel time, nearly every point of interest within Berkeley and its surrounding communities can be reached by public transit any day of the week, including holidays.
BART is a rapid transit system serving Berkeley and the entire Bay Area. BART operates as a subway through Berkeley and has 3 underground stations--Ashby (to the south), downtown Berkeley (simply called "Berkeley" on station signs), and North Berkeley. BART offers convenient train service to many regional destinations, such as Union Square in San Francisco, as well as service to both local airports (Oakland and San Francisco).
AC Transit is the primary bus operator within Berkeley and the East Bay area. Most routes converge in downtown, with daily bus connections here to: Amtrak's Berkeley station (Route 51B trips terminating at the station), Berkeley Marina (Route 51B trips terminating at the marina), the Gourmet Ghetto restaurant district (Routes 7 and 18), Greyhound bus depot in Oakland (Route 18), Lawrence Hall of Science (Route 65), downtown Oakland (Route 18), Oakland's Rockridge business district (Routes 49 and 51B), downtown San Francisco (Route F), and the Telegraph Avenue business district (Routes 1 and 1R). Tilden Regional Park is accessible via Route 67 on weekends.AC Transit provides extensive peak period bus service to/from San Francisco on weekdays in addition to Route F. Routes E, FS, G, H, and J pick up at various points throughout the city and take passengers to San Francisco in the morning, returning in the afternoon and early evening hours. Route Z operates in the reverse direction, taking passengers to Berkeley in the morning, returning to San Francisco in the afternoon.
Late night and early morning bus service is available via Routes 800, 802, and 851. Route 800 operates between San Francisco, Oakland, and points north, while Routes 802 and 851 stay within the East Bay. There is no late-night and early morning BART service, so use these "All Nighter" routes instead.
UC Berkeley provides shuttle bus service known as Bear Transit in and around the campus, which is situated on the east side of downtown Berkeley. Most shuttles provide connections to the downtown Berkeley BART station, as well as numerous AC Transit bus routes.
Berkeley has several "bicycle boulevards" criss-crossing town, providing bicycle-friendly streets that make getting around by bike relatively easy. Milvia Street, which runs parallel to and between Shattuck Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, is a notable north-south bicycle boulevard. Elsewhere, the Ohlone Greenway provides a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian path (no cars) from Hearst Avenue, near the North Berkeley BART station, northwest to the city limit with Albany. The Ohlone Greenway continues north through Albany and El Cerrito and ends in Richmond.
On the west side of Berkeley, the bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Interstate 80 near University Avenue provides an easy way to reach the Marina and several bayfront trails without many automobile conflicts. Because of the topography in and around the UC Berkeley campus, walking is more popular than bicycle riding. In fact, the campus itself has some separate bicycle and pedestrian facilties to make campus navigation easy and safe for both walkers and bicyclists.
Car travel is particularly useful if one wants to save time while traveling around Berkeley and its surrounding communities. Berkeley is served by Interstate 80 and is a short distance from Interstates 580, 880, and 980 and State Route (SR) 24. I-80 continues southwest to San Francisco via the Bay Bridge and northeast to Sacramento, while I-880 provides access to Oakland International Airport and San Jose. I-580 continues southeast to the Central Valley, with a connection to Los Angeles via I-5. I-980 is a short freeway providing access to downtown Oakland. I-980 turns into SR 24 at the junction with I-580 and continues east through the Caldecott Tunnel to Walnut Creek and the far eastern areas of the San Francisco Bay Area.
The primary east-west surfaces streets are Ashby Avenue, University Avenue, and Gilman Street. All 3 roads connect with I-80 on the west side of town, while Ashby also connects with SR 24 east of town. The primary north-south surface streets are San Pablo Avenue, Sacramento Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Shattuck Avenue, and Telegraph Avenue. All of these streets continue south to Oakland. Martin Luther King Jr. Way also connects with I-580 and I-980 in Oakland.
Parking in Berkeley can be difficult depending on the location and time of day. There are a handful of parking garages and public parking lots downtown, but metered street parking is most prevalent. Metered street parking also exists in most business districts, and several residential neighborhoods have weekday permit parking zones that limit the amount of time non-residents can park while visiting. Meters are not enforced on Sundays or during the evening. Parking is available at the North Berkeley and Ashby BART stations, but lots often fill to capacity by 8 AM on weekdays. Parking at the North Berkeley BART station is not difficult on weekends, but a weekend flea market and ongoing construction closings at the Ashby station limit the amount of parking spaces available any day of the week.