Getting to Stanford Computer Science

Getting to the Computer Science Department on Campus

Updated February 2008 with current Caltrain fares and Bart connection changes.

The Stanford Computer Science Department is loacated in the Gates Information Science Building. To locate the building (and other Stanford sites) on campus use any of these four maps:

  1. Searchable Map to locate Gates Info Sciences, Type in "Gates". Also shows names of adjacent buildings. It is oriented true North up, but since the San Francisco Peninsula bends south-east, it appears to be logical East up. Palo Alto is to the top right and El Camino runs top-left (SF) to center-right (SJ)).
  2. Stanford University map (pdf); the Gates building is in square C2, at the 90 degree curve of Campus Drive (it is also oriented logical East up -- El Camino runs top-left (SF) to center-right (SJ)).
  3. simplified Stanford map with Gates building (Ascii html) and parking indicated (oriented facing campus from the CalTrain station and Palo Alto, i.e., logical West up -- El Camino runs right (SJ) to left (SF)).
  4. Stanford Parking map (pdf, huge -- 2.25 Mbytes) (oriented actual north up).
If you wish to park have many quarters (6/hour) or wait till 4:00pm, when parking becomes unrestricted. Details about Parking Fees at Stanford.
There are frequent free `Marguerite' shuttle buses on Campus. The A-line, the C-line (both 6:00am to 8:30pm), and the noon-time DT line go in front of Gates. The B-line has a stop 1 block away at Ortega and Campus Drive. The nearest stop of the M-line (runs after 8:30pm) is at the Medical Center at Roth Way. There is fairly good public transportation to Stanford, especially from San Francisco.

Getting to Stanford

Stanford University is located just West of Palo Alto between San Francisco (SF) and San Jose (SJ) on the San Francisco peninsula. The boundary of Palo Alto downtown and Stanford is the Caltrain Rail road line and El Camino Real (CA highway 82). El Camino is the major local north-south road, turning more west-east at Stanford. Parallel freeways are IS 280 to the west and US 101 to the east.

Driving and Maps

Stanford is situated about 30 miles (~50 min) south of San Francisco and 20 miles (~35 min) north of San Jose; between the I280 freeway to the west and the US 101 Freeway to the east. At rush hour driving times may be 50% longer. El Camino Real (CA 82), between those two freeways, passes by the main (north-east) entry to Stanford Campus at Palo Alto; another local road combination: Alameda de los Pulgas (north), Junipero Serra (at Stanford), and Foothill Express way(south) passes at the rear (south-west side) of Campus. University avenue and Embarcadero Road provide (slow) access from US101, Alpine and Page Mill roads provide access from I280.

Global map of the Bay Area (html with gifs) (oriented actual north up -- El Camino runs up-left from San Francisco to down-right for San Jose), with
Palo Alto / Stanford overview (html and jpeg) (oriented logical north up -- El Camino runs up (SF) to down (SJ)).
Other Palo Alto Maps.

Public Transportation

There is relatively good public transportation in the Bay Area. Best check agency schedules if times are critical -- they change often.

Train and Connections

Updated to 3 March 2008 Caltrain schedule.

Caltrain operates from San Francisco down the S.F. Peninsula to Palo Alto, weekdays at least twice per hour from 4:55 am to 6:56 pm and then at 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:30pm, 10:30pm, and 12:01 (midnight). During the middle of the day departures from San Francisco are at 7 and 37 minutes past the hour.
From Palo Alto trains go to San Francisco 5:01am to 7:21pm and then hourly at 8:01pm, 9:01pm, 10:01pm, and 11:01 pm. During the middle of the day departures from Palo Alto are at 11 and 41 minutes past the hour.
There are additional fast -- Baby Bullets -- trains from San Francisco to Palo Alto at 7:14am, 8:14am and 4:09pm, 4:33pm, 5:14pm, 5:33pm, 6;14pm, and 6:33pm.
Baby Bullet trains to San Francisco leave Palo Alto at 6:05, 6:23, 7:05, 7:23, 8:05, 8:23 am and 5:06, 6:06 pm. There are also Baby Bullet trains mornings to and evenings from Menlo Park on a similar schedule.

On weekends trains leave from San Francisco on the hour 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and on midnight Saturday; from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm only on Sunday.
From Palo Alto trains go north hourly 7:31 am to 8:31 pm and at 11.01 pm Saturdays; from 8:31 am to 9:31 pm Sundays. There are no Baby Bullet trains on weekends.

Between San Francisco and Palo Alto it takes 51 - 60 min., on Baby Bullet trains 37 minutes, the cost always $5.75 for adults. Trains south from Palo Alto stop in Mountain View (10 - 7 mins), Santa Clara and the San Jose airport shuttle (30 mins, not an express stop), and San Jose (35 - 22 mins, $4.00 from Palo Alto). Some commute trains go on to Gilroy. For details see the Interactive map.

The free Stanford Marguerite shuttle bus meets each weekday train in Palo Alto to 8:30pm, during the academic year to 1:30am (past midnight) -- 2:30am weekends.

Connections to SFO and SJC airports, San Francisco, and beyond

Caltrain connects with other Services. (updated Feb. 2008) The connection to San Francisco airport (SFO) became more awkward after January of 2008. You first take the train from Palo Alto to Millbrae (30 - 20 min, $4.00). Millbrae is very close to the airport, but you can't count on taxis waiting there. So then it is best to take SFO site is not detailed, so it is best to check on the BART site. There are also BART services from Milbrae and from SFO to San Francisco and points beyond, including Berkeley, every 15/20 minutes, to midnight.

Once in San Francisco there is a bus (#47) and streetcar service (N and T) at the Caltrain station at Townsend and 4th streets. The #47 bus goes south from the station to Civic Center, up van Ness Avenue and then a bit east to Fisherman's wharf. The N-line goes North. past PacBell park to the Ferry building, and then underground south on Market, past the Civic Center, emerges at Noe near Castro and then goes west via UCSF, parallel to Golden Gate Park, ending at the beach. The T-line terminates at Castro.
Connecting from the N and T lines at Market street and Embracadero to the historic F trams on the surface gets you also to Fisherman's wharf. Cable car connections are on Market at California and, the major one, at Powell. Real time Muni information) is available on-line and cell phones.

The BART train from Millbrae also goes on to Berkeley downtown, a block from the UC campus. It terminates in Richmond, where BART has a connection to Amtrak trains to Sacramento and the San Joaqin valley, up to Bakersfield.

To the south of Palo Alto there is a frequent free shuttle bus from the San Jose airport (SJC) from and to the Santa Clara train station, on the SJC web page look under `ground transportation', `rail service', `Rails to Wings'.
The Montain View Caltrain station is next to the terminus of the A HREF="" target="_blank">San Jose's light rail system. The light rail goes every 15 mins to the Santa Clara Convention Center at Great America park (28 mins), to Milpitas (40 mins), or with a change at BayPointe to downtown San Jose (66 mins total), with its hotels and convention center, up to Santa Teresa (90 mins total). On weekdays there connections at Ohlone to Almaden (90 mins total).

The Stanford Marguerite C line goes every 30 minutes to California street and the Caltrain Station there. The Marguerite U line provides a commuter time connection to the East Bay's Fremont BART and Amtrak stations.

Local Buses

Most buses stop at or near the Palo Alto train station, and from there the Marguerite Zoomable Map, oriented logical East down -- El Camino runs right (SF) to left (SJ)). The Gates building is near where the A, B, DT, and SLAC routes intersect, but the A and DE (lunch time from Palo Alto) line gets you closest.
The A bus continues to the CalTrain California Street station, and can be taken from the hotels and motels in that area on El Camino.

Most city buses go to the Stanford Shopping Center (a 10 minute walk or a Marguerite ride). The VTA 86 goes to the Stanford Hospital (a 5 minute walk through the building and across the parking lot).
The times are average, best click on the specifics for schedules and routes.
The buses are listed from North to South. Note that the SamTrans Maps are misleading, look at the schedules to see if routes and stops are actually being served.

SamTrans KX express bus from San Francisco downtown Transbay terminal (Mission and 1st streets) via the Airport, San Mateo, San Carlos, Belmont, Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Park to the Stanford Shopping Center at El Camino. (not the Palo Alto Station). They leave San Francisco every half hour starting at 5:28 am, hourly from 8:09 to 10:09 pm; The last bus leaves Stanford at 10:27 pm.
The entire trip takes about 1:15 h., 1 hour from airport).
At commute hours some go on to / leave from Page Mill Rd.
There are hourly night buses (numbered 397) at 1:15 am to 4:15 am from SF and at 12:45 am to 2:45 am from the Palo Alto train station that make more stops and take over 2 hours.
To get back from San Francisco between 10:00 pm and 1:00 am take the train; or take BART to Daly City and then the 390 bus.

The SamTrans 390 bus starts from the Daly City (just outside of San Francisco) BART station -- connects also from the Eastbay and Berkeley -- and travels via the Hillsdale and Redwood City Caltrain stations to the Palo Alto Caltrain station. (Bases start at 6:00 am, two or three times per hour; after 7:00 pm hourly, on the hour, up to midnight; Daly City to Palo Alto takes 1:45 hour).

The SamTrans 280 bus comes from East Palo Alto, through downtown Palo Alto, to inside the Stanford Shopping Center (about every half hour).

A Dumbarton Express (DB) comes from the East Bay (Union City Bart station, Fremont) (half-hourly at commuting times, and infrequently during the day. Buses marked DB1 go via Page Mill Road. Get off at El Camino, then walk about 6 minutes north on El Camino to California street, where a free Stanford Marguerite shuttle bus can be taken.

The VTA 88 bus loops hourly through South Palo Alto (clockwise and counter clockwise) from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm; it includes the Caltrain California street station, and has a free Stanford Marguerite shuttle bus connection there.

The VTA 86 bus travels from the San Antonio Shopping Center via downtown Palo Alto streets to the Stanford shoppping center and Stanford Hospital (hourly 7:00 am to 6:00 pm).
VTA 35 bus from Mountain View via the San Antonio Shopping center to the Stanford Shoppping center (half-hourly weekdays, and 7:14, 8:20, and 9:32; evening times from Stanford are 8:11, 9:13, and 10:14 pm);
there are more bus connections to the south at San Antonio.

VTA 22 bus and its A HREF="" target="_blank">Rapid express cousin from San Jose Eastridge via downtown San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View along El Camino to Palo Alto, alternate buses go up to Menlo Park. (24 hrs ; every 12 to 15 minutes during daytimes, at least hourly from 11:40 pm to 6:30 am); takes about 1:25 hour from downtown San Jose. The rapid 522 runs every 15 minutes to 7:00 pm and takes 50 minutes.

Commute Buses South

VTA 102 Commute buses from housing areas in South San Jose to Palo Alto at Page Mill and Hillview, Hansen (near El Camino, walk to the Maguerite at California street), mornings, leave 5:56, 6:52, 7:21 am from Santa Teresa light rail station, goes back in the evening.

VTA 501 Commute buses to IBM San Jose locations (Cottle, Bailey) in the morning at 7:00 and 7:30 am from California street and El Camino, back in the evening (1:05 hour).
VTA 101 Commute buses to industrial areas in West San Jose and Cupertino, mornings 5:45 to 7:15 am from from Page Mill and Hansen (near El Camino), back in the evening.