Getting Around on Campus
Thanks to the sunny weather and sprawling campus, bicycles are one of the most popular means of transportation at Stanford. There are over 12,000 bikes on campus, as well as the full-service Campus Bike Shop at Tresidder Union.
To make it safer for walkers and cyclists, the University has designated the center of campus a pedestrian zone; four-wheeled vehicles are not allowed. You can ride your bike anywhere on the Stanford campus except in the arcades around the Main Quad, which are reserved for foot traffic.
Some Things to Keep in Mind
- Register your bike. Whether you purchase a bicycle at Stanford or bring one from home, you must register it with Santa Clara County. You can register your bike:
1. During registration events in White Plaza during New Student Orientation;
2. Online at Parking and Transportation Services (P&TS) website.
- Buy a bicycle lock such as a Kryptonite U-lock and a six-foot cable or chain. Bicycle theft is the most common campus crime, and most bikes that are stolen are locked with easy-to-cut cables. If you lose your bike lock key, call the Campus Bike Shop at (650) 723-9300 to have the lock cut (for a fee).
- Park your bike in designated spaces. Be sure not to block a pathway, building entrance, or ramp intended for use by people with disabilities. The Department of Public Safety may remove and impound improperly parked bikes.
- Use a bike light if you are riding at night, and you are advised to wear a helmet at all times. P&TS gives out free bike lights during registration events; the Campus Bike Shop sells high-quality helmets for $20.00.
- Follow traffic laws. Bicyclists are expected to comply with the same traffic laws as automobile drivers and may be ticketed if they do not. To avoid a citation, stop at all stop signs, ride in the direction of traffic, and use the same turn lanes as other drivers.
- The Bicycling Information section of the P&TS website has additional information on biking at Stanford, including bicycle route maps. You also can learn more about Bicycle Rules and Safety at the California Department of Motor Vehicles website.
The Marguerite Shuttle
The Marguerite, Stanford’s free public shuttle system, has over 140 regular stops on and around campus. The Marguerite can take you almost any place you need to go, including classroom buildings on the other side of campus and many popular off-campus locations.
The Marguerite’s main lines operate between 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; a night-time line also runs seven days a week during the academic year. All buses are wheelchair-accessible and are equipped with bike racks.
Even if you have a car, you will generally need to walk, bike, or take the Marguerite shuttle to get around campus. In fact, it usually takes much less time to bike than to drive from one campus location to another.
Stanford requires permits for vehicles, including scooters and motorbikes, parked in its on-campus lots. If you are an upper-class undergraduate student or graduate student, you can purchase daily, multi-month, 10-month, and 12-month permits that allow you to park in designated lots near your residence. Other lots are off-limits except on weekends and after 4:00 p.m.
For an online order form and a list of current permit prices, visit the Parking & Transportation Services website.
Note: Freshmen cannot obtain long-term permits since they are not allowed to bring cars to campus (though waivers to this policy may be granted in exceptional circumstances).
Your visitors can park in spaces and lots designated with a green “P” or “E” sign. If they park in another zone during enforcement hours—6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday—they may be ticketed.
Hourly parking. Parking in “P” and “E” zones costs $1.50 per hour between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is free weekdays after 4:00 p.m. and weekends. Public parking lots have either meters at each parking space or a pay machine located at the center of the lot. If your visitors use public parking, remind them to bring more than one form of payment. Meters accept only coins; most pay machines accept both dollar bills and credit cards.
Daily parking permits. Visitors can buy daily parking permits for “P” and “E” zones at Visitor Information Services, located in the front of Memorial Auditorium at 551 Serra Mall.
Temporary parking permits are sent to entering freshmen and transfer students in August. Students or parents with a car on campus must display the permit during New Student Orientation.
According to California Vehicle Code Section 4000.4, you are required to register your car in California if “the vehicle is located or operated in this state for a greater amount of time than it is located or operated in any other individual state during the registration period in question.”
If you plan to register a vehicle, you must do so within twenty days after arrival to avoid a late fee. Visit the DMV website for more information.
The nearest branch of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is located at 300 Brewster Street, Redwood City, CA 94063. You can reach the DMV office at (800) 777-0233.
If you are a visitor in California over the age of 18 and have a valid driver license from your home state or country, you may drive in California without obtaining a California driver license as long as your home license remains valid.
If you plan to establish residency by voting, filing for taxes, owning property, or seeking employment in California, you must apply for a California State driver license.
Traveling After Dark
While the Stanford campus is generally very safe, it’s best to avoid traveling by yourself at night. As an alternative to walking or biking—or if you are ever alone somewhere on campus at night and don’t feel safe walking home:
Call the SURE Escort Service at (650) 725-SURE from a cell phone or 5-SURE from any campus land line. A student volunteer will pick you up in a cart and take you wherever you need to go. SURE operates whenever school is in session, from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on other days.
Take the Marguerite shuttle. The Midnight Express line runs until 1:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
If you exercise at night, stay in well-lit areas and avoid the portion of the Campus Drive loop that runs along Lake Lagunita between Narnia and the driving range (where it becomes Junipero Serra Blvd). There are neither street lamps nor shoulders along this stretch of road.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to get places without a car, don’t be. Many alternative forms of transportation are available, and Stanford encourages you to make use of them. Students who bike, walk, and take public transportation help reduce traffic as well as global warming emissions.
For further help navigating local public transportation, check out Parking and Transportation Services’ pamphlet on "Surviving Stanford without a Car," or plot your route with the Transit Plan a Trip page.
For up-to-date information on local transportation services, you can also call the Bay Area Transit Information Hotline at 511 if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and (510) 817-1717 if you are not.
The Marguerite, Stanford’s free public shuttle system, provides service to many off-campus destinations, including University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto; shopping areas such as Stanford Shopping Center, Town and Country Village, and San Antonio Shopping Center; and the Palo Alto and California Avenue Caltrain stations.
All buses are wheelchair-accessible and are equipped with bike racks. Check the route map and schedules.
SamTrans buses serve San Mateo County, which includes Menlo Park and other cities north of Stanford. A number of routes have stops at the Palo Alto Transit Center on University Avenue, including Route KX, which offers express service to San Francisco International Airport, and Route 390, which goes as far north as the Daly City BART station (from there, students can take a city bus into San Francisco). Visit www.samtrans.org for more information.
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)
The VTA operates bus routes and light rail lines in Santa Clara County, which includes Stanford, Palo Alto, and other cities to the south; see VTA’s Trip Planner for detailed information. Route 22 follows El Camino Real all the way to San Jose, arriving every 10 to 15 minutes during the day and running during the night as well. Route 35 runs from Mountain View to Stanford Shopping Center.
Caltrain is a commuter rail line that runs the length of the Peninsula, from Gilroy in the south to San Francisco in the north. Caltrain offers students a quick, reasonably inexpensive way to get to San Francisco. Visit caltrain.org for schedules, maps, and fares
Two Caltrain stations are close to campus:
University Avenue next to the Palo Alto Transit Center
California Avenue a few blocks north of El Camino Real.
Stanford’s Marguerite shuttle stops at both.
Enterprise Rent-a-Car has an on-campus branch serving the Stanford community. Special discounts and services are available for Stanford residents over the age of 20. Students ages 18 to 20 can rent cars as well. The Enterprise branch is located on Oak Road inside Parking Structure 5, just west of the Medical Center. Call (650) 833-8060.
Freshman Emergency Ride Home Program
If you are a freshman, enroll with this program to ensure that you have a ride back to campus if you are ever stranded somewhere or caught in an emergency (within an eight-mile radius of Stanford). When that emergency arises, all you have to do is call Yellow Checker Rainbow Cab at 650.999.9999 for a ride home. Find out more about the program and register online at the Parking and Transportation Services website.