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What, Exactly, Are the Boundaries of the East Bay?

Scott Lucas | August 28, 2014 | Lifestyle Story City Life

While writing this morning's story about the Newark teacher who tweeted invective about her students, we ran into a conundrum. The original title of the story was: "East Bay Teacher Tweets She Wants to "Stab Some Kids."" But wait, is Newark part of the East Bay or the South Bay? We went back and forth all morning.

Where does the East Bay stop and the South Bay begin? Is Vallejo in the East Bay? What about Fremont? How far east does the East Bay go? Antioch? Brentwood? Sacramento? Join us, and let's go down the rabbit hole together. We went through Alameda and Contra Costa counties city by city to figure it out. Here's what we found.

Region One: Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond.

East Bay?: Yes

Why: Come on. If these three cities aren't in the East Bay, the term has no meaning.

Region Two: Albany, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Emerville, and Alameda

East Bay?: Yes

Why: These smaller cities can be overlooked, but their tight geographic and cultural proximity to the The Core means that they have to count as East Bay as well.

Region Three: Danville, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek

East Bay?: Yes

Argument: This is the first real decision point. Does the 24 past the Caldecott Tunnel count as the East Bay, or is it a separate place, like the Outerlands, only drier? We've heard people refer to this part of the region as the 680 corridor, for example. But that's crazy talk. This is clearly still part of the East Bay, even if it does have the 925 area code.

Region Four: San Leandro, Castro Valley, Hayward, and Dublin

East Bay?: Yes

Why: The gerrymandering is now getting tougher. Are these cities part of the East Bay or the South Bay? Easy commute to Oakland and San Francisco? Yes. 510 area code? Yes. We're giving these cities to the East Bay.

Region Five: Fremont, Livermore, Newark, Union City, and Pleasanton

East Bay?: No—this is the South Bay

Why: This might be our most controversial choice, but we're putting them in the South Bay. Our reasoning? First of all, the East Bay Municipal Utilities District doesn't cover them. That's strike one. It's easier for them to use the Dumbarton Bridge. That's strike two. Most of them are part of the 17th Congressional District, which stretches to the south towards San Jose. Sorry, folks. Even though you're mostly in the 510 area code, you are part of the South Bay.

Region Six: Concord, Clayton, Hercules, Martinez, Pinole, Pittsburg, and Pleasant Hill

East Bay: Yes

Why: Right area code. Right Congressional district. Right BART line. They're in.

Region Seven: Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Vallejo, and Benicia

East Bay: No—this is the Delta

Why: We're going to catch some flack for this one, but just like we had to take an unpopular stance with Fremont, so too do we have to slice off Brentwood. Twenty years ago, they definitely weren't in the East Bay. Twenty years from now, they most likely will be. So, wake us up when the BART expansion goes all the way out to Antioch, because for now we're ruling these cities out of the East Bay. If we left them in, it'd be hard not to extend the boundaries as far as Tracy and Stockton—which is crazy. Don't hate us, Brentwood: We still love your corn.

So there you go. The official answer, for ever and all time, is this. The East Bay starts with Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond, goes through the Caldecott as far east as Concord and Pittsburg, goes as far north as the water, and south to Hayward—but not as far as Union City. Go ahead, tell us we're wrong.

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