Here are some of the major options to be aware of.
Biking is one of the best ways to get around the East Bay; especially when traffic is congested, you might find that biking is faster than driving or taking public transit.
All Bay Area cities do a great job providing protected bicycle lanes and generally safe and quiet bike routes. You can bring you bike on BART (the subway) or on busses (there's a thing on the front of all busses that you can fold down and rest your bike on -- ask a bus driver for a how-to).
However, make sure you take the proper precautions:
It is strongly recommended to bike on Berkeley’s bicycle boulevards instead of taking the major roads. Bicycle boulevards are low-speed, low-volume streets that have been optimized for bicycle traffic. They are designed to give priority to people biking as through-going traffic. An interactive Google map of Berkeley’s bike boulevards can be found here.
Don't be a moron: wear a helmet. Everyone else does.
Equip your bike with blinky white and red LIGHTS so that cars can SEE YOU. Also highly recommend reflective tape stuck to your frame, something like this.
Don’t bike on the sidewalks! Both illegal and uncool to pedestrians.
Don’t bike on Sproul Plaza during the posted no-bike hours! You will be ticketed!
Bicycle theft is common all over the Bay Area. Learn how to lock your bike properly:
Use a lock that cannot be easily cut (a simple cable lock is easy to circumvent; it’s recommended to use a U-lock with a cable).
They make locking skewers to make your wheels un-removable without a key, like these. Makes it easier to lock your bike with just a U-lock through the frame, since the wheels are safe.
Otherwise, using a U-lock, hook both the frame and the front or back wheel within the U. Then loop the cable around the other wheel and secure the loops of the cable inside the U-lock (as shown in this picture).
Get a tight fit. The less room inside of the u-lock or chain, the more difficult it will be for thieves to get leverage for a tool.
Lock your bike in a well-lit area with high foot traffic.
Position your lock off the ground with the keyhole facing down
Take advantage of the psych building’s indoor bike storage:
Located in the hallway parallel to Shattuck next to the security desk.
Enter from Hearst using your calcard .
Plenty of space to lock up your bike and there are 5 showers(!) since campus is uphill from mostly everywhere.
2. AC Transit (bus)
All UC Berkeley graduate students receive free AC Transit passes. You can get a special Clipper (refillable transit card) at the Cal1 card office that makes AC transit free. AC Transit operates only in the East Bay, but it can get you to many different parts of the East Bay.
Riding to Berkeley Way West?
Take the 6 or the 18 from Downtown Oakland (for a slower route from Downtown Oakland, take the 51A to the 51B)
Take the 12 from North Lake Merritt or Northwest Oakland (e.g., Rockridge)
Take the 51B from North Oakland or South Berkeley
Take the 18 from West Oakland (MLK Jr. Dr.)
Take the 51B from West Berkeley
Take the 52 from UC Village - typically on time in the morning and drops you off a block from BWW
Other bus lines worth noting:
72/72M/72R go from Downtown Oakland (Jack London Square) through Emeryville, West Berkeley, and Albany, all the way to El Cerrito (Bus #7 goes directly from Berkeley (stop is right next to Target) all the way to El Cerrito)
The fast Trans-Bay Buses go from various locations in the East Bay to the Salesforce Transit Center in SF. Good way to get across the Bay Bridge for free, but it only operates TO the city in the morning, and FROM the city in the evening.
The slightly slower Trans-Bay Bus (F) goes to/from the city through the day from South Berkeley and/or Downtown Berkeley up to the Salesforce Transit Center.
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, aka the subway)
BART is not a wide and complete subway like other cities - it mostly provides major arteries to get people into / out of San Francisco. That said, there is a stop right by campus, so BART is a great option if you live near a different BART stop. I feel like I'm yelling when I keep typing BART.
BART costs money and we get no discount. The Graduate Student Union has petitioned UC in the past to provide free BART transit, but that deal does not seem to be occurring any time soon.
Because BART has a limited range, the map is really intuitive. The "Downtown Berkeley" BART stop is the one by campus. When you are at a station, the lines are marked by their ultimate destination. It takes some getting used to, but no more than any other major subway system.
The ubiquitous, stylized BART map
Riding to Berkeley Way West?
If you’re coming from the East Bay and south of Berkeley, take the Richmond line to Downtown Berkeley and walk a few blocks north on Shattuck Ave.
If you’re coming from the East Bay and north of Berkeley, take literally any line, but be sure it's not headed to Richmond (North). If it says Warm Springs, San Francisco, Millbrae, Daly City, etc, it's all gonna get you south to campus.
If you’re coming from SF, sometimes there will be a Richmond-bound line. If there is not, you need to take the Antioch line and transfer at 19th St Oakland.
Parking near campus is rough.
Most students opt for free two-hour parking in the residential neighborhoods near campus, but then you have to move your car or you will most likely get a ticket (they mark tires with chalk).
There is some metered parking right around BWW with two-hour limits.
There is a parking lot near Triple Rock that has a four-hour limit.
Side roads are often quicker than freeways
880 is PACKED from about 6-10 AM and 4-7 PM
Leave as little in your car as possible. Anything left visible inside your vehicle can be construed as something valuable, and passersby will then break your windows.
If you insist on driving and don’t mind a bit of a walk, park around Walnut & Shattuck St. Non-zoned parking.