Just As I Thought

A tie is not always a tie

I don’t agree with the study that came out today placing the Bay Area second — tied with DC — in traffic congestion. Here’s why.
I drive every morning at 6:45am to work, about 9 miles, down I-880 south from downtown San Jose to Campbell. It takes me about 9 minutes to get to work, and traffic is light.
Ah, you say, you’re driving against traffic, not on 101, and early in the morning!
Yes, that’s true. If I were driving north toward San Francisco at 8:30 in the morning on the 101 freeway, things would be very different. But here’s why this doesn’t matter: in the DC area, it doesn’t matter what time or what direction you’re driving in, or what highway you’re on. Rush hour there lasts all day and all night, and in every direction. So while the traffic here in the bay area may be just as bad as in DC, it only reaches that point twice a day, on weekdays. We still have rush hours here, back in DC the rush hour is now something like 20 hours long, 7 days a week. (In fact, traffic is often worse on Saturday in the DC area than any other day.)

2 comments

  • Agreed. And after having driven 10 and 12 lanes of 101 and 880 out here, then going back to DC and riding on I-66, which is still two lanes in many spots inside the Beltway, it feels positively quaint. The DC region needs a major road overhaul, but it won’t happen any time soon… the NIMBYs in NoVa rival those in California whine for whine.

  • You’ll likely appreciate this from today’s Onion:

    ARLINGTON, VA—Nate Martin was so happy to drive home from Washington, D.C. without hitting a traffic jam that he briefly forgot how much he hated his house, job, and life in northern Virginia.

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