I mentioned in my last post, I visited the San Francisco Bay area last weekend. I lived in the Bay Area for five years, and it’s at the top of the places I’ve lived in the United States. In fact, there’s only two reasons why I’m not living there today:
- $$$$ — ridiculously expensive to live there
- Traffic — travel distance is measured in minutes or hours; not miles.
I had a co-worker who whined about San Antonio’s traffic. It’s laughable. I have another friend who posted an article stating I-66, a highway west of Washington, D.C., had the worst traffic in the nation. I won’t dispute that statement. I’ve been on Interstate 666 both east and west bound, it’s without question, terrible. You can indeed find yourself stuck in traffic at 10:00 PM. Unfortunately, Bay Area traffic, just like its housing prices is without parallel. The route I’m talking about is Interstate 880, a highway looping from about Berkeley to San Jose. Hell Road 880 is typically filled with traffic around the clock, seven days a week. I lived in Fremont and commuted to Sunnyvale. The only time I’d venture on to I-880 was on weekends. As the photo above demonstrates — I took it at 2PM on a Saturday afternoon — there are no respites from the traffic. Don’t get on me for taking the picture. I was in park. With the vehicle off and the brake on. Didn’t move for five minutes. On Monday morning, on my way to Oakland Airport (a highly underrated airport for traveling, by the way) it took me 54 minutes northbound from Alvarado-Niles to 98th Street.
I didn’t have the misfortune of cruising the Bay Area’s other high-volume highways. It’s easy enough to remember them, because they surely didn’t get better. Battlefield 101, through the heart of Silicon Valley certainly wouldn’t get better. CA-237, the Zoo from Milpitas to Mountain View is likely still horrible. Interstate 680’s traffic was so awesomely bad, an overturned HAZMAT carrier once caused a 25-mile backup. People in the midst of the backup called into work and took a sick day rather than gut it out for seven hours waiting to crawl through Milpitas. I remember I-680 because I would get my headset out and call my mom on the East Coast while rates were low. We’d get about 20 minutes to talk on the ride. That’s the one good thing — the only good thing about that traffic: I would have never had that time to talk to my mother if it wasn’t for the 227,000 people making that daily commute. For that, I-680, I owe you.
But I won’t sit in your travesty of traffic any more, either.