You Can't Get There From Here

michaelalreadytakenDecember 14, 2007

This is the first place I've ever lived where it's occasionally necessary to pick up the phone and say "I'm not coming because I can't get there."

This morning three accidents on the Bay Bridge backed up to--drumroll--Richmond Parkway on I-80.

No problem, I'll just divert down the 580. Oops, there's an upper deck accident on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge too.

Maybe the 680 for an extremely out of the way solution?

Nope. Five car injury accident working out there.

Last year about this time, on I 80, the entire freeway was shut down for about eight hours for a fatality accident. I had to call work and say "sorry" not today. I could barely even get out of my own neighborhood that day with all the freeway traffic being diverted to the surface streets.

The bay geography often precludes just hopping onto a major sidestreet or another freeway.

It's strange to miss Houston or Los Angeles.

I have to say that Houston's freeways put these to shame.


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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I had trouble understanding this at first, Michael, but you live across water, and cannot just go around if there are problems?

You are right, this is not a situation that you would find in most cities. One city I could think of that might have it would be St. Louis, at least for the people who live on the other side of the river, and must cross the bridge to get to work. They also would have 3 bridges, I think, but it would take awhile to turn around and travel to the next bridge.

I also wonder if there are some people around Seattle that would share this problem.

I hope you enjoyed your day off.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:25PM
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farmgirl(9 NoCA)

I feel your pain. Had to pick up my dad at Oakland airport. Hadn't driven in that area in 30 years (no joke!) Asked Big Brother for hints and he rattled off the freeway numbers without a hitch. Got into the rat's nest of the Oakland-Hayward exit, missed the first airport exit, caught the second only by a prayer. Made it out of Oakland at rush hour with fenders and wits still intact. Vowed never to go there again!

Have you considered BART?


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 1:12AM
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jody(7b - NC)

I used to have to travel to Nashville (from Chattanooga) once every couple of weeks. Hated the trip, hated it. What is it about Nashville and traffic accidents. All the interstate bits and pieces feed into one another - one accident turns to two and then to three and then to four, etc and from there to complete gridlock. That was before GPS - I would get off the interstate and wander around lost trying to find a way out of there that did not involve the interstates.

I can't imagine what it is like with the natural obstacles you have. How frustrating!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Hi guys!

It is frustrating. Most days are fine but it's like electricity: it's either completely "on" or completely "off.

I don't work in SF but I do take BART sometimes when I'm going to the east side or downtown. Other times I take the ferry out of Vallejo.

Just depends.

Sammy, I understand that Seattle does have some of the same problems.

Carol, I've found Sacramento's airport a lifesaver; it's almost curb service compared to the other two. EZ in and out--still have to take your shoes off at security :):):) so I wear Crocs

Jody, I guess the problem is everywhere. I'd love to see a lot more mass transit; it would solve many problems. As you may know Caltrans has sensors in the roadways everywhere out here so they can measure everything and control the traffic from a central location.

When one of the main interchanges was destroyed in an accident a few months ago the traffic volume fell by only 10% as people took alternative modes of transportation--but the "gridlock" fell by a huge factor. It's surprising.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 8:56PM
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jannorcal(No CA z9)

>>Bay Bridge backed up to--drumroll--Richmond Parkway on I-80.

Holy cow! Precisely why I only go to the city on weekends and leave early to get there before most are up and about.

>>It's strange to miss Houston or Los Angeles

Ha! I don't miss the 405 parking lot. I used to live in Westchester, 9 miles south of the my job at Wilshire and the 405. My commute home was at least 30 minutes on a good day -didn't matter if you took surface streets or the 405. I moved up to Sac 3 years ago and am loving it. Only things I really miss in LA are the weather, my friends and my garden.
Earlier this year I drove down to LA to visit friends. On a Thursday afternoon at 2 pm it took me 45 minutes to travel 6 miles from Sunset to the Howard Hughes Parkway.
Didn't venture off the freeway because figured the side streets would be just as bad. With all the development in Playa Vista the population density on the westside has made even worse gridlock of the traffic.
Nope, don't miss that one bit.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 12:51AM
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I've just turned around and gone back home several times when it was a personal trip. I'm getting better about dialing 511 and checking online before I leave home.

When I took my son to Palm Springs in May we came back down 10 in L.A. so we could drive back up 101. It took 5 1/2 hours to get from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara. The first back up was way out at Yucaipa. I couldn't believe it. I was cooked by the time we got back to Vacaville. Never again. (famous last words)

It's a big reason I don't go to San Jose more often. That eighty miles has a way of turning into 2 or 3 hours... and then there's the drive back.

On my home planet of Louisiana I used to drive 80 miles without giving it much thought, sometimes none at all. :):)
Now, it's a major decision.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 1:32AM
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Suddenly I no longer envy you Californians and your mild climate.

Washingtonians have to deal with the beltway (the road that goes nowhere) but there are alternatives if you know the smaller roads. I live in a neighborhood surrounded by parks so it is very much ignored (which I am very grateful for) and the traffic isn't all that bad. With parking it takes me 20-25 minutes from the moment I leave my home to when I sit down at my desk. NICE.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 12:04PM
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My best friend who lives 6 houses down the street leaves at 6:30am for his job in North Hollywood. He gets there at 8 am. He stays late in the bldg. and gets home between 8:30 and 9pm. If he left at 5pm, he'd still get home about 7:45 or later. No kidding! Early on the weekend you can make the trip in an hour. He likes O.C. and his garden and won't relocate, but the only time he sees his garden is in the dark unless it's the weekend. LA traffic is the worst!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 3:23PM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

Michael, we've gotten to where we avoid going down there like the plague. I just hate all that 580 680 stuff. Sunday there was one of those huge shut downs on 80. We were in Davis and just missed it. We drove to Woodland and then took empty 16 on our way home. We need good public transportation. In London recently we took the tube or the tube to the train easy as pie.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 10:57AM
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