Top 10 worst Bay Area commutes

May 14, 2008 6:54:56 PM PDT
The Bay Area's ten most congested commuter corridors, and why some of them aren't as crowded as they used to be.

The upside of soaring gas prices could be fewer cars on the road. But while traffic congestion is down on some key Bay Area freeways, overall it's on the rise -- the highest it's been in eight years.

Here's the list of the top ten worst traffic areas is out.

Once again the most congested stretch of freeway in the Bay Area is highway 80 westbound from Hercules to the Bay Bridge during the morning commute from before 6 a.m. to after 9:30 a.m.

However, there was nine percent less traffic there last year as compared with the year before.

Caltrans and the MTC agree gas prices are behind the decline.

"There is a trend as gas prices are going up, bridge traffic is going down," said Bijan Sartipi from Caltrans.

The top ten are spread across the Bay Area. But Alameda County has more than it's fair share with Highway 580's eastbound evening commute in the number two spot and 580 westbound in the morning at number four.

"Alameda County retains the title of congestion capital of the Bay Area, with 40 percent of the traffic of the nine Bay Area county regions," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.

But like Highway 80, there was less congestion on 580 westbound, and four percent less across the Altamont Pass in the morning.

Haggerty thinks along with gas prices, the housing market is affecting the commute.

"A lot of the reason we see less congestion in for example the 580 corridor is in Stockton, the foreclosure capital of the world," said Haggerty.

Employment numbers are up and transportation officials say that's why overall congestion is also up across the Bay Area.

But they believe that if gas prices go down, people who are now using transit or carpools in record numbers will return to their solo driver habits.

By then, Caltrans hopes the entire top ten will be new and improved.

"We have a project either under construction or being developed in every one of the congested corridors that you see on the list," said Sartipi.

There is also a three percent decline in congestion on the Northbound Highway 101 passage in Hospital Curve on the evening commute.


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