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Improving Economy Creating Gridlock On Bay Area Freeways

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Commuter traffic backs up at the toll plaza to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Commuter traffic backs up at the toll plaza to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The improving economy is likely to blame for increased commute times around the Bay Area. More people have jobs than a few years ago, and most still like to drive their own cars.

The Metropolitan Transpiration Commission says we usually see more traffic during the commute hours in the fall, but Bay Area Bridges are 2-3 percent busier than they were last year.

“Even if you don’t use a bridge, people are backing up on city streets as they try to find alternates around and it’s just a nightmare,” said KCBS traffic Anchor Sheryl Raines, who has been monitoring road conditions for 25 years. “I think it’s the worst, and I think its even getting worse. You know, every night there’s some backup.”

One reason why it’s getting worse is the economy is getting better. The Bay Area Council says we are back at our pre-recession unemployment rate.

“Since 2010 we’ve added 300,000 jobs here in the Bay Area,” said Rufus Jeffris of the Bay Area Council. “You don’t do that without having some impact on traffic.”

His group forecasts the region will add another 200,000 to 300,000 jobs in the next two years.

An exclusive KPIX5/SurveyUSA found 71 percent of people commute to work and an additional 23 percent both commute and work from home. Of those, 80 percent drive their own vehicle, and the majority – 52 percent – say the like the flexibility and freedom. Click here for the full survey results (.pdf).

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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