SAN JOSE (KPIX) — A brand new Metropolitan Transportation Commission study ranking of the worst traffic problem spots in the Bay Area includes some notorious bottlenecks and a surprising newcomer.
Gridlock has become an inevitable part of Bay Area commuting.
“The experts are telling us what our residents already know; that we have awful congestion here,” said MTC Chairman Dave Cortese.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission released its annual list of the most congested freeways in the Bay Area on Monday.
Topping the list of worst traffic spots for freeway congestion last year were perennial problem spots like the evening eastbound commute on the Bay Bridge and Interstate 80 in Berkeley, where traffic is now virtually non-stop day and night.
It’s the blessing and curse of a booming economy. The success driving Silicon Valley companies to hire more workers is making it increasingly difficult to drive anywhere anytime without traffic.
“In one month here in the Bay Area, we had 17,000 jobs created in the South Bay. When you do that, you can’t build freeways fast enough,” said Cortese.
Underscoring the connection between jobs and traffic, the stretch of Interstate 280 from East San Jose to Cupertino — home to tech companies like Apple — jumped from 20th to 3rd worst in just a year.
Despite falling to #2 on the 2015 list, the westbound I-80 drive from State Route 4 in Hercules to U.S. 101 in San Francisco made history with congested conditions typically extending from 5:35 a.m. to 7:50 p.m.
This marked the first time routine congestion on any Bay Area freeway segment has not been interrupted by a mid-day break.
Political leaders from across the region say adding more lanes to already congested interstates simply isn’t the answer.
“Expanding BART to San Jose, expanding Caltrain, those are the kind of transit improvements that can relieve congestion,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
The transportation commission says potential solutions include expanding BART or building more toll lanes.
But the reality for those of us inching along in traffic every day is that neither will come quickly or cheaply.