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Commuting Traffic - Oy!
Old 11-24-2015, 09:08 AM   #1
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Commuting Traffic - Oy!

I saw a story on CBS yesterday about traffic jams getting to and from work in MANY cities in the USA. The story also mentioned lost productivity in the billions of dollars and the cost of fuel for all those stalled cars. I thought about the lost life opportunities too. I've lived in a rural state in a rural area and had a thirteen mile commute with one stop sign that took me seventeen minutes to drive and about 40 minutes to bicycle for most of my working life. I may not have made as much money as others who live in urban areas, but I lived a lot more life. I shake my head at the choices people make.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:13 AM   #2
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I saw a story on CBS yesterday about traffic jams getting to and from work in MANY cities in the USA. The story also mentioned lost productivity in the billions of dollars and the cost of fuel for all those stalled cars. I thought about the lost life opportunities too. I've lived in a rural state in a rural area and had a thirteen mile commute with one stop sign that took me seventeen minutes to drive and about 40 minutes to bicycle for most of my working life. I may not have made as much money as others who live in urban areas, but I lived a lot more life. I shake my head at the choices people make.
Yep. Traffic sucks. It was one of the biggest motivators for my early retirement...even though I have never really had a bad commute. When I moved back to Atlanta, I thought my commute was going to be horrible. Thankfully, I had "super-maxi-flex hours" so I could avoid the rush hour times and it just so happened that I was going the opposite direction of most of the commuters. My 15 mile commute could be done in 20-25 minutes most days...but that was STILL too much of a waste of time. When I lived in Oklahoma and lived about 2 miles from w*rk, well, that was AWESOME! I would make sure I left about 5 minutes before I had to be there and usually I had 2 minutes to spare!

My DW has a HORRIBLE commute. She w*rks about 10 miles from the house but it takes her about 45 minutes to get to w*rk and about an hour to get home. I figure this will be what finally breaks her and convinces her to join me in my FIREd adventure!!!
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:17 AM   #3
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Here's that story:

Which U.S. cities have worst traffic bottlenecks? - CBS News

When I used to w*rk, the biggest fear was getting relocated to a place that required driving back and forth in rush hour every day. I commuted via train and that was a whole lot better. A 30 minute train ride (not including walking to the station) vs living in stop and go traffic.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:28 AM   #4
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I've lived in a rural state in a rural area and had a thirteen mile commute with one stop sign that took me seventeen minutes to drive and about 40 minutes to bicycle for most of my working life.
Before I retired, my morning commute was 6 minutes. It helped that there was no traffic before 6 AM, since I live in a very urban area where traffic can be a problem sometimes. I lived just a mile and a half from work but 5 stoplights.

My afternoon commute could be longer than the morning commute, depending on traffic. The longer I dawdled before leaving work, the worse the traffic. So, I was one of those racing for the exit at the first possible moment. That looked SO bad.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:40 AM   #5
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Commuting has become so much worse in the past decade in my small city. The 25 mile drive that used to take 35-40 minute, max, has now stretched to an hour and ten minutes each way. Rampant high density development alongside rural roads not designed for such volume, geography restrictions (seems every road has to cross a river), and an increase in flooding events on low-lying roads have all conspired to make traffic the top complaint among my still-working friends.

Though the island we live on has retained a rural character thanks to vigilant zoning, I never imagined the next island over, through which I must drive to get to work, would become insanely developed in just a few short years. Ugh, traffic.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:45 AM   #6
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The commute time in and around Chicago was a major factor in my retirement. I sometimes used to spend half of my day sitting in traffic. Going to a 3 hour meeting in the city or around O'Hare was an 8 hour day. I've had 60 mile commutes take as long as 4 hours in the winter. Not any more.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:49 AM   #7
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Commuting has become so much worse in the past decade in my small city. The 25 mile drive that used to take 35-40 minute, max, has now stretched to an hour and ten minutes each way. Rampant high density development alongside rural roads not designed for such volume, geography restrictions (seems every road has to cross a river), and an increase in flooding events on low-lying roads have all conspired to make traffic the top complaint among my still-working friends.

Though the island we live on has retained a rural character thanks to vigilant zoning, I never imagined the next island over, through which I must drive to get to work, would become insanely developed in just a few short years. Ugh, traffic.
This brings up something a little unrelated but in the same general discussion. Where I live (highly desirable area of NW Atlanta), there is a lot of zoning variances. Basically, they want to tear down the 50's and 60's ranch homes that sit on an acre and build 4 or more houses. The way zoning works, they really should build no more than 2 on a lot like that, but they apply for variances and usually get them.

There is a lot of backlash on the elected folks that approve these variances, but they still happen. They keep building and the population keeps growing.

The elected leader are HAPPY to broadcast that "so and so is bringing 1,000 jobs to the area." To me, that just more people and more traffic and more headaches. So....if your unemployment is OK and the tax base (which people are generally happy about since it's the lowest in the metro area) supports the services that people appreciate and want, then WHAT IS THE POINT of moving in more and more people?!? They argue "more taxes", but all that does is pay for "more services" for those "new people."

Perhaps I am WAY off base, but can we just STOP with the crazy growth? It's out of control IMHO.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:59 AM   #8
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I saw a story on CBS yesterday about traffic jams getting to and from work in MANY cities in the USA. The story also mentioned lost productivity in the billions of dollars and the cost of fuel for all those stalled cars. I thought about the lost life opportunities too. I've lived in a rural state in a rural area and had a thirteen mile commute with one stop sign that took me seventeen minutes to drive and about 40 minutes to bicycle for most of my working life. I may not have made as much money as others who live in urban areas, but I lived a lot more life. I shake my head at the choices people make.
Sometimes it's choices, but often it's just opportunity. You were one of the lucky ones to find such a job. In areas like you describe, there just aren't enough good jobs, so people leave for greener pastures.
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:08 AM   #9
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Yep. Traffic sucks. It was one of the biggest motivators for my early retirement...even though I have never really had a bad commute. When I moved back to Atlanta, I thought my commute was going to be horrible. Thankfully, I had "super-maxi-flex hours" so I could avoid the rush hour times and it just so happened that I was going the opposite direction of most of the commuters. My 15 mile commute could be done in 20-25 minutes most days...but that was STILL too much of a waste of time. When I lived in Oklahoma and lived about 2 miles from w*rk, well, that was AWESOME! I would make sure I left about 5 minutes before I had to be there and usually I had 2 minutes to spare!

My DW has a HORRIBLE commute. She w*rks about 10 miles from the house but it takes her about 45 minutes to get to w*rk and about an hour to get home. I figure this will be what finally breaks her and convinces her to join me in my FIREd adventure!!!
Traffic is the reason we left Atlanta 12 years ago. I'd come up on a 4 way stop 30 miles from downtown, and it might take me 1/2 hr. to get thru it. Go out to eat in a restaurant 40-50 miles from downtown on a Friday night, and there might be 600 people there. People, people everywhere. We spent most weekends up in the North Georgia Mountains.

I moved where life is simple, and there is no rush hour. Only noise we have is the bass boats at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings going by as they meet their fishing tournament weigh in's. (We live on a major lake.)
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:47 AM   #10
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I have 21 miles each way, and over past 7 years, have backed my departure times up right at 5 minutes per year as Nashville grows. Right now, as long as I leave a minute or two before 6:10 a.m., it is smooth sailing--but ugly if leave at same times as in past. (At night, leave the parking garage no earlier than 6:45, which is usually good.) Luckily, not too much w*rk time remaining--and we love the acreage, privacy, and wildlife that we get via that commute....
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:42 AM   #11
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I saw a story on CBS yesterday about traffic jams getting to and from work in MANY cities in the USA. The story also mentioned lost productivity in the billions of dollars and the cost of fuel for all those stalled cars. I thought about the lost life opportunities too. I've lived in a rural state in a rural area and had a thirteen mile commute with one stop sign that took me seventeen minutes to drive and about 40 minutes to bicycle for most of my working life. I may not have made as much money as others who live in urban areas, but I lived a lot more life. I shake my head at the choices people make.
Sometimes, it sneaks up on you. Growth in an area can flood the roads, and the "choice" you made 15 years ago is suddenly a disaster.

Here in the Raleigh-Durham area, we are experiencing this. A certain national magazine declared our area the "Best Place in the USA" in 1993.

Life hasn't been the same since.

Overnight, roads clogged, accents changed, and worst of all, attitudes changed.

But I may be digressing... The one big difference I see with the "kids" of today is they want to work in city centers and walk to work.

The pendulum swings...
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:51 AM   #12
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Traffic is the reason we left Atlanta 12 years ago. I'd come up on a 4 way stop 30 miles from downtown, and it might take me 1/2 hr. to get thru it. Go out to eat in a restaurant 40-50 miles from downtown on a Friday night, and there might be 600 people there. People, people everywhere. We spent most weekends up in the North Georgia Mountains.

I moved where life is simple, and there is no rush hour. Only noise we have is the bass boats at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings going by as they meet their fishing tournament weigh in's. (We live on a major lake.)
We spent a few days up in Blue Ridge a couple weeks ago. That is my kind of speed... slow and slow.

I have found that (at least in our area), the wait for going out isn't too bad. That's in East Cobb though, you head over to West Cobb and it's considerably worse. The density of population makes such a HUGE difference in dealing with crowds. When we lived in San Antonio (VERY high density!) it was miserable ALL THE TIME. You could go hit a local restaurant at 9 PM on a Tuesday and STILL be on a wait. And going to the grocery store? No way!
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:54 AM   #13
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"Best Place in the USA" in 1993.

Life hasn't been the same since.
I absolutely HATE articles like this. When you have found a GREAT place to live, it only takes a few accolades to ruin it. We are seeing this for Oklahoma City (the area we may ultimately settle for the long term) now. The population is growing like mad and thus the greatness of a mid-sized city is being watered down. Some of our favorite travel destinations have succumbed to the same thing. Going to Cozumel 15 years ago was significantly different than it is now.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:17 PM   #14
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Sometimes, it sneaks up on you. Growth in an area can flood the roads, and the "choice" you made 15 years ago is suddenly a disaster.

Here in the Raleigh-Durham area, we are experiencing this. A certain national magazine declared our area the "Best Place in the USA" in 1993.

Life hasn't been the same since.

Overnight, roads clogged, accents changed, and worst of all, attitudes changed.

But I may be digressing... The one big difference I see with the "kids" of today is they want to work in city centers and walk to work.

The pendulum swings...
Raleigh was a rather sleepy little town when I moved there in the 1990s. It started to feel crowded by the time I moved out in 2005. I am sure they have widened I-40 between Raleigh and the airport yet again since then. Was the light rail to the airport ever built?
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:18 PM   #15
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You guys in the Raleigh and Atlanta areas certainly have my sympathy. I will say that we kinda expect traffic to be bad there (and in Charlotte, too), but somehow thought Charleston would be spared. And yeah, ask me what I think about Conde Nast voting us some kind of best place nonsense a few years in a row. Or Bill Murray telling people how great it is here. Ugh.

I love my rural home, but I'm starting to get that trapped feeling we used to get in the summers when we lived at the beach, and you couldn't go anywhere without some big hassle to leave and return.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:24 PM   #16
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You guys in the Raleigh and Atlanta areas certainly have my sympathy. I will say that we kinda expect traffic to be bad there (and in Charlotte, too), but somehow thought Charleston would be spared. And yeah, ask me what I think about Conde Nast voting us some kind of best place nonsense a few years in a row. Or Bill Murray telling people how great it is here. Ugh.

I love my rural home, but I'm starting to get that trapped feeling we used to get in the summers when we lived at the beach, and you couldn't go anywhere without some big hassle to leave and return.
I appreciate your sympathy! But, when we moved here (actually, moved back after leaving in '92), I KNEW what was in store. The *only* reason we moved was to be close to my aging parents. My Mom is now gone and once my Dad is gone, we will be moving as soon as his estate is settled. I once loved the Atlanta area, but there are simply too many people here. And the 'snobbery' of some of the folks (I assume the transplants) is just sickening. Where we will go, well we haven't quite figured that out yet. I will be sure to look at the last several "Best Places To Live" articles and make sure we don't move THERE!
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Old 11-24-2015, 01:42 PM   #17
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Haha, I know what you mean! Boulder, CO can tell you all about the curse of being "the best place to live".
When we stopped on our cross country in Bozeman, MT, the guy at the hotel signed our bus with a sharpie and wrote "We are full! ~ MT", which I thought was hilarious, considering how sparsely populated that area seemed to us.
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Old 11-24-2015, 01:51 PM   #18
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I appreciate your sympathy! But, when we moved here (actually, moved back after leaving in '92), I KNEW what was in store. The *only* reason we moved was to be close to my aging parents. My Mom is now gone and once my Dad is gone, we will be moving as soon as his estate is settled. I once loved the Atlanta area, but there are simply too many people here. And the 'snobbery' of some of the folks (I assume the transplants) is just sickening. Where we will go, well we haven't quite figured that out yet. I will be sure to look at the last several "Best Places To Live" articles and make sure we don't move THERE!
My neighborhood outside Lawrenceville remains beautiful, but everyone packed up and moved somewhere after 10 years or so. To move up one notch in housing costs 2x as much as our old neighborhood, and who needs more than 4000 square feet anyway?

We still have property in Helen, but the 300 mi. drive up there's pretty tough. North Georgia remains somewhat unspoiled, and the price of housing and bare land remains high with the affluent Atlanta having so much money. Lake Burton is out of our price range with a number of houses pushing 25,000 square feet.

We're so thankful to be living in the South where a person on a normal salary can live in a really nice house, save for retirement and not have to work two jobs to retire when he's 75 years of age.
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:11 PM   #19
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I believe you can thank, in part, a post-9/11 defense industry explosion for the growth in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle. It's an incredibly hot real estate market.

Another Raleigh-Durham growth area seems to be over-55 communities...when we contacted a real estate agent in the area, all she heard was "retired." Although we expressed absolutely no interest in old people's communities, she shipped us a bunch of brochures with white-haired people on the cover and maps of the communities inside. The entire area is ringed with them...something to do, no doubt, with the good medical care associated with Duke Hospital.

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Sometimes, it sneaks up on you. Growth in an area can flood the roads, and the "choice" you made 15 years ago is suddenly a disaster.

Here in the Raleigh-Durham area, we are experiencing this. A certain national magazine declared our area the "Best Place in the USA" in 1993.

Life hasn't been the same since.

Overnight, roads clogged, accents changed, and worst of all, attitudes changed.

.
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:40 PM   #20
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The elected leader are HAPPY to broadcast that "so and so is bringing 1,000 jobs to the area."
Come move to Bellingham, WA. Our elected leaders are proudly destroying industries and jobs. We are 'green', ya know.

(A friend and fellow curmudgeon, has an electric car and brags he has a sign on it: "This car burns coal!")

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