Friday, January 21, 2011

You're Just Like Crosstown Traffic

While Conery is experiencing the area via train, I'm in the car.  Since I really like to drive and I'm lovin' my new car (2011 Ford Fiesta), commuting via car has been enjoyable.

My commute to work is about 20 miles whether I go under the Bay or over the bridge.  Going to work via the Dumbarton Bridge costs $5.  Going home via the bridge is free.  So I go under the Bay to work and take the bridge home.

The drive, while mostly highways, is pretty scenic as compared to highway driving in Florida.  There are mountains to the East of Fremont.  On most days, I get to see the sun rise over them, which is pretty amazing.  The Dumbarton Bridge crosses over the Shoreline at Mountain View wildlife area.  The biking/walking trails of the wildlife area are accessible a couple blocks from my office.  Apparently, it's a huge bird watching area because I see people out there all the time with cameras and binoculars.  I saw this being installed along the biking/walking trail during my first week of work.

Aside from the great scenery, the traffic is pretty uneventful.  I'm used to the frenetic pace and attitude of drivers in Florida.  Here, it feels like most people accept the fact that there is traffic, and they make the best of it.  Drivers are courteous for the most part, and cars follow that whole zipper principle and take turns to merge into one lane without drivers being selfish asses.

There are different traffic conventions here that change things a bit.  Most on-ramps have metered entry points during peak traffic times, which are turned off at other times.  To enter the highway, all traffic stops at a light which alternates letting one car enter at at time.  While this causes a bit of a line to get onto the highway, the traffic entering the highway doesn't have such a huge impact on the flow of traffic.  

There are also HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes.  The left lane is dedicated to cars with two or more drivers with some areas requiring 3 or more.  There are more people in the non-HOV lanes, but a good number of cars contain more than just a single person.  You also see hybrid cars EVERYWHERE.  Most of the time, you can see at least one hybrid in your field of vision at any given time, which is excellent.

1 comment:

  1. The HOV tickets are insanely expensive, I've heard. When I first moved here I took what I thought was an exit ramp, but was really an HOV loop, and afterward someone told me I was so lucky not to get caught. I've been paranoid ever since. And yes, one of the first things I noticed here was all the hybrids. Now we have a ton of smart cars, which I love and will probably get eventually. Supposedly a hybrid always gets free metered-parking in LA (not that you can ever find any available).