FIRE Station Fun – Grinding Traffic

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I had a painful deja vu moment last week when I left the house for a meeting in downtown at 9am.  It was the same route (and same building) which I had trekked to MegaCorp for more than a dozen years at the start of my career.  It was also a route that was choked from start to finish with an unending traffic jam.  As an early retiree, I generally do my best to avoid rush hour all together and hadn’t jumped in the fray for quite a while.

Here is the view from my SUV’s navigation system:

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The total route is only 20 miles, but as you can see, it was a solid red line the whole way – partly because of construction, but mostly because of congestion.  One of our metro newspapers (we still have two) had a big article on traffic congestion a few weeks ago.  The story was simple – it’s bad, and it’s getting worse as 95% of the spending is going into light rail and bicycle lanes (don’t get me started on the practicality of those).

This one-hour commute (average speed 20mph) did remind me of all of the time I’ve spent in traffic over the years.  For almost 24 years, I had a 45-60 minute commute each way.  The last three years, I took a job close to our house – which was a god send.  All together, I had a 27 year career across three MegaCorps and estimate that I spent about 4.3 years (@ 40 hours a week) stuck in traffic.  Staggering, isn’t it?

I never complained too much about the commute over the years.  I would listen to the radio news in the morning and decompress/make calls on the way home.  Early in my career, I even took the commuter bus or drove with my wife who also worked downtown.  When I switched companies and worked close to home it was an incredible change.

How far do you live from work?  How do you handle the congestion?

Image Credit: Pixabay

16 thoughts on “FIRE Station Fun – Grinding Traffic

  1. I used to have to travel 25 miles. 50 round trip a day. On a good day 45 minutes, on bad days 1.5 to 2 hours. The radio and my thoughts were my best friend. Now I’m 8 miles from home, all side roads. I barely get a few songs in. 🙂

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  2. I think my commute was about 28 miles which I don’t think is bad but I drive a lot and there isn’t that many traffic jams unless there is an accident. To help me pass the time I listen to podcasts and actually started liking my commute (I know I am weird). My fiancé on the other hand cannot stand traffic or driving far so it’s sometimes a battle lol

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  3. “Rush Hour” always struck me as an inaccurate expression, Chief. Commuting is glacial and clogged, so there is no “rush” about it. “Hour” is a wish for those in the Northeast corridor. I called those “Crush Hours.” Living 60 miles from NYC, on the best of days, door-to-door was two hours for me. Twice a day. In retrospect, I realize I was insane for decades. But I loved my work. And NYC was the center of the world for an ad man.

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    • Definitely a bikeable commute when you are that close. The closest I ever was to work was about 10 miles. I never biked it once. I couldn’t imagine showing up to work after an hour on the bike.

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  4. I live on the property where I work at the rental office–a 3 minute walk to work. My husband works a mile away–a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute drive. We really should become a 1 car family…

    Liked by 1 person

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