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:
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