Bay Area drivers spent 22 percent more time on congested freeways in 2015 than they did the previous year and 70 percent more than in 2010. The Bay Bridge corridor is the worst offender.

That means vehicles traveling northbound from Highway 101 — at the Interstate 280 interchange — to the Yerba Buena Island Tunnel spent a total collectively of 13,000 hours a day traveling at speeds less than 35 mph, according to a report released by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Monday.

That 6-mile stretch is now the most horrendous commute in the Bay Area, moving up from fourth place in 2014.

It had the dubious honor of displacing the westbound Interstate 80 drive from Highway 4 in Hercules to Highway 101 in San Francisco, which is now the second-worst commute in the region. But the MTC notes that the congestion on the westbound I-80 drive is unprecedented: It typically lasts from 5:35 in the morning to 7:50 at night — the first time routine congestion on any Bay Area freeway segment has not been relieved by a break in the middle of the day.

According to MTC spokesman Randy Rentschler, since the number of lanes on the Bay Bridge is already set, there’s not much the commission can do to alleviate the traffic crunch.

“Other than BART and more ferries and buses, there’s very little we can do on that roadway,” Rentschler said. “The bridge is five lanes. That’s what the bridge is going to be. It’s very unlikely we’re going to build another one.”

The report also shows a jump in congestion in the South Bay.

The drive on Interstate 680 north and 280 east from East San Jose to Cupertino soared up the list. It went from being the 20th most congested freeway in 2014 to the third in 2015.

Rentschler attributes that change to the increase in employment in the South Bay and San Francisco.

“Both San Francisco and down south in Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley, are big job generators and you can see the traffic congestion as people seek to reach those job locations,” he said.

In 2015, employment in the Bay Area reached an all-time high of 3.7 million, almost half of it in San Francisco or Silicon Valley.  Two out of three Bay Area commuters drive solo to work, according to the MTC.

Where’s the Worst Traffic in the Bay Area? 4 October,2016Sonja Hutson

  • josteper

    I guess none of these editors/writers have driven WB Hwy.4 from Oakley/Antioch to Willow Pass Road in Concord. It’s about 11 miles but can take you an hour at 5:30 in the morning. Mind you that the cars in carpool are mostly missing that extra person to use those lanes. Then you still have to deal with SB 242 to SB 680 is another long slow stretch.

  • DFinMA

    Some of the worst traffic in the country but for the love of the all that is good and holy LET’S BUILD MORE HOUSING. Sorry folks, we’re full. Until there’s a complete redesign of the transportation infrastructure things will only get worse.

    • Mary949

      It’s only been this way since 1970 🙂

    • richensf

      There’s no such thing as full. People will continue to come to where the jobs are so you better build smarter because your politicians will never say no to new jobs and new office space. That means no more cul-de-sacs, tract homes, strip malls, or business parks, the bland cookie-cutter features that constitute the hellish homogeny of suburban sprawl that even its own residents flee from on the weekends. Upzoning and infilling the deserted strip malls and aging business parks will actually inject some semblance of pride in public space in these shut-in bedroom communities.

      • DFinMA

        At last count there are zero population centers in the world that have solved traffic. What do you propose?

        • richensf

          Traffic is a societal problem in aggregate, but fundamentally a collection of personal choices; Trade offs that many people make for a more spacious or stable or comfortable housing situation, often an adhesion to the accepted life theme of home ownership, and in most cases also an unwillingness to consider any other means of getting from point A to point B besides a personal auto. It is ultimately a product of lifelong habituation to suburban living and an unwillingness to consider the possibility of adapting a life that isn’t dictated by traffic conditions.

        • clipboarder

          If you live near Richmond then you might be interested in Tideline, a private water taxi / ferry service. They have plans for commuter service between Richmond and San Francisco. Here is their crowdfunding campaign for it: https://www.tilt.com/tilts/richmondsf-private-commuter-pass-6pack

          I agree that in this age of global urbanization most metropolitan areas are struggling but the SF Bay Area practically stopped expanding it’s public transit system in the 1970s. The only major expansion I can think of is SFO. So, the issue is not that there’s no solutions but that none were tried.

          By comparison Munich City had zero subway stations in 1970 and now has 96. More than half of these were built between the initial launch and today. Even today new lines are added. Considering that SF is of comparable wealth (technically wealthier in financial terms) there is no reason we shouldn’t achieve similar infrastructure improvements, in the form of more metro stops, more light rail, modern buses, modern roads, and more ferries.

          In the meantime, I suggest supporting private companies like Tideline to help take some pressure of the roads and trains. I know it’s not a solution in itself but we need to support any transportation modalities that make sense in our geography.

  • On top of this, recall that SF okayed developing Treasure Island to allow 19,000 residents, along with hotels and maybe George Lucas’s crap art musem. Smart growth?

  • richensf

    880, 237, 680, 101… There are so many soul-crushing stretches of freeway in this region, how does one even begin to choose??? Two years ago I took a 20% pay cut to convert my 50-mile commute by train or car into a 1-mile commute by bicycle or foot, and by that measure alone it has improved my quality of life 100%.

  • sugarntasty

    Apparently the bureaucracy not listing to statistics, unfortunately clamor to approve. Urban planning polices BART needs expansion not lines, tunnels accommodate traffic also “101” a joke. You can’t expand the lanes nor tunnel what about “highways” forget this why? Intersections and off ramps taken by whom? REITS whom persist building is essential never support transportation policies. Forgotten goal is gentrify no defy principles assure commuters: condense lanes shall bring faster traffic. KOED simply many responding to, inept policies not developing highway expansion grid lock is problematic. Where tax payers Caltran and CalSTA fully aware impartial attitude migration causing agitation on road ways. Whom eager to listen to interest whom? CALSTA Brian P. Kelly,Melissa Figueroa,Brian C.Annis and Chad Edison refuse address,horrible road conditions in “Bay Area”! CalTrans Malcom Dougherty,Bijan Sartipi district (4) for Bay Area reads my objections more responsible bureaucrats. Tamie McGowen,Kome Ajise,William E.Lewis,Steve Cliff,Will Shuck,Melanie Perron,Coco Briseno and Karla Sutliff personal reason where. Awaiting impartiality upon approved measures, development of efficiency Bay area forgotten lobby for high speed trains I favor highways. Tunnels possibly 3 for BART new Bay area bridges we need them have the funding. Lobby for change “2017”!

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