Tales of the Loathsome Trail Chapter 4

During the morning commute on the loathsome trail with a passenger in the car, I began a merge from Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto to southbound 101. The time was about 8:30 AM. The lane from Embarcadero Road to southbound 101 is the highest in altitude of 4 so the dendritic ( branch like ) formation of 4 separate on ramps merging into yet a fifth lane are a spectacular sight . What the traffic does is not unlike that of a coronary occlusion. It takes 20 minutes to drive a quarter mile and get on the freeway. Of course a metering light slows the process down to a crawl.

I have always had nightmares of civil engineers laughing when they visualize the terrible traffic jams they have created by merging five lanes into one. I see the CalTrans people laughing harder with the installation of those accursed metering lights. Many times I have seen these lights continue to function on their automatic timed cycle until 10:00 when the roads are completely clear. It seems like the government is doing everything it can to get us out of our cars and to use public transportation. It is a great idea in theory. Every nut job in the world hangs around bus stops and rides the buses too. Poor women are getting mugged in the parking lots of BART stations. Bus drivers are regularly assaulted and abused by the passengers. I cannot stand at a bus stop for more than 30 seconds without getting panhandled. At the northbound bus on El Camino Real at Stanford Shopping Center, I saw a lady being mugged. When I came roaring up, the perpetrator released her and I got the shaken woman safely home.

Because virtually all the jobs on the peninsula are stacked up on the highway 101 corridor, we are all stuck with this daily demolition derby commute. We allow 30 minutes to get from Redwood City to Palo Alto, but there is a horrible wreck and we sit out there for an hour. When you are late, people say you should have planned better. If you do get to the point where you think this bloody freeway is driving you out of your mind, we encourage your venting, commentary or stories of your own experiences on the loathsome trail. Who knows? You might get your name in the papers !

On these labyrinth on ramp structures, you will see maybe 60 % of the drivers playing with their electronic devices and occasionally be treated to a rear end collision for entertainment. Everybody has to stop while the two motorists get out of their cars to argue about it. That can add an extra twenty minutes to your trip at the drop of a hat. All of our cities had streetcars. They are all gone because “they interfered with the traffic” ! Now because you cannot go anywhere without getting into your car, we continue to keep all of you confounded commuters informed on the continuing Tales of the Loathsome Trail ! ¬† Happy Motoring !

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