Bay Area gridlock: MTC releases report on 10 worst commutes

Bay Area traffic alert: It's still terrible.

Commuter congestion has, however, leveled out, according to a new report Wednesday from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that ranked the Bay Area's 10 most congested corridors based on an analysis of 2017 numbers. 

The amount of time the average commuter spends each weekday in “congested delay” – time spent moving less than 35 mph – has increased by more than 80 percent since 2010. The new report does show that traffic-related delays for 2017 leveled off after four consecutive years of increasing commute times. But don’t celebrate too soon. Commuters in 2017 matched the 2016 numbers, which were historically high. 

“The good news is that the average Bay Area commute time hasn’t gotten any worse,” said MTC chair and Rohnert Park City Councilmember Jake Mackenzie. “The bad news is that it hasn’t gotten any better either.”(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = ""; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Coming in at number one for the fourth consecutive year is the afternoon crawl on northbound U.S. 101 across the Bay Bridge. Each weekday, commuters are collectively delayed 14,600 vehicle-hours between 12:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on this dreadful stretch of highway. 

The top four spots are all the same as last year. Drivers heading westbound on I-80 from State Route 4 in Hercules to the Bay Bridge toll – the second most congested stretch – is the only location on the list that involves a morning commute and has no mid-day break. Relentless jams span from 5:25 a.m. to 6:55 p.m. 

The remaining two consistently congested sections include the afternoon parking lot on southbound U.S. 101 from Sunnyvale to San Jose and northbound I-680 in Sunol. 

Mobile users click here to see a map of the 10 worst commutes

Bay Area's worst commutes by Michelle on Scribd

A few locations made notable jumps in the wrong direction from 2016 to 2017. In Martinez, the afternoon drive on eastbound State Route 4 in Martinez to Port Chicago Highway in Concord rose from 10 to five. And in Oakland, the afternoon push on I-880 from Union Street to 29th Avenue hurdled seven spots from 14 to its current number 7. 

How about some good news, eh? A few stretches did improve. A section of I-280 in San Jose dropped to number eight from six and part of I-680 from Danville to Pleasant Hill improved two spots from eight to 10. 

While the numbers are disturbing, they’re certainly not surprising. The new report folds in well with the ongoing Bay Area housing crisis. Since the dot-com wave peaked in 2000, daily congested delay increased about 65 percent per commuter while the population grew 15 percent and the number of jobs grew 12 percent, according to MTC. 

“There’s no question our freeways haven’t kept pace with the bustling economy,” said Mackenzie. “We have more vehicles on the road getting people to and from their jobs, more buses taking people to and from work, and more trucks making more deliveries. This highlights the need for more affordable housing closer to jobs, for better transit options and for key infrastructure projects.”

MTC officials say investing in BART, and our other transit systems, is necessary. Regional Measure 3, which passed in July, is slated to help the Bay Area’s traffic congestion problems with funds derived from increased bridge tolls.