I’ve been wondering why it seems like it takes the same amount of time or in some cases even longer to get to the same places around town on the weekend as it takes during the work week. Am I missing something? Am I the only one who notices or cares? I expect to slug out on the workday, there are 2 generally accepted peak periods, one in the morning, and one in the evening. Seriously, on the weekend I don’t expect to see the same level of traffic on the beltway or more to the point, I don’t want to see traffic that resemble work week rush hour patterned traffic. Shouldn’t it be easier getting around on the weekend when people aren’t driving for work? Most weekends I take a trip of approximately 15 miles from MD to VA, and it never fails that traffic on the beltway is bumper to bumper just as it is during peak weekday rush hour periods.
Why is this?
One of my theories is that more people should be home throughout the weekend, and not constrained to be on or off the road at any specific time thereby causing erratic traffic patterns.
Another theory is people are traveling more on weekends now than ever before, whether it’s carting their children around to games or social commitments whatever the reason it generates more volume.
A third, and more probable is in large metro areas the population is just so dense that people driving on the weekend are not operating under the mind-set that many commuters adopt during the work week which basically puts a premium on moving and not doddling whereas on the weekend people aren’t as concerned with getting from point A to B in the shortest time.
The result of my perceived feeling of more traffic on the weekends is that my schedule gets adjusted so I can avoid the masses and the lines associated with the people going to the grocery store, the local strip mall, the restaurants, and more recently close to my heart the local hardware-improvement store. I now tend to do my grocery shopping before 8am or after 9pm. With many stores keeping extended hours and in some cases open 24 hours I can pick and choose the best times for my shopping.
Now, why am I ranting about traffic when I live in the 2nd or 3rd worst market for congestion? First the obvious, I think it’s human nature to complain. I mean that’s how you know you’re doing well. First world problem, right? Wherever you are, there’s something you would eventually notice that you’d like to improve some aspect of your life. That’s how we’re wired. If you didn’t you’d be a settler. So named, because they settled. Thinking about this more I think this certainly has the potential to be a much longer post and cover more than just my perceived weekend traffic conditions that threatens my weekend contentment. Let me just wrap it up by saying why I’m writing about this is because time is our most important commodity, and being in a high congestion area we need to best use our free time. That, and I really don’t like people who don’t have a driver’s agenda. The driver’s agenda will be the subject of another upcoming post, but I’d like to hear from any of you out there what you think causes more traffic on the weekend.