Five Reasons to Keep Bitching About Miami Traffic
Getting to work this morning was a bitch.
Earlier this week, Cultist's Hannah Sentenac gave us five reasons to STFU about the terrible traffic in Miami.
Soon, though, you'll find five reasons endorsing a ferociously whiny commute.
Our Magic City may not have ranked as the country's worst metropolis for commuters, but just we can't ignore the tweeting, stop-and-go bastard driving in front of us.
1. Downtown Miami is roughly 20 minutes from Kendall, but the drive east takes longer than an hour on weekday mornings. Even compared to the longest average commute in the nation, which is 35 minutes in New York, an hour and a half is an exorbitant time to be on the road just to go to work.
The data, gathered from the 2009 U.S. Census, also reports that commutes in Miami average up to 30 minutes, longer than the national average of 25. It probably doesn't help that less than 5 percent of commuters in Miami ride public transportation to work, compared to 10 percent in the L.A. area.
(As a bonus: The Census also reported that foreigners, Asians, and married people's commutes are longer than everyone else's.)
2. There is always construction. Starting in 2010, there have been six major construction projects on Miami's main highways, most of which are still not finished. These projects last years, cost up to $560 million each, and cause major delays on the Turnpike, SR 836, SR 826 and the Interstates.
Just this Wednesday, the entrance to the westbound I-195 at North Miami Avenue was entirely immobile around 3:00 p.m. The intersection at North Miami and NW 36th Street was mayhem: Horns bellowed; drivers cursed and passed each other going the wrong way on a narrow, crowded street, while SUVs halfway on the on-ramp drove over medians to escape the gridlock.
The changing traffic patterns cause our confused drivers, who are already among the meanest in the country, to take detours, miss appointments, and cause accidents. Which leads to the next point.
Phillip Pessar via Flickr
3. Driving here is not safe. We've all experienced our share of road rage in this town. It's impossible not to when our driving population is an unruly mix of elderly Cubans whose maximum speed is 40 mph, drug-fueled Pitbull wannabes in fast cars, and flighty 16-year-olds in their mothers' minivans.
Toss those volatile ingredients onto a half-built highway where they'll need to cross over three lanes to make it to their exits, and you've got yourself an accident - when you're late for work, no less. We crash so often in Miami that our number of fatalities by car accident account for more than 10 percent of the national total.
4. Driving here isn't cheap, either. Sure, Californians may spend 30 cents more per gallon of gas than we do, but they also rake in more cash per year. While our median income in Florida is barely more than $44,000, Californians are making roughly $54,500, according to 2010 Census data. Chicagoans are losing bucks due to traffic delays? Well, so are we -- but they have a median income of almost $51,000.
Then, there's the nasty cousin of rising gas prices: highway tolls. Florida is ranked as the state with the highest toll road mileage, meaning it doesn't matter where you go -- you're likely to be tolled everywhere. It's true that a SunPass will save you good money, but you've still gotta pay it!
5. Everyday there is a new roadblock. It could be a cool new festival rerouting traffic, complete with police checkpoints for miles. It could be a seemingly unnecessary three-lane cone-block on the southbound I-95, when you're just trying to get home from a Midtown party. Your problem might even be that your AC broke, and you tried rolling down your windows but it suddenly started raining!
Commuting in Miami means you're not just wasting hours of your life taking your foot on and off the brake pedal, you're also risking your life, progressively going broke, and elevating your stress levels to unimaginable heights. So, regardless of other cities' high rankings in traffic surveys, you are all entitled to bitch about traffic. Because, frankly, it fucking sucks.
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