Ah, rush hour.
We all love to bitch poetic about our city's nasty gridlock, bemoan the never ending stop-and-go that is US1 and whine about the stagnant mess that is 836, but the truth is, we've got it good. Other cities face traffic nightmares so horrific that a life without wheels starts to look pretty damn appealing.
Here's why we need to thank our lucky stars we've got our wheels down in the Magic City.
1. Miami delays are a cakewalk compared to our crowded competitors. According to the 2011 Urban Mobility Report, Washington DC and Chicago tie for the worst traffic delays. SoCal cities came in third. Why does that mean, exactly? Commuters in those god-forsaken cities spend an average 70 hours per year stuck in traffic. Miami didn't even rank. We bet your 25 minute commute is looking pretty rosy right now.
2. We don't have to empty our piggy banks just to battle gridlock. Chicago drivers lose an average of $1,738 due to delays, and DC drivers waste 57 gallons of gas a piece, according to the report. So while citizens of those costly cities are turning their pockets inside out just to pay rent, they're also wasting serious mulah just trying to get around. Bummer.
3. Gas prices could be worse -- a lot worse. Yeah, they still suck, but compared to LA, New York, or Honolulu, Miami's a bargain basement. According to GasBuddy.com, LA's currently averaging $4.03 per gallon, Honolulu $4.11, and NYC $3.91, while Miami sits at $3.72 - a good 30 cents lower. Citizens in those money-sucking metropolises can say "so long" to pocket money as those prices continue to skyrocket.
4. Traffic actually moves here (most of the time). On a recent trip to LA, our host and I spent an epic hour on the road in bumper to bumper conditions. How far did we travel, you ask? A whopping three miles. Yep, just three. And that's not unusual. SoCal city-dwellers are forced to stay tethered to their hoods, Easterners never roaming west and vice versa. Here in Miami, we can stray from Wynwood to the Beach, Brickell to the Grove, in minutes -- not hours.
5. Our rides stay so fresh and so clean clean. Without snow, ice or much in the way of inclement weather to worry about, our jalopies last way longer and are far more comfy. Imagine scraping an inch of ice off your windshield, de-icing a frozen lock at 6 a.m., or being forced to "warm up" your ride for a half hour before you can drive it. Our worst worry is a possible afternoon rain shower for those cruising in convertibles.
So, next time you're bitching about asshole drivers on 95 or the seemingly endless stream of brake lights on US 1 (which we're totally guilty of), remind yourself that you could be driving your life away in LA, dealing with frozen locks in Chicago, or losing money on a rust bucket in Minneapolis. When you put it in perspective, we don't have it so bad.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.