Labor Day: Expect Lots of Traffic

Heavy congestion due partly to cheaper gas

Break out the bikes and walking shoes. Or segways. Or skateboards. Or penny-farthings. Whatever, you break out, just stay out of your car this weekend.

According to an automotive lobbying group, car travel will jump by 11 percent this Labor Day weekend. That's four million Californians traveling over 50 miles. Of those, 3.5 million will drive, with the remainder riding trains, boats and buses. (Presumably, not all three at once.)

Why are so many people driving? It could be the low gas prices, which are down slightly since last year. Drivers in other countries are paying far more per gallon. Gas is about $7 in England and nearly $8 in Greece.

Parking lots at airports are expected to fill up quick, so you may want to hop on BART if you're taking a plane. And keep an eye on that storm brewing back east, which could disrupt flights.

Avoiding the crowds is easy enough, as long as you're willing to travel at night. Traffic reporter Joe McConnell advised, "Just don't go when everyone else does, which is in the afternoons Thursday, Friday or Monday."

And of course, you could just stay close to home. Relatively few events are planned in San Francisco this weekend and the weather is expected to be cold and dreary. The Giants are away and both the 49ers and the Raiders play Thursday night so crowds are expected to be thin. And unlike previous years, the Bay Bridge will remain open.

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