San Francisco

San Francisco Ranks 5th in the World for Worst Traffic Congestion: Study

This probably comes as no surprise to drivers who spend hours behind the wheel in San Francisco.

The City by the Bay was ranked as the fifth-worst city in the world and third-worst in the nation when it came to traffic congestion in 2017, according to a new study. Los Angeles topped the list, followed by Moscow, New York City and Sao Paulo, Brazil, respectively.

For folks in San Francisco, roughly 12 percent of their driving time in 2017 was spent dealing with congestion, according to the study. Drivers also spent 79 peak hours stuck in congestion.

"It has gotten horrible since other technology companies have come into the area," commuter Lasjon Blacksher said. "It’s almost unbearable. And it doesn’t matter what time of day or what day of the week. It’s just unbearable."

John Goodwin, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said the Bay Area traffic narrative has always been gnarly. With no more land to build out, the strategy becomes laser-focused on accelerating improvements from within, he said.

"So the challenge before us is to use our existing infrastructure more efficiently," Goodwin said.

The MTC wants to expand traffic metering lights on freeway on-ramps, create more express lanes and launch a Bay Bridge Forward initiative that involves enforcing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and creating new bus lanes.

Goodman said some of those strategies are already working.

Sheryl Guillory, who commutes from Pleasanton across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, said her commute would be double the length without the new pay-to-play toll lanes installed in 2016.

"I’m a user of the express lane," she said. "I will pay to get there faster."

SF Muni and BART also could be looking at beefed-up supplies. A bridge toll hike slated for the June ballot would pour billions of dollars into public transit.

"I’m willing to pay a lot more for tolls on bridges, for public transportation," BART commuter Mike Simmons said. "We take it all the time. We couldn’t live in San Francisco without quality public transportation."

Bottleneck points such as the Highway 101-Interstate 280 split in San Francisco also would be beneficiaries of funds from the bridge toll measure.

As for the rankings, San Francisco did actually drop overall compared to the year before. Back in 2016, San Francisco was dubbed as the fourth-worst city in the world for congestion.

The INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard study took a look at congestion statistics for 1,360 cities in 38 different countries.

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