Let’s Talk Traffic

Many people warned me about the traffic as I prepared to move to Houston. Oh, how horrible the traffic would be! And after moving here, I was asked how I handled the traffic.

I’ve been living in Cypress and driving around the Houston area for about nine months. Yes, the traffic is different, but I don’t consider Houston traffic horrible. All the same, permit me to share my observations:

  1. There are many alternate routes. I love my GPS and its ability to suggest different routes, even as I am en route. The multitude of alternate routes decreases the traffic.
  2. There are feeder roads along most major highways. Drivers use continuous these frontage roads to transition from local roads to the highways. Oh, and the highways are often high, as in well off the ground!
  3. The ‘Texas turnaround’ uses said feeder roads to turn around. There is a designated lane for U-turns on these feeder roads.
  4. I notice fewer drivers use their turn signals. Perhaps this is a global phenomenon, but it’s more obvious when others change lanes without warning.
  5. A number of drivers have mastered what we like to call “threading the needle.” They cruise along at 80 MPH or so in the left lane until about 1/4 mile before their exit, then beautifully (if terrifyingly) glide across four lanes of traffic and exit.

    Yes, moving to a new city always requires some adjustments. Traffic is different in Houston, but not necessarily worse. Traffic can be very heavy (the above photos were taken on a recent rush-hour traffic trip from Cypress to The Woodlands for a weeknight dinner). In general, I avoid the standard rush-hour times. I usually get around Cypress in under 30 minutes and to central Houston in under an hour. And I don’t spend the whole trip bemoaning the traffic!


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