Gas prices, commuting strains drivers

May 27, 2008 6:30:30 PM PDT
The pain at the pump is more severe in the Triangle than other cities in the country.

High gas prices paired with long commutes and traffic backups really have drivers feeling the pinch.

A new survey shows just how much in the capital city.

Forbes found Triangle commuters spend on average 35 hours a year stuck in rush hour traffic.

It might not sound like a lot but those delays are comparable to Philadelphia --a city that has more than five times as many people on the roadways.

"We've grown very quickly as a county from 2000 till now and unfortunately the infrastructure hasn't really kept up with the rapid growth we've experienced," Wake County Planning Director, Melanie Wilson said.

And to add to the frustration, rising gas prices and a work commute that get's longer each year. Few drivers are carpooling and just two percent take the bus or walk.

So is it surprising with so many people driving alone to work Raleigh ranks number two on Forbes' list of the worst commutes in small cities?

"When I first moved here I lived in North Raleigh and it was a minimum of 20 minute commute on a good day and it got worse every year," Cary resident, Bruce Bryan said. "I got tired of that and decided to move to walking distance of work."

"Its 63 miles one way and that is taking the shortest route of course," Driver, Shara Britt said. "I could leave home and get here sometime within 55 minutes. It definitely takes longer than that now, anywhere from 20 minutes to 30 to 40 more minutes, even if there aren't any accidents.

And just like at the pump, county planners say little relief is in sight, until commuters consider alternate transportation.

County planning officials say bus ridership has been up a bit and TTA is working on making bus routes more accessible to people in outlaying areas.


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