Today is the day to pack your patience if you are driving back to San Jose from your beach vacation.
Tomorrow students and most government employees are due back after the Christmas and New Years break. This translates into one of the heaviest traffic days of the year.
The road most dreaded is Route 27, the main artery from the Central Pacific Coast to San Jose and the Central Valley. This project was touted as a way to alleviate traffic and cut the driving time to and from the beach. In part because of the dramatic increase in automobiles as well as the design of the privately run road, driving times can be as bad as they ever were.
While often referred to as Highway 27 its is really just a two lane road with an assortment of “passing zones” which could also could be called “drive as fast as you can zones.”
There is also the issue of accidents, which can shut down the road completely until the transit police arrive to take their report. Combined, this is a recipe for a potential disaster for your last vacation day. In my experience, if you see the street vendors selling their wares before you see the first toll station, you are in trouble.
By the way, the rates went up for the right to use this road just yesterday ( Happy New Year!).
Hopefully this year will not be as bad as prior ones where drivers have spent 10 hours in traffic for what is typically a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive.
Not long ago I had to come back on a Sunday after the Easter break and encountered the street vendors walking through the line of cars for the first toll almost a half a kilometer from the gate. I decided to cut through San Mateo and take the old road (El Aguacate) to San Jose.
At least it is a scenic drive, I thought. To my surprise I did not see a car in front of me until I hit the highway taking one into San Jose!
Dumb luck? Maybe, but it is an option if you are on your way back to San Jose today.