Bostonians have a lot to endure in July and August, from 95-degree heat waves to the New York Yankees. Historically, the endless crawl on Route 6 through Cape Cod was one of these seasonal nuisances. But this past Fourth of July weekend set a new standard for adversity: a traffic jam of almost-Biblical proportions, which tied up drivers for longer than six hours in some places.
As Boston grows, more and more people will be traveling to the Cape in the summertime, reveling in the natural beauty, the seaside towns, the shark-spotting. But adding more cars to Cape traffic has the potential to make six-hour delays a weekly phenomenon. Can we encourage tourism on Cape Cod without overloading the area's already strained infrastructure? Should we invest in public transport to the Cape to encourage people not to drive? Or can we get creative with the resources we have? Below are some ideas for innovative solutions to this looming problem. Add yours to the comments, or tweet them at #CapeCodTraffic.
Why race down on weekends when you can go mid-week?
At HubSpot, we believe your vacation days should be spent relaxing, not in bumper to bumper traffic on the Sagamore Bridge, so all year long, we give our employees the flexibility to optimize their schedule for work results instead of face time. Being able to store and share data in the cloud, and tools like GoToMeeting, have changed how we live and work. Doing your job well is no longer dependent on physically being at work as the office becomes more of an “idea” and less of a “place.” We take this shift seriously at HubSpot; our employees have an unlimited vacation ‘policy’, but in turn we hire exceptional people and expect them to create remarkable results. The result: employees spend more time solving problems on behalf of our customers and less time worrying about being able to leave by 4 to beat traffic.
Brian Halligan @bhalligan
Stop kidding yourself
Remind me to never leave the cape and expect to get back in the 45 minutes it should take on a Saturday afternoon #capecodtraffic 🚙🚗🚕😡— Caitlyn Fitzpatrick (@CaitSavFitz) July 21, 2012
New train routes reduce traffic
This year, the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority has sponsored the CapeFlyer, a new train service that operates on summer weekends from South Station to Hyannis, making travel easier and more enjoyable while reducing congestion and greenhouse gases. The cost is reasonable: just $20 dollars one way from Boston to Hyannis. It’s a special opportunity for people to visit Cape Cod, but it is not just a novelty. It is a reliable, safe, and punctual way of getting to where you need to go. Some have asked if we should extend the season or provide more weekly service. We have focused on making sure that the service that we have promised – seasonal, weekend rail – is successful and fiscally responsible before we consider next steps. In September, we will work with business leaders, elected officials and state partners to determine what should be offered going forward.
Thomas Cahir @capeFLYER
Administrator, Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority
Look to the past for future solutions
Connect existing rail lines and build new ones so that residents and tourists alike could travel from Provincetown to Hyannis to Boston without ever getting near to a road. The biggest obstacle is right of way issues, which communities should be able to work together on to overcome. It's how the region was built up in the first place. And it's the obvious fix for its future too.
Rob Anderson @rcand
Owner of the Canteen Restaurant in Provincetown, Former Globe Opinion Writer
Keep things in perspective
All choices have pros and cons
I also traveled from PTown to the South End on Sunday. It took 2 hours door to door. How? A magical new technology called a boat. The Cape is actually much more accessible without a car than most vacation places. What people don't realize is that if you live in some far-flung suburb and buy a house in some remote Cape town, that's a choice, and like all choices there are pros and cons. One con is that a car is the only way to get there and that means sitting in traffic sometimes. For me the con is living in a smaller city space. The difference is that I don't act like the cons from my choices are an emergency that the government needs to step in and fix.
Boston Globe comment
Stay sane, my friends
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