Iím Nichole, and this is my first entry for you on ďRoads and RailsĒ. If you hadnít guessed, Iíll be discussing commuter issues that affect you daily on your rides to and from home, however you decide to do it (within reason - I canít help you if you parasail in or take a hot air balloon - thatíll be something for the FAA to advise on).
Who am I? Iím a local traffic reporter and news anchor who is also a transit geek. Iím New England born and raised (go Sox!) and back in Boston after years of doing the radio thing in various area markets, including Portland, Manchester/Portsmouth, and Hartford.
Admittedly, this is my first time professionally blogging, but Iím excited and I canít wait to have your feedback and thoughts about all things commuting. Watch for posts every Monday, when Iíll answer your commuting questions, and Fridays, when Iíll have all the latest information on road construction, detours, new projects, and more. Drop me a line anytime by using the form over in the right column.
Speaking of, let's get started ...
The Cape Escape
ďI recently moved to the area and decided to make a trip to the Cape for a weekend of fun and exploration. The traffic, though, was absolutely terrifying when I tried to leave work on Friday to make the trip! Is this a common thing? What can I do to avoid the terrible backups?Ē
- Melissa, Quincy
Itís the time of year that makes or breaks a New England traffic professional - Cape Cod traffic season. (Cue dramatic music here.) Melissa, we normally encounter difficult traffic for the weeks directly surrounding Memorial Day, but the worst of it is yet to come, believe it or not. After the public schools let out, many families will then have more leeway to head to the Cape for weeks at a time -- thatís when we encounter the worst backups. And fewer snow days this year, we could start to see those bumps up in traffic as early as next week.
So if youíre going to go enjoy some quality beach time, whenís the best time to go? I recommend, if you can, leaving early Friday morning or Saturday after 2 p.m.
Friday afternoons are notoriously bad, and there have been delays getting over the bridges until 10 or 11 p.m. sometimes. Saturday mornings arenít much better; most people say, ďOh, Iíll just wait it out and go Saturday when everyoneís already there.Ē But in reality, lots of other people are thinking the same thing.
When to come home? I would suggest Sunday between 4 and 6 p.m. while everyoneís having one last dinner, or after 9 p.m.. Donít forget that most rentals on the Cape are from Saturday to Saturday, so youíre going to find the worst of it in BOTH directions on those days. Route 6 westbound coming off the Cape gets gummed up on Saturdays for most of the morning into the afternoon because of this.
Take Route 6A coming off-Cape as a quick cut-over to the Sagamore Bridge. You can usually avoid some of the heavier delays that can back up beyond Exit 2, which is a four-mile backup from the bridge.
If traffic is clogged back beyond Exit 2, there's a service road that runs parallel to Route 6 starting at Exit 6 (Route 132) all the way to Exit 2 (Route 130), at which point you can drive north on 132 to Route 6A for the rest of the way to the Sagamore.
Not too many good shortcuts that I know of coming off-Cape to get to the Bourne Bridge, but toss me a line if you know of any and I will feature them here next time. Sandwich Road and the Scenic Highway run along the canal and are quick go-betweens from the Bourne to the Sagamore, but they donít help much when traffic is really at its worst.
Another good alternative could be to take a ferry. If youíre coming from Boston or Plymouth, there's frequent service to Provincetown. Check out some options here.
Also, Zipcar just started up service in P-town, so if you really want to go the car-free route (at least getting there), you can take the ferry there and then rent a Zipcar by the hour or day (visit the Zipcar site to sign up first).
The Plymouth and Brockton bus line also runs close to hourly to the Cape. And of course, thereís also the Cape Cod Black Bear route, although I don't endorse swimming across the canal Ö
Let me know if you have any tips or tricks that Iíve left out here.
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