Why San Francisco (and pretty much any major city) sucks.

So, I was in San Francisco last week for a Car and Driver event, and I was painfully reminded how much city driving sucks.  It’s the horrific combination of hundreds of thousands of cars attempting to travel on 4 lane roads, stop lights every 50 meters, and pedestrians out the wazoo.  Not to mention tolls to enter and exit the city, and the catastrophe that happens when you realize you need to make a left instead of a right and you have to attempt to get across 5 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic or risk getting lost.

And honestly, there isn’t a way to fix it.  Yes, people using public transportation, walking, or walking to public transportation might help, but only minimally.  Perhaps I’ll have another post on why public transportation doesn’t work, but I digress.

  • If you happen to find yourself in a big-city-driving situation, never ever ever be in a hurry.  Make sure you leave LOTS of time to get where you’re going because there will most likely be a traffic jam, a crash, a long line at a toll, or some other disaster that will cause you to lose precious minutes of your life sitting in your car trying to find a decent radio station to listen to and moving at the blistering speed of 5 miles per hour.
  • You should also know where the hell you’re going.  Having a GPS system can only help so much.  If it doesn’t direct you very well, then you’ll end up getting on some other freeway that you didn’t want to be on and you’ll end up lost and in a bad part of the city.  If you have paper directions, include the maps.  If you have a navigator with you, make sure that communication is clear so that everyone can keep their cool and not ruin the day by being pissed at each other.
  • The native city driver is an aggressive one.  Watch out for them.
  • I would like to argue that health in cities is bad not from air pollution, but  rather it is caused by the stress of driving in such a shitty environment.

Yet some people absolutely love cities, and that’s all fine and dandy for them.  I am not a member of that cult, and I’m sure many others aren’t as well.  And sadly, many of the city-haters must drive in a city at some point.  Maybe there is a way to fix the horrible congestion on bridges in and out of cities.  I think that solution is probably driving at 2 in the morning, but that’s not very practical.  It’s just the nature of the beast.  I think here’s another place where the “Keep Calm and Drive On” picture could go…..