The commute in San Francisco Bay Area is obscene. It’s gridlock. It’s killing people’s spirits and driving people to leave the area.

For many, the morning drive into Silicon Valley starts at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. The morning commute doesn’t die down until 11 or 11:30 a.m. By 1:30 pm, the gridlock starts anew as commuters begin heading home. The commute traffic begins to let up about 7:30 or 8:00 p.m.

It’s not uncommon for it to take 60-90 minutes to drive 12 miles. It’s maddening.

Whereas Silicon Valley building architecture in the early 80’s was marked with single story, two story and and an occasional three story building, today we see 8-10 story buildings being built with multi-story parking garages nearby. Doesn’t anyone see the correlation between building densities and the commute traffic logjam? Hello!!!

Our highway infrastructure lags the need and always will. We never think about how far away something is; we talk about how long it takes to get there. And, that time can change in a heartbeat if there is rain or an accident. If there’s a fatal accident, traffic can be backed up for up to 8 hours while the police “investigate.” Do we really need all the investigation time? I think not. Someone needs to look at that to find out what tangible benefits there are from blocking major traffic arteries for hours on end.

Does anyone believe that the Silicon Valley daily commute is a huge source of stress and anxiety?

The solution to traffic gridlock is to not only to not create megastructures to house all these employees but to rely on technology to meet and collaborate ending the commute burden all together. A single-direction commute of 1-2 hours each day really isn’t worth the time and trouble not to mention the lost productivity.

We have technological solutions. Why isn’t Silicon Valley embracing technology to tackle this problem? Isn’t technology “what we do?”

Thought for the week:

“It is not work that kills men, it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more on a man than he can bear. But worry is rust upon the blade. It is not movement that destroys the machinery, but friction.” – Henry Ward Beecher

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What do you think? I welcome your comments! Dave Gardner
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Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, blogger and author based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner has focused on making the complex simple. He can be reached through his website, www.DaveGardner.biz, or via phone at +1 408-475-7068.

2 Comments

Hanna · December 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Most people can ride a bike 12 miles in 1 hour. Riding a bike has multiple benefits to everyone that helps release stress and anxiety, improve health and gives a feeling like you have more direct physical control over how fast you get to work. I wonder how many people are driving a car on a sunny day 12 miles and taking 1 hour? This car traffic gridlock is insane.

There are more options that cost less and have multiple benefits. Building separate bike paths is much cheaper than building 10 story parking garages and more highways.

Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner · December 13, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Great response. I’ve seen the vibrant bike community in Eugene, OR, and have to agree, there’s a real commitment to make it work. Thanks, Hanna!

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