I have to admit, I’m a slave to repetition. I develop a habit and it takes extensive amounts of time to break myself of these habits. This used to be the case with commuting. When I first started working in Baltimore City I commuted from Severn, MD. I really wouldn’t consider it a long commute because it was a quick hop on to Rt. 295 and then in to the city to work at the Univ. of Maryland. I did the drive for a few years and traffic was a mess one way or another, I kept driving the same routes though, rarely deviating. I just suffered through it. I look back now and realize how many countless hours I wasted, just sitting in traffic staring at break lights.
I moved in to the city and commuted through the city for a few years, still doing the same thing, sitting in traffic, a creature of habit. I developed my bad habit for not deviating from my route and sat in the never ending line of break lights. I eventually stopped driving to work because my car was a piece of junk and was not consistent. I rode my bike through the city to work for a little over two years. Riding a bicycle through the streets of Baltimore actually forced me to learn to deviate and change my route based on traffic and weather. Over the course of the two years riding my bicycle through the streets of Baltimore, the biggest change I had come to learn was that all-in-all the city is not that big. It’s big in terms of physical size but when you start to look at the structure of the city and how things connect, its a very simple layout and a very easy city to traverse.
I’ve moved back to the county after getting married and am back to commuting. The drive is definitely much worse than riding my bicycle to work. I miss riding my bike, not just for the ease of the commute but also for the health benefits. It’s also cheaper and easier in terms of parking and traveling through the city. Time and effort I save through the year riding my bike makes up for a few days of getting caught in the rain or snow.
The point of this post is to emphasis that being stuck in a traffic rut is not healthy mentally and physically. This does nothing but cause mental stress and frustration as well as force you to sit in frustration.
So I started leaving the city through Martin Luther King Blvd, taking it to rt 295 and then taking that to 695 where I would then get on route 10 south bound to get home. My commute in the mornings takes me a half hour to forty five minutes. My commute home can be upwards of an hour and a half. I have a feeling that this is due to most people coming in a little later, working through their lunch, and then all leaving at the same time. The problem with taking rt 295 to 695 is that there is only one on ramp to 695 east and the line will queue up because of traffic on 695 east as well as people trying to skip ahead of the line. I dealt with this for a few months but started to find that it was extremely tedious and frustrating.
I changed my route to taking MLK to 95 south bound and then taking 695 east. This was a little better but I still got caught up in the mix with 295/695 and the horrid merge structure. On a whim I decided to give Rt 2 a shot. The tricky part with Rt 2 is that its a lot of lights and local streets. Fortunately the light structure on Rt 2 is much better than the traffic on the highways. I leave out of the city on Russel St and then get off right at M&T Bank Stadium, where MLK and Russel St. merge. I follow the side road down and then under 295/Russel St. on to W. Ostend St. W. Ostend St. will take you through Federal Hill and eventually to S. Hanover St. which runs straight in to Rt 2 Ritchie Hwy. Taking Rt. 2 Ritchie Hwy all the way down to the Broadneck Peninsula is one option but then you deal with a lot of lights. The alternative is to get on Rt. 10 from W. Ordnance Rd. which will bypass a lot of the lights and then eventually put you back on Ritchie Hwy.
My routes will continue to change as traffic patterns change. I really wish the merge on to 695 to 295 was better. My commute and sanity would be much better if I could just get to route 10 easily. It is not easy though, there are constant frustrations and traffic build ups that have no reason. Maybe some day state highway will improve the 295 to 695 exit, until then enjoy queuing up!