Recap: I have been relocated to the San Jose area after living in Arizona for 11+ years. I grew up here, so I am not too shocked at what we have come back to. Today I will offer my observations of the commute, and the drivers, particularly how they have changed in the last 11 years.
When we left California in 2003, we lived in a small condo in South San Jose, near 101 and Bernal Road. I was fortunate that I worked at Cisco then, and I was able to ride the Light Rail end to end. About 45 minutes, restful, and it was paid for by Cisco.
Alas, I am not so lucky this time. We are not far from where we used to live, but I work in a pretty unaccessible spot by transit (well, not inaccessible, but it requires at least two bus legs and a lengthy light rail trip). Shortest travel time is 1:56, the most convenient connections is 2:17 in transit. And my employer doesn’t pick up the monthly pass.
So I get to drive in every day. Since I am a morning person, the trip in isn’t too bad unless something gets fouled up (accident). Blossom Hill north to 85, 85 to 17 (pretty smooth except for a minor bottleneck at Almaden Expressway), then north on 17 (at the speed limit or above) to 280 then to Lawrence Expressway. About 13 minutes, and leaving at 7:00 it takes about 25 minutes. Not bad.
Going home, well, it plain sucks. It can take 25 minutes to get on to 280 south, then near speed limit to 17 south, and a long wait to get through the metering lights onto 85 north.
Sadly, there seems to be frequent accidents near Almaden Expressway on 85. Why do people not pay attention on the road?
My drive is a rockin’ S2000 Honda sports car. It is amazingly fun to drive, and it is like a go-cart on steroids. But it has downsides. Being a ragtop, it is loud so I really can’t take calls on the road (even with a hands free headset). Also, being a sports car, it has very stiff suspension.
My commute is often me crawling along at 15 mph, clutching and shifting between 1st and 2nd gear. It is less than fun.
I am beginning to wonder if it is time to get into a more comfortable commute car. Alas, until we buy a house, I am pretty much stuck.