Comment of the Day: Inner Loop Traffic Scare

COMMENT OF THE DAY: INNER LOOP TRAFFIC SCARE “I’m always surprised at the people in the Houston metro area who live in the suburbs in order to avoid scary traffic. To me, the traffic in the commercial centers of the suburbs is just as bad, if not worse, than what I encounter within the Loop. My boss dropped me off at home once, with the surprised comment that ‘wow, you can drive from the Med Center to the Heights without going on the highway’. Then proceeded to tell me that the reason he lived in Sugarland was that his wife was terrified of highway driving. I still don’t get it.” [Sunsets, commenting on Sub-Suburban SUV Adventure: Braving That Big Trip “Downtown”]

12 Comment

  • Highway 6 running from Sugarland through Kingwood is one of if not the deadliest streets in the Houston area, for car, bicycles and pedestrians.

  • That’s because it can’t decide if it’s a highway or a surface arterial. (And the drivers can’t decide either.)

  • It’s amazing how little most Houstonians know about getting around within the loop. Since moving here a few years ago, I have found it extremely easy and fast to get around inside the loop using the criss-crossing freeways.

    It’s sorta like outer space: you just have to know where the wormholes are.

  • I haven’t driven outside the loop (except to visit my Mom) in more than 20 years and all I can say is it has saved me a lot of heartache.

  • That’s why they call it sub-urban.

  • I was thinking the same thing, MikeRG, that it’s like outer space.

  • It doesn’t matter if you live inside the loop or in the suburbs, the drivers in Houston are the worst in the country (that includes Florida, with its elderly population). I have driven/lived in most major markets, and it is horrible here.

    A few tips:
    1. The left lane is for passing, not cruising at 10 below the speed limit.
    2. Just because you turn on your turn signal, does not mean it is ok to change lanes without looking.
    3. When the light turns red, STOP.
    4. Put down the cell phone.
    5. Stop feeding your face while driving.
    6. A four way stop requires patience. You actually have to wait your turn before entering the intersection. The car to the right has the right of way.

    Simple driving tips to solve the horrific driving in Houston.

  • I live in the burbs.
    I say “I’m going into town” when heading into the 770-zip-zones… Sounds quaint don’t you think?! (like I’m hitchin up the mules to the buckboard for the monthly excursion to buy supplies)
    More specifically, I’ll say Downtown, Montrose, Museums, Hobby, Down-by-that-Corn-Maze, Galleria, for example. My kids knew the areas of Houston in this way.

    About half my neighbors work in Houston & the other half think it’s nuts to drive there for a meal or a show. But it seems ALL innerloopers I meet think my area is a useless wasteland – talk about snobbery, man! I have an affordable piece of property, know my neighbors, can see the stars at night, and, my dog can jog down the road to visit her buddy. Not a bad quality of life.

    Years ago, I decided to live where I recreated, and thus commute to work, rather than to do the reverse… It’s just a choice. I’m still a cool person – just live in a whole other zip-code.

    Oh btw the worst ever traffic is where an old Farm-to-Market meets an Interstate: Slow old-timers, nutsoid duallys, OTR truckers and impatient commuters collide – too often *literally* on not enough lanes.

  • Detroit 1, what if two cars are facing each other, arrive at the same time, and one wants to turn. cue road rage or accident. 4 way stops are one of the least efficient ways to regulate traffic possible. Every vehicle has to come to a COMPLETE stop, whether there’s another car there or not, then start again in first gear, the least efficient gear in the car. Multiply that across all the cars in Houston and you have a huge waste of gas. This city needs more traffic circles/roundabouts!

  • I like traffic circles.

  • Mike, totally true. I live in the Loop, and it’s kind of interesting how there are 5 or 6 different routes to get to any particular place. Depending on the time of day – if it’s rush hour, etc – I may take route 1, or route 2, or route 3, etc. Just to go across town.

    As you pointed out, it’s about knowing the shortcuts. Zipping around the loop is fairly easy.

  • I lived in Clear Lake for 12 years, then moved into the loop last summer – heights area. I completely agree with the post. The traffic is MUCH better in the loop than in Clear Lake. Navigating Bay Area Boulevard in Clear Lake on the weekends to get to the mall/shopping was a nightmare. For the last several years I lived there I refused to drive around Clear Lake after 11 AM on weekends. The grid system of the streets in the loop keeps congestion way down compared to the master planned communities of the burbs with limited entry/exit points.

    However, there are advantages to the burbs. I did feel safer in the burbs. I do not have kids, but if I did schools would be an issue up here. Not everyone can afford private school.