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Going Nowhere: Baltimore 17th Worst In Nation For Traffic Jams

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Going nowhere fast. We’ve all been there. Stuck in traffic.

Alex DeMetrick has details of a new report that counts up the hours we spend waiting to move.

Sometimes it does seem endless. And a national study confirms the hours spent stuck in traffic do add up.

The morning commute tends to bottleneck as it crawls into Baltimore. But getting to this point is no picnic.

Francisco Portillo says he gets stuck every morning.

“I drive every morning, like 695,” Portillo said.

“It’s pretty awful,” said Chelsea O’Connell, driver. “Just basically the beltway and 83; it’s just really rough.”

Just how rough is the focus of a national study of the time people spent stuck in traffic during 2013. In Maryland, it’s actually a sign of good news.

“It’s a product of the economy. So people are probably seeing as the economy improves, a bit more traffic congestion,” said Valeria Burnette Edgar, SHA spokesperson.

The study rates Baltimore’s traffic the 17th worst in the nation, leaving drivers sitting 27 hours a year. The worst stretch is 695 from Park Heights to Loch Raven. The worst days and times are Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons.

More open road might be found with more mass transit between the suburbs and downtown.

Meanwhile, $200 million is being spent on new construction to improve travel times.

“Can’t get wider roads or new interchanges without construction,” Edgar said.

It’s worse in Washington, D.C., rated 10th in wait times of 40 hours per year.  And at number one is Los Angeles, where drivers spend 64 hours a year going nowhere.

State highways says there are ways to beat the traffic jams, such as driving off peak hours or telecommuting work from home–options that unfortunately aren’t open to most of us.

As bad as traffic is, state highways says it would be a lot worse if people weren’t using Marc trains or the Baltimore and D.C. Metros.

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