If you find yourself grumbling less during your commute these days, there's good reason. For many Sacramento commuters, the route to work is not nearly as crowded as a few years ago.
While Sacramento commuters spend on average 24 hours a year stuck in traffic, that's better than in most urban areas, and it's a smoother commute than drivers here have had since 1993, a new report shows.
The main reason, however, isn't a happy one.
Commute-period congestion peaked in Sacramento in 2005 and 2006 at 35 congested hours per year on average, then tailed off as the recession hit, according to a report published today by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.
Furloughs, layoffs, lack of construction, and fewer delivery trucks on the road are key contributors to more free-flowing commutes, local officials said.
"Traffic is a direct reflection of jobs, housing and growth in the region," said Jim Calkins, a Sacramento area official with the state Department of Transportation. "We're still in recovery mode."
Calkins said Sacramento freeways continued to see less congestion in 2010. The Texas report was based on 2009 data.
Commuter John Almanza has noticed. His morning drive on Interstate 5 from Franklin to work in downtown Sacramento is 10 to 15 minutes faster these days.
He figures it isn't going to last, but is enjoying it for now.
"It's quite pleasant," Almanza said. "Everyone is flowing at about 70 mph. It makes for an easy morning."
To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.