Skip to content

Driving in circles

My daughter’s and my entire life revolves almost exclusively around 20 square blocks of Cambridge, Somerville, and part of Boston. Our primary modes of transit are walking, biking, taking the bus or T, and occasionally driving when necessary.

This week has been different. My daughter is in special day camp in Winchester and my mom is taking the train to Philadelphia.

This is what I did on Monday:


Trip started in Somerville, proceeded to Winchester to drop off daughter, on to Concord via Rte 128 to pick up mother, from there to train station in Westwood to drop mother off, and then back into town via Rte 93 and 3. Traffic was sluggish on Rte 93 north and there were bad traffic jams on Rte 128 and Rte 3. Total trip time 3.25 hours.

On Tuesday the circle was in the other direction:


First was the warm-up trip to Winchester and then back to Cambridge; from there proceeded to Newton for afternoon conference at BC, after which I tackled the 128 ‘C’ up to Winchester to pick up daughter and then back to Somerville. Exacerbated by rain and hail, the traffic on 128 slowed to a crawl. Trying to skirt some of the horror, I cut off to Rte 3A south only to run into a bumper-to-bumper parking lot from Woburn to Winchester, and adding insult to injury: 93 South was jammed going in to town at 6:15 in the evening. Total trip time 2.45 hours.

Today is Wednesday and I am driving the streets with constant homicidal urges and barely constrained civility. Rte 93 at 8:45 am will do this to a person, as will Rte 128 at 5:15 pm and Rte 3A south at 5:45. I do not understand how people can drive these roads day after day and remain halfway sane.

{ 5 } Comments

  1. Mary | June 27, 2008 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    You see, Molly, that’s just it… we Northerners lost our sanity a long, long time ago! Its the price we pay for living in the ‘burbs!

  2. stacy | June 27, 2008 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I feel compelled to comment for a couple of reasons.

    1. I think this would make an interesting art project. If you took the red lines from your maps, removed them from the map context, and transposed them on a white piece of paper, and compared your routes over the course of a month or so, that would be pretty neat. And eye opening.

    2. How did Rada end up in a camp out in the burbs? Are you going to have to get her there and back every day this summer?

    3. This is exactly why I LOVE my new commute. I do still drive, even though my commute it bikeable. The combination of daycare dropoff and me not owning a bike (and being too much of a wimp to ride in traffic) still makes me dependent on my car, but I only need to fill the tank once every three or four weeks, which is great for one who lives in the outer burbs.

  3. Molly | June 27, 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Hi Stacy,
    1. Cool idea!
    2. I drive her to this camp because she adores it. Its only two weeks of the summer, the rest is at a camp intown. Fortunately my current employer is flexible about the added commute for those few weeks.
    3. So glad that you’re not battling the highways!

  4. Molly | June 27, 2008 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Mary, I think I understand now why you come in to work early and leave early. I hope that is allows you to miss a bit of the insanity!

  5. Mary | June 27, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Stacy, you’re so creative! Oh, what I would do to only have to fill my gas tank once every 3-4 weeks. Though I did go back to taking the highway into work and I do notice a small (very small) difference from when I was taking the back roads.