Golden Gate Bridge vs Bay Bridge, which will have worse traffic on a Friday afternoon?
June 12, 2008 11:57 PM   Subscribe

Golden Gate Bridge vs Bay Bridge, which will have worse traffic on a Friday afternoon?

I live in Potrero Hill, near the east side of San Francisco (close to Bay Bridge.) Tomorrow after work we're driving up to Healdsburg, Ca, which is some ways past Santa Rosa.

I've experienced godawful traffic getting onto the Bay Bridge, so I'm thinking maybe we'll drive across town to the Golden Gate Bridge and take that instead. But will traffic be equally bad there?

Google Maps says the Bay Bridge route is : 81.8 mi – about 1 hour 34 mins (up to 2 hours)
whereas the Golden Gate route is: 79.3 mi – about 1 hour 48 mins
with no estimate on traffic.

On the one hand I'm much closer to Bay Bridge, on the other hand traffic there is always hell. Do you think it's worth driving across town to avoid?
posted by jcruelty to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
You'll have just as bad traffic once you hit the two-laners up there as people try to head out for a long weekend, but, I'd try the GGB - the entrance to the Bay Bridge is the most horrific thing I've ever dealt with. Take Alabama or any of the other "side" streets north to cross Market and then pick up Franklin -> Marina -> GGB.

If you decide to go with the Bay Bridge, take 3rd to 2nd to the absolute last possible entrance. Don't be fooled and take 101 from that far south.. there's some terrible, terrible, mind-blowingly terrible merges in between PH and the 2nd/Bryant entrance path (just watch out for the short entrance lane!).
posted by kcm at 12:06 AM on June 13, 2008

Best answer: The traffic on 80 near Emeryville will probably be awful. 101 through Marin is probably better. Take the Golden Gate.
posted by sergent at 12:08 AM on June 13, 2008

sergent has it. While the bridge traffic may be comparable, the gridlock on 80 would kill you after you cross the Bay Bridge.
posted by junesix at 12:11 AM on June 13, 2008

Definitely GGB.
posted by fshgrl at 12:23 AM on June 13, 2008

Sorry. Meant to say definitely take the GGB.
posted by fshgrl at 12:24 AM on June 13, 2008

nthing the GGB unless you have three or more people and can take the carpool lane on 80 going north. Without that, stick with the golden gate, but don't be tempted to get there by the Embarcadero - that gets so clogged around the Ferry bldg, at 3 or 4 on Fridays it's not even funny.
posted by jasper411 at 12:29 AM on June 13, 2008

Laminar flow trumps turbulent at rush hour.

Golden Gate and 101 have fewer major merges than the Bay Bridge route.
posted by zippy at 12:50 AM on June 13, 2008

I drive North on 80 everyday from Emeryville to El Cerrito. Traffic is MUCH worse heading South on 80 into the maze. It's a bit slow heading North, but it's not gridlock - and it usually loosens up after the 580 exit in Berkeley.

You're likely gonna hit crappy traffic either way, tho you already know that.
posted by gnutron at 12:51 AM on June 13, 2008

Howdy neighbor!

Traffic's gonna be horrible either way.

But since Healdsburg is literally right next to 101, I'm puzzled as to why you (were) considering take 80 - were you going to 37 and cut over, or maybe 12? Because both of those routes will almost certainly be jammed on a Friday night as well, and they're both much smaller roads than either 80 or 101.

Northbound 101 traffic is going to be bad in stretches around San Rafael, Novato, Santa Rosa. It may also suck between those bad patches. Brings good music and a sense of humor.

Good luck, have fun, and have a glass of Racer X at Bear Republic for me! (It's a great brewery, and if you didn't know about it before, you should really go there this weekend!)
posted by rtha at 5:59 AM on June 13, 2008

Thought a little more about this - if you take 80, that requires crossing the Bay Bridge, and then either the Richmond Bridge (to get back to 101 N - I'd forgotten about cutting over on 580, obviously), or the Carquinez Bridge. So, one bridge at rush hour, or two.

It also depends a little on when you're leaving, though. If you're out the door at 5:30, both ways will suck. If you're leaving a little later - 7-ish, say - traffic on the Bay Bridge will definitely be lighter. I don't know about the Richmond Bridge, though. 101 northbound will still be fairly heavy, though.
posted by rtha at 6:36 AM on June 13, 2008

I'd say hit the GG bridge.
As soon as you get north of Novato, you're going to be doing the slow crawl all the rest of the way to Healdsburg.
Novato to Rohnert Park takes about 35 minutes on a average day. Rohnert Park to Healdsburg takes at least 30.

No matter which way you go, the worst part of your drive is unavoidable.
posted by whoda at 7:39 AM on June 13, 2008

As everyone says, they will both be terrible, and the trek up through Santa Rosa will continue to be slow. If you leave around 7:30 or 8, you'll probably get to Healdsburg with less hassle and headache, and not much later than if you leave at 6.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:51 AM on June 13, 2008

Yeah, I vote for GGB and leaving later. The traffic in Santa Rosa can be truly awful at rush hour.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:46 AM on June 13, 2008

Google Maps now offers time-based traffic predictions..

From here:

In the "Live Traffic" box in the upper right, click on "change" and pick Friday, 5pm.. According to them, looks like going the GGB route is going to be better..

That said, from my experience, traffic around Santa Rosa sucks on a Friday (and starts as early as 3pm) so I'm another vote for leaving later, if possible.
posted by dennis at 10:54 AM on June 13, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice guys! I guess I will try to leave later, through GGB.
posted by jcruelty at 11:25 AM on June 13, 2008

Response by poster: Post script: we left at 7:30 & went over GG. No traffic problems. For the return trip left at 6:30 back to SF. No traffic problems.
posted by jcruelty at 11:11 AM on June 16, 2008

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