Traffic Drop Of 10% Makes World Of Difference After Freeway Collapse

<p>A freeway collapse in the San Francisco Bay Area dramatically changed commuter patterns this week, and also caused a spike in public transit ridership, giving BART a record-breaking tally of passengers.</p>
May 3, 2007, 2pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"The number of BART commuters was up 10.4 percent Tuesday and 5.2 percent Wednesday morning."

"There were fewer cars on the road, and those that were there seemed to be traveling earlier, according to data collected by Berkeley Transportation Systems, a small company that analyzes freeway-flow data for Caltrans."

"'It doesn't seem like travel times were getting worse; in fact, in some cases, they actually seemed to be getting better,' said Karl Petty, an engineer who heads the company."

"Usually on weekday mornings, about 30,000 cars pass along the section of Interstate 580 going toward the MacArthur Maze. That westbound stretch is unaffected by the freeway collapse. On Monday morning, nearly 7,000 fewer cars passed through that stretch -- a drop of 22 percent. The volumes dropped by 15 percent on Tuesday and 11 percent on Wednesday, according to data from Caltrans' Freeway Performance Management System."

"'Getting rid of 10 percent of the traffic can totally eliminate the congestion,' Petty said."

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Published on Thursday, May 3, 2007 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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