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Cape Cod Commission's Traffic Study

Cape Cod Commission's Traffic Study

Ice cream, trips to the beach, a splash in a pond. Cape fun. Except for the traffic tie-ups that make it almost impossible to get anywhere in August. While you are sitting in your internet-connected house, rental cottage, or tent (hey, even campgrounds on the Cape are offering free Wi-Fi these days), visit the Cape Cod Commission’s transportation report from 2008.

Some interesting tidbits:

The average annual daily traffic count for both Sagamore and Bourne Bridges in 2008 was 93,415.  In the summer, that number was closer to 123,346. Motor vehicles, that is.  Crossing the bridges. Every day.

Those numbers were down slightly from 2007. Traffic throughout the Cape was lighter last year by 3.18 percent than it was in 2007. Did we all suddenly get greener? Probably not. Anybody remember the price of gasoline per gallon in August 2008?

In 1978, the annual daily traffic count over the bridges was 50,566. That jumped to 82,380 in the summer season. Those old enough to remember Cape summers 30 years ago will have a visceral appreciation of this statistic. Can you feel that the number of cars coming onto the Cape has more than doubled?

Even with the overall rise in traffic, the one part of the Cape that has experienced a decrease in traffic volume is the Outer Cape. Hard to believe as you are sitting on Rte. 6 by the Wellfleet Drive-In, no?  But it’s true. From 1998 to 2008, average traffic counts fell 1.32 per cent.

The best time of day for traffic? 3 AM. The worst? 3 PM.

Did you know that your tax dollars have been put to work counting the numbers of baby carriages on Cape Cod bike paths? I couldn’t make this up. See the appendices.

As for an appreciation of the absurd, I read in James C. O’Connell’s Becoming Cape Cod: Creating a Seaside Resort (Hanover and London: University of New Hampshire/University Press of New England, 2003), 115, of a scheme to build a coastal parkway around the outside of the National Seashore.  Planner and developer Van Ness Bates wanted to create a 17-mile “Inland Sea Parkway” linking Chatham, Eastham, and Truro, as well as a “Bayshore Parkway” from Truro back through Wellfleet.  The idea was to allow visitors to enjoy the Cape from inside their cars.

Now you just think about that when you are trying to get from here to there.

PS: If you want to torment school-age children, tell them you won’t feed them any more French fries or salt water taffy until they put rate x time = distance to work on the Cape Cod Commission’s Congestion Management Report.  I dare you.


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