Commuter Troubles Make Me Question Quality Of Life In The Big City

Living in a big city like Baltimore has lots of advantages. But there are days like yesterday that make me long for the quiet life out in the middle of nowhere. I joke with my family when the frustration mounts and talk about moving to “Kansas” (code name for the proverbial “home on the range”). Monday my half hour commute to work turned into two and a half hours as I was stuck in the Fort McHenry tunnel during a long traffic tieup on I-95.

The main problem had been caused by a horrific accident just North of the tunnel where a car had actually gone over the jersey wall on an elevated section of the interstate – falling about 50 feet. Two deaths apparently resulted. I left home maybe five minutes late and ended up entering the tunnel heading northbound just when the bottleneck was reaching a head.

The left tube was already shut down. I knew something major was brewing when I saw a motorcycle officer counting the number of cars he released into the right tube at one time. Once in the tunnel, things ground to a halt. It was eerie sitting in the tunnel for so long. Periodically motorcycle cops would motor up and down between the two lanes of traffic. There was another accident inside the right tube which further exacerbated the situation. When we finally emerged to the toll booth (I actually had to pay for this experience), I was dismayed to find traffic rerouted back south through the same tunnel (since I-95 was totally shut down). The ultimate indignity was being forced to pay again for the unwanted trip!

I quickly considered my alternate route options. Both the Harbor Tunnel and the north side of the beltway were reported bottled up so I chose the Key Bridge. Apart from some ongoing construction and lane closures the rest of the commute was thankfully uneventful … but it was definitely the most circuitous journey I have taken to get from point A to point B.