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Getting Unstuck on the Bridge

October 9 2015


For commuters who use the Little Bay Bridges, the daily drive is often frustrating, expensive, and unhealthy. And when there’s an accident, it’s infinitely worse. Unfortunately this problem won’t be solved until at least 2020, the projected completion date for the bridge construction project.

Consider ten evils of traffic congestion:
1. Stress and frustration from arriving late to work or wanting to get home and relax
2. Lost time, wages, and productivity
3. Wear and tear on vehicle from idling and frequent braking and accelerating
4. Exposure to dense concentration of hazardous emissions
5. Expense of gas – stop and start driving burns fuel at a higher rate
6. Air pollution which leads to global warming
7. Health and safety risk when emergency vehicles cannot get through congestion quickly
8. Likelihood of collision due to tight spaces and stop and go driving
9. Road rage
10. Waste of personal time

What to do? How can we improve our quality of life and ensure the economic vitality in the Seacoast?
The field of TDM (Traffic Demand Management) suggests that we focus on the demand side of this problem – whittling away the number or frequency of people driving alone to work.

We have easy and affordable options that can be used daily or occasionally. If everyone used an alternative to driving alone on the Route 16 corridor even just one or two days a week, we could significantly reduce the traffic congestion. Here are some ways to tame this beast:

1) Carpool. A tried and true strategy used successfully for decades. It could be with a family member, neighbor, co-worker, or a carpool buddy you find through the ridesharing data base (free, confidential, no obligation).

2) Take the bus. COAST buses travel this commuting corridor all day delivering passengers from Rochester, Somersworth, and Dover to Newington and Portsmouth. If you live in Rochester and work at Pease from 8-5, the COAST Route 20 express bus is a no brainer!

3) Ride your bicycle. Incorporate exercise into your day — hop on your bike and enjoy the scenic ride over the General Sullivan Bridge thru Newington to Portsmouth. Arrive at work energized and happy.

4) Telework. Could you work from home a day or two? If your job, personal work style and manager allow it, what a great way to get your job done and keep the car parked.

5) Flex-time or compressed work week. If we’re not all driving at the same time, the traffic congestion will be reduced.
In the current Pease B2B Commuter Challenge, 218 commuters from Great Bay Community College, John Hancock, International Association of Privacy Professionals, IPSUMM, LTC Partners, Loftware, Lonza, NH Dept. Environmental Services, Newmarket International, and the Pease Development Authority are using smart commuting options. They are competing for the honor of having the greenest, smartest workforce and are leading the way to make a difference.