High gas prices = fewer cars
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a substantial change in San Jose traffic patterns. While the rush hour is still, well, not rushed, traffic outside of the normal commute seems to be changing. There are fewer people driving.
I noticed this on my way to the Silicon Valley Flickr meet at Coffee Society in Campbell just this past Monday. I was struck at how few cars there were in the early evening. My somewhat monthly tradition of meeting up with my fellow photo-taking aficionados has always seen a fair amount of freeway traffic. However, the drive on Monday felt an awful like the traffic on San Jose freeways in the late 70’s and early 80’s… not a whole lot of cars out there. I also couldn’t help but notice the same after having dinner at Oakridge earlier today — 85 felt more like a country highway than a major city freeway.
The pain in higher fuel costs in combination with an increase in the cost of living are causing people to change their behavior. In a city that thrives on driving, and my recollections of economics, this is a really, really bad sign.
I hope this doesn’t go on for too long…