SN-MercerMess
Mercer didn't make this list either, Photo by Chas Redmond

Forbes has a list of the 100 most congested intersections in the United States. I expected at least one would be from our area, but none were. 87 of out the 100 are in the Chicago, Los Angeles or New York areas, which I guess sounds about right. But amazingly Austin has four on the list (who would have guessed that?). I used to live on 6th and Harrison in San Francisco, about three blocks from #46 on the list (7th and Bryant) and I’m amazed that intersection isn’t in the top 10: it once took me 45 minutes to get from the 101 off-ramp to my house four blocks away. From that day on, I took Caltrain to work without fail.

From here (the author there has driven through all 100).

6 Replies to “America’s Most Congested Intersections”

  1. One important note on Austin’s busy intersections – they’re all on feeder roads (i.e. on-off ramps that are ~1 mile long and parallel the highway), and don’t tend to back up highway traffic as much as more integrated systems.

    1. I lived in Austin for twenty-one years and am not surprised to see it on the list. While being one of the top creative-class cities, renowned for quality of life, it is also a poster child for the sprawling development that occurs when a city tries to “just say no” to growth.

  2. Note that all of Washington’s worst intersections are located between Microsoft and the 520 bridge.

  3. I just don’t think Mercer is that bad. Bad as in ugly, but not as in traffic. I walk past there a lot. Say Mercer Mess and I say what?

    In comparison, 45th is wretched and Denny is a parking lot.

    1. I agree. Mercer does get bad some afternoons–I remember the 30 (or maybe 74 at the time) taking 45 minutes to get from Seattle Center to Westlake Ave, but I think that was after an event. The real problem with the I-5/Mercer/Valley stretch through South Lake Union is that it is extremely confusing (as well as ugly). If you are trying to get to Seattle Center from I-5 it feels really weird to be turning away from the Space Needle–and if you’re new to the area you can easily end up turning north on Westlake instead of taking the underpass over to Denny.

      I would not be surprised if local landowners really are begging Nickels to do two-way Mercer, but there is certainly public benefit to those of us who are working there (UW SLU’s address is 815 Mercer).

  4. I’m not surprised at the 4 from Austin that are on the list. If you live in Austin you try and avoid driving on 35 through downtown, unless you have lots of time to sit in traffic.

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