October 06, 2005
I am not sure why people do this. They all like to claim that their traffic is as bad as it gets. I was told when I got here that traffic is terrible and that I don’t want to live in Amsterdam and work where our office is in Vianen. When I lived in Seattle, the papers all claimed that the traffic there was worse than any other city in the US. San Francisco liked to complain about its traffic. Miami gets them quite a bit. Traffic isn’t really bad anywhere, assuming you use some common sense when deciding where to live and work. My advice: live somewhere that doesn’t make you spend half your average day in stop and go traffic. If traffic patterns change, then either move or quit. No matter where you live, there will be bad days, but if bad days are everyday, change something.
If both of those options don’t work, then I hope you have good reasons for putting yourself through that. For me, I want a fun place to live. Working in Holland means that to get a fun place to live, I have no choice but to live in Amsterdam. Downside is that Amsterdam is expensive. Upside to that is that most people feel (mistakenly I believe) that they can only afford to live in the country and work in the city. So most of the traffic is coming from the outside in. I go the other way. I had the same commute from downtown Seattle into Redmond, Washington.
I made the mistake of living in a cheaper area at the cost of a longer commute one time and I will never make that mistake again. Living in Nutley, NJ (childhood home of Martha Stewart) and working in New York City meant that I saved about 1000 dollars a month in rent. But I spent an additional 60 hours per month trying to get there and back. I found that to simply be too expensive when it comes to overall quality of life.
Today I see the loads of traffic trying to get into Amsterdam as I sail by going south on the A2. I am in Vianen no more than 25 minutes after leaving my place in the middle of Amsterdam. For some reason all those people heading the other way feel that saving a few hundred euros each month makes the dozens of hours they lose every month worthwhile. I hope their reasons make it worthwhile…