Houston Traffic Hot Spots: US 59 at The Spur

Look at those broken-down's a left exit, people!
Look at those broken-down's a left exit, people!

I've lived in a variety of spots around Houston and the traffic, let's be honest, is pretty awful just about everywhere. But there is one spot I've lived and driven that rivals them all. When I lived off 59 and Weslayan, I would frequently use 59 going north to get into downtown or visit friends. The Spur off 59 was built for that very convenience. The only problem is that the stretch between Greenbriar and the Spur (as well as the cluster that occurs between the Spur and the 45 interchange, which I'll mercifully save for another day) is virtually always a disaster.

I've never seen a road so clogged with wrecks, poor driving and general slow traffic. So, today, I immortalize this hideous stretch of highway through this post.

Location: US 59 nearing Spur-527 Direction: Northbound Time of Day: Seemingly 24/7 Probable Destinations: Downtown Landmarks: Vines, wrecks, the occasional river-like flood, clueless drivers in the far left lane trying desperately to get over

What's the holdup?

The combination of a lot of people mixed with a massive freeway interchange just a couple of miles north, a regular spate of accidents and a left exit that seems to confuse the hell out of everyone who drives here makes for a nightmare tangle of traffic. Probably the worst attribute is the two-lane left exit. It absolutely befuddles people who don't want to get off the freeway, so much so that they routinely run down the plastic pylons set up to outline the exit.

Easiest Alternative:

With only one other exit off the freeway between Greenbriar and 288 (Main Street), the simplest alternative is to take one of the side streets like Richmond or Bissonnet. They can often be a struggle during rush hour and God knows there are sections of Richmond that should only be traversed with an all-terrain vehicle thanks to the potholes, but it is better than sitting in this mess.

Complicated Alternative:

If you are leaving from a destination near the Galleria, go a bit north and take Memorial. It's a far prettier drive and generally has a lot less traffic heading downtown.

More Adventurous Alternatives:

One option that could actually be slower but is guaranteed to be more pleasant is to traverse the Village by taking Buffalo Speedway up to University and over to Main Street. Stop in a quaint Village shop for a biscotti and some expensive walking shoes. Watch the nerds walk around Rice University. See the trendy people hobnob at Hotel ZaZa. Get a little culture at one of the museums. Sure, you'll be late to work, but it will be a lot more interesting.

Have a favorite (or least favorite) traffic hot spot? Drop a note in the comments.

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