Seeking Traffic-Avoidance Advice from Boston/Cape Ann Commuters

I’ve got to drive between Somerville and Rockport, MA during rush hour a few times this week (starting tonight, Somerville to Rockport, at around 5pm). Under non-rush hour circumstances, I’d probably take I-93 to 128 and ride that all the way, but I absolutely loathe traffic and have terrible memories of various parts of 128 north being more or less a parking lot around that time. Any commuters out there with experience doing this route that could point out some alternatives that don’t involve serious stop-and-go? I’ve got no objections to taking a less direct route–even one that takes more time (within reason)–just want to spend as little of my life in heavy traffic as I can.

Of course, if I’m incorrect about 128 being painfully slow at that hour, I’d love to hear that, too. Or, if it really is the only reasonable way to get there in a timely manner in spite of the traffic, then I’ll just break down and do it. But what I’m really hoping for is that someone out there has some absolutely brilliant means of getting between those two places that never would have occurred to me.

Well you could pick up Route 1 in Chelsea and take that all the way to 128. I have to admit that will take longer and with beach traffic and summer folk there is no good way to make the trek. Route 1 may be jammed with summer folk, and may take a lot longer than simply hoping on 93, and picking up 128.

MBTA commuter rail. Change at North Station for the Rockport line. It might take longer, and even cost more, but you can sit and relax.

By car, there’s no avoiding 93 and 128. Deal with it.

On the hopeful side, 128 traffic lightens up considerably east of Liberty Tree Mall. So you got that goin’ for you , which is nice.

1:15, $7.75. It’s really not bad.

Was going to say that! It does lighten up considerably after that area…Taling the train would be best…I got the impression the OP was attached to their car…

Wow, that’s some tough sledding, at least until you get north of Peabody. 93 to 128 is no pleasure trip, but it is summer and volume is a lot lighter. If you’re lucky and there are no accidents to contend with, it could be a pretty good ride. A lot of the 128 North congestion is prior to the 93 interchange. Google’s historical traffic data supports this:

Rt 1 to 128 is probably not an option, as the Saugus stretch is a horror show from Revere north every day. 1A going north is consistently a mess at that time of day. Rt 16 has a million stoplights…

If commuter rail is an option, it’s not a bad way to go, although I’m sure the train will be pretty crowded, if that sort of thing bothers you.

If there were an alternate route, some of those thousands of commuters who are going to be making your life miserable would already be taking it. So your choices are few:

a. Suck it up and sit in traffic.
b. Take the commuter rail.
c. Have yourself a nice dinner somewhere and do the drive later in the day.
(Caveat – I was heading in the opposite direction last week at around 6:30 and the traffic going North still seemed nightmarish – they’re doing some construction in the area of the I-93/128 interchange and it’s just not a fun drive.)

Depending on where you are in Somerville, and how much extra time you want to spend to avoid traffic, there are games you can play. The Fellsway or Main St up to 128, but I don’t know if the traffic on 93 justifies it. You’re pretty much going to have take 128 unless you really want to take the “scenic” route up 1A to 127; and by “scenic” I mean the wonderful vistas of Revere and the stunning examples of urban architecture on the Lynnway.

Yes, the car is unfortunately a requirement–commuter rail would have been a nice alternative otherwise. I ended up not having to take the trip last night, and I’ll probably just suck it up and take 128 tonight (though possibly with Finagle’s suggestion of getting dinner first and driving later).

Thanks everyone!

Interesting… looks like I’d have to wait until 7pm or so before it’s typically clear on that portion. Maybe I can swing that.