Spinning Our Wheels

The summer has brought a bevy of frustrations, delays, and smoggy afternoons to Bay Area drivers. Do you manage to look the other way?

6) Among recent innovations aimed at speeding up traffic is the FasTrak system, wherein commuters who sign up for a transponder that automatically pays their tolls can take advantage of a dedicated FasTrak lane. In fact, FasTrak is such a hit that a New Jersey company has begun selling $10-20 covers for the transponders, which stick on to drivers' windshields. The hope is that the designs — which consist of flags, sports team logos, and even union insignias — will allow drivers to express themselves. What kind of design would you get?

A) Is there a toll booth workers' union? I'd get their emblem.

B) I dunno, but I do know this: Americans desperately need another automotive surface upon which they can affix American and/or NASCAR flags.

C) Awesome! I'll be so focused on my alma mater's insignia, I won't even care that I'm wasting 75 hours a year in traffic.

7) In an effort to cut down on traffic into San Francisco, local lawmakers have explored an idea pioneered in London, England, where drivers have to pay a special tax to enter the downtown area during heavy-traffic times. Would you pay a fee to be able to drive into downtown San Francisco?

A) On a yacht, maybe.

B) Absolutely not. I'd much rather spend the same amount of money on gas while I sit in traffic, convincing myself I'm beating the system.

C) That depends. Who's dancing at Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre?

How to score:

Score zero points for every "A" answer, one point for every "B," and two points for every "C."

0-6 points: Yes, the Bay Area's traffic is terrible, but the new Third Street Light Rail line should clear all of that right up.

7-10 points: Don't know how to feel about the Bay Area's traffic troubles? Here's a hint: It would all be better if we drove oversized sports-utility vehicles.

11-14 points: Congratulations! You're a true apologist for the Bay Area's transportation woes. But I'm sorry to inform you that your flight back to Los Angeles has been delayed — fog, you know.

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