Having lived here for the last 23 years has given me a different perspective than those newly transplanted here from various parts of the country. I suppose those relocating from rural parts of the country think the summer traffic here is a joke - certainly not sustainable. This couldn't possibly happen every week, can it?? You betcha!!
Twenty years ago, there were about three or four lights along all of Route 1 from Quantico down through South Stafford. It was an easy and reliable alternative when things got congested on I-95....which back then certainly wasn't nearly as often as it is now. Still, it was a good option whenever the brake lights came on. Today, with the continued growth in both North and South Stafford, those quiet Rt 1 drives home seem like an eternity away!
"Summer" traffic used to start on late Friday night into early Saturday morning. By mid-afternoon Saturday, the roads were clear and it was business as usual. Today, "summer" traffic starts the first weekend the weather hits 70 degrees or higher! I'm not sure where these people are going, but the "weekend" starts on Wednesday afternoon and doesn't end until Saturday night, sometimes Sunday. You don't know whether they are coming or going!
Cars loaded with bikes, coolers, and boogie boards are heading south towards VA Beach or the Outer Banks while others choose the Maryland and Delaware beaches in which case those loaded up cars are heading north on 95. Either way, points in Stafford can become parking lots. This is especially frustrating when it's 97 degrees and you are going 15 miles an hour with only 1 more exit to go.....but it is 6 miles away!
Don't get me wrong - I love Stafford. I've raised my family here and wouldn't have done it anywhere else. But as someone who has to spend a good portion of her workday driving in or through this area, I can tell you first hand, it's not for the weak. Tough it out, have plenty of water, patience, and don't forget, once you get out of the traffic jam, you're in what I consider Utopia!