Commuters face stress from traffic
Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:02 am in News
When first-year graduate student Imran Khalid arrived on campus last week, he discovered he had to wait 30 minutes to find a parking spot. The Viterbi School of Engineeringâs fall career fair closed off part of Parking Structure A, which led to excessive congestion. Irritated and 20 minutes late to class, Khalid was just one of thousands of students faced with stress caused by traffic.
âThe distance from my house to USC is 20 miles, and the time it takes me to get to school depends on the time I leave,â Khalid said. âAt times, the traffic is so jammed on the freeway, Iâll have to exit and travel beside the freeway. Then it takes an hour and 20 minutes instead of only 25 minutes.â
Traffic is in fact one of the primary reasons Forbes ranked Los Angeles as the most stressed city in America.
Alan Hyunh, a USC alumnus and transportation expert, said the state of the economy could also increase traffic.
âEver since the recession hit, people are looking for more work,â Hyunh said. âPeople are driving more in the middle of the day than when the economy was good. This is relevant more so today than in times prior because of the current economic situation that the country is in.â
Hyunh said despite the problem, there are resources available to solve the issue.
USC Transportation offers options to ease the burden of commuting to school; such as parking permits, carpooling shuttles and buses between Los Angeles Union Station and the two USC campuses.
The biggest concern for Natalie Pierson, a senior who lives on the University Park Campus but commutes to the Health Sciences Campus for classes, is planning life around the congested freeways and crowded streets.
âThe most stressful thing is not knowing whether there will be traffic in the morning, and having to wake up an hour early,â Pierson said.
She said this happened during the Caregiversâ Strike last week.
âThey were picketing sections of [the Health Sciences Campus] so we got an email about delay … unfortunately, I had a midterm that day, so I had to leave about 45 minutes earlier than I wanted to,â Pierson said. âYou have to take into account traffic and other obstacles when you commute.â
Danielle Silva, a graduate student in architecture and a commuter student, said she spends several hours a day stuck in traffic.
âThe traffic is definitely why [Los Angeles] is so stressed,â Silva said. âWhen you think about the fact that you only have so many hours of the day, and two of them are being spent in traffic, itâs frustrating.â
Traffic and congestion, however, are simply a part of commuting in the greater Los Angeles area and commuters must consider alternative forms of transportation.
âGreater flexibility is the best way to deal with stress because it gives you more time to take control of what youâre doing with your life,â Hyunh said.
Commuters must learn to deal with the stress of traffic in their own unique ways, according to Pierson.
âAs an [occupational therapy] major, you learn the importance of your occupations and the meaning they play in your life,â Pierson said. âI found the occupations that decrease the stress in my life, and I make time for them before I drive to class. Basically, the most important thing is finding time for those things that youâre passionate about.â