The Big Commute

(MPR photo/Chris Welsch)

"I would get up at five every day to try to beat the traffic," says Sue Hix, who moved to Baldwin Township from Champlin in 1994 to build her dream house on Long Pond. She was like many of Baldwin's residents who commute to work each day in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or St. Cloud.

Those long drives loom large in people's lives--with so much road time, many residents feel hard-pressed to find time for community-related activities.

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Until 2001, Hix worked in downtown Minneapolis--50 miles and more than an hour away--as a training and communications manager for National City bank. "I'd listen to the traffic reports," she says. "I had all these alternate routes. It was like doing a brain teaser every day." Her job started at 8:00, but she'd set out so early in order to avoid traffic, she'd usually be there by 7:00. Her bosses loved her.

"My record was two and a half hours to get there," she says.

Then, at the end of each workday, Hix would do the whole thing in reverse. "You didn't want to leave at rush hour, so you'd stay late," she says. "By the time I got home, there was just time to shove in some food and go to bed so I could start all over the next morning."

Got a tale of the big commute you want to share? What are your strategies for beating the traffic? What would you do if you weren't on the road?