The Open Road: Corpus Christi Named Top Location For Daily Commutes

As evening commuters hit the road on Friday afternoon, the last thing anyone wants is start-and-stop, soul-sucking highway traffic…not to mention Monday morning at 7:30AM.

With all the growth Texas has been experiencing, it seems commuting times are stretching longer and longer in the biggest cities. In fact, Texas commutes top the charts. The average San Antonio commuter spends 27 hours in congestion each year. In Austin, that number jumps up to 47 hours each year. And in Dallas…59 hours a year. Ouch.

Not so in Corpus Christi. With an average commute time of 20 minutes, and a mere 6.4 hours spent each year in congestion, the city was recently ranked No. 2 for “U.S. Metros With The Best Commutes.”

We can’t say we’re surprised! Residents and vacationers alike will agree that in this city of 326,000 people, driving is…bizarrely unstressful. Nearly every drive feels like a Sunday drive. So let us share with you a few of the reasons why Corpus Christi is such a commuter’s dream.

1. Expertly Managed Roads
Corpus Christi offers all the perks of a city bustling with professionals and students: lively cultural scenes, diverse voices and perspectives, active community engagement, and (of course) incredible food. And yet, despite all the people who work downtown, explore the city, and travel out to Padre Island, traffic remains minimal.This is partially due to the fact that the city prioritizes infrastructure and makes frequent improvement efforts to bridges and roadways.Image courtesy of @vandan11789

2. Whip Smart Infrastructure Planning
Corpus Christi is always on the look-out for creative and high-quality ways to improve navigation of its uniquely water-threaded landscape. Take the Harbor Bridge Project, for instance. The city is investing a colossal $900 million to replace the existing Harbor Bridge and reconstruct over 6 miles of US 181 and I-37. With the addition of extra lanes and a bicycle and pedestrian shared-use path, transportation in and out of the city will be faster and easier than ever!Image courtesy of @ssuenoboll

The bridge is a favorite landmark in Corpus Christi, and many enjoy walking its length and staring out over the harbor and city. Some people even run over with during the Harbor Half Marathon that draws hordes of athletes every November.

Once complete, the new Harbor Bridge will not only be the tallest structure in South Texas, but also the longest cable stay bridge in the United States.

3. Highly Efficient RoadwaysImage courtesy of @zamography

Corpus Christi roadways were designed with efficiency in mind. Most of the city is laid out in an easy-to-navigate grid pattern, but several state highways run through the city, maximizing efficiency.

The main highway, State Highway 358, runs the length of the city from East to West and helps drivers conquer a twenty-mile drive in about twenty minutes. Compare this to other cities, where a twenty-mile drive can take up to an hour….the horror!

With six lanes (3 Eastbound, 3 Westbound), State Highway 358 streamlines auto transportation to nearly everywhere in Corpus from the outer neighborhood of Calallen to the island paradise of Padre Island.

4. Plenty Of Transit Options
Depending in which neighborhood you live (or vacation) in Corpus Christi, a car might not even be necessary! The Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority runs a public bus system with over 30 routes. With single ride fares starting at just $0.75, the bus is an efficient and affordable way to get around town.

For commuters and frequent bus travelers, the transportation authority offers a $30.00 month-long pass. Talk about a bargain. And when you compare that price to the cost of monthly train and bus passes in other cities, which can be hundreds of dollars, public transportation in Corpus Christi is a steal!

The city also runs a program for students and faculty at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi or Del Mar College:: simply present your school ID to the driver and ride for free.

Additionally, Uber, Lyft, and Get Me are popular ride-hailing services around Corpus Christi. So whether you’re downtown or out on the island, there are plenty of options for friendly and convenient transportation around the city.

5. Walkability & BikeabilityImage courtesy of @hailey3moons

With the amount of truly fantastic weather in this city, Corpus Christians love spending as much time outdoors as possible. Don’t be surprised when you see your fellow commuters walking and biking to work. Many roads throughout the city are lined with sidewalks and bike lanes to ensure everyone can share the road safely.

And while we’re on the topic of city rankings, we should probably mention that Corpus Christi boasts an impressive Walk Score of 41 (the average score among Texas cities is 30). We definitely recommend exploring downtown and the Marina Arts District on foot, or cycling along the water and impressive homes of Ocean Drive in the Historic District.

Image courtesy of @robind.smith

In Corpus Christi, the morning and evening commutes aren’t the nightmares they are in other cities. With efficient roadways and alternative transportations options, you’ll be home before you know it. And with sunsets and coastal views that make even lifelong residents stare in wonder…you’ll be loving your drive home.