How to Beat Austin Traffic

Posted on Saturday, Feb 23, 2019

During the Texas Legislative session there is an influx of people into the downtown area of Austin making traffic a nightmare morning, noon, and night. If you plan on getting on IH-35 anywhere between 7 and 9, good luck; and I wouldn’t even try getting anywhere from 5-6. Alas, there is hope. This hope comes in the form of 1.) leaving early and staying late, and 2.) the maximization of time via that little thing in your pocket/purse called a cell phone.
With that wonderful piece of technology that seems to drive our lives at times, comes a great power to maximize our efficiency. With the help of another amazing piece of technology through bluetooth connectivity - especially since it is illegal to be on a cell phone while operating a vehicle within the city limits - the nightmare of Austin traffic can be turned into a dream. A dream of connecting to what is important to you and what brings you joy. I, personally do this through the form of podcasts and making phone calls to those that are important to me. Different days require different tools, sometimes I miss someone so I need to hear their voice; other days I have no desire for human interaction and need to get lost in a podcast or inform myself through the news. Thus, I utilize these tools interchangeably and with ease while enduring Austin traffic.
Here are my top 10 podcasts to listen to while in traffic and a brief description of each.
  1. Texas Tribune Brief - daily news briefing on Texas politics and policy from the non-partisan, non-profit Texas Tribune based out of Austin that last about 5 minutes.
  2. NPR News Now - another 5 minute podcast on everything you need to know from around the nation refreshed every hour, focusing on federal policies and national news.
  3. BBC Minute - short, informative news podcast that will cover the most important news from around the world to keep you informed of the global arena and politics.
  4. Texas Tribune TribCast - in-depth focus on Texas politics and policy with a new post about twice a week of varying length includes interviews of elected or appointed officials.
  5. The Daily by the New York Times - daily podcast lasting about 25 minutes covering a host of areas, mostly national news and politics.
  6. TED Talks Daily - daily TED Talks from all kinds of areas that inspire and inform in about 10-20 minutes; most are good, some are not.
  7. Point of Order with Evan Smith - also a Texas Tribune podcast, the host will interview an elected official and then follow up with other interviews and research on multiple issues.
  8. Myths & Legends by Jason Weiser - this is a fun one to get lost in, informative, historical, and most of all, easy to get lost in; this will ease your nerves for sure.
  9. Global News Project by BBC - if you need a more in-depth look at what is going on around the globe from the BBC Minute, this podcast can do that
  10. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard - another really fun one; the comedian interviews celebrities digging deep into their lives and making them laugh and cry within 2 hours
Another great way to pass the time while in traffic, either coming into work or going out is to call folks. I guarantee you that people appreciate a phone call so much more when you’re away, even if they can’t speak to you right at that moment, they will make an effort to talk to you another time because you made that initial effort. Be intentional about who you call too, try to accommodate them as best as possible but also don’t be afraid to call on a whim. You’re going to really start to miss your friends, and they are going to really miss you. Call them up sometimes and talk about their life. The time will fly by and the frustration will wain. I talk to my girlfriend everyday on the phone, everytime it is when I am in traffic. Either when I am on my way to work, which is usually when she is waking up, or on my way from work, usually when she is on her way to the gym or at home. The timing works out pretty great usually, which makes it easy to conversate and catch up. I am a huge “momma’s boy”, I cannot go too long without speaking to my mother, and if anything happens that pushes me over the edge, I can always call her to either have her validate my feelings, calm me down, or tell me I’m wrong. She is perfect for me to talk to and will always try to help me pass the time by either providing me with the latest gossip back home or news with the family. My grandmother is also a great person to talk to, and I can promise you, you can never call her too often. Your grandmother will miss you more than you think. I also call my best friend Gio a lot. Most of the time he isn’t available, either studying or working out, but at least he knows I tried calling and he’ll text/call me back. You get the idea, calling those close to you is not only a great way to pass the time, but it is also a very important thing to do to stay sane and not get lost in the world. Your friends and family miss you as much as you miss them, if not more. Make an effort to call those important to you.
Those are just a few ways to beat Austin traffic. You may find your own way to defeat the horrid reality that is traffic, these are just a couple recommendations. Try the podcasts and calling those you care about. If they don’t solve the problem, I can guarantee they will help you find a way to solve it.

Koy Kunkel
Office of State Senator Kel Seliger
Austin, Texas | spring 2019