Drive Time

Taking Cleveland's highways to heaven

Gasoline has been hovering around $3 a gallon for a month, and there’s no end in sight. Meanwhile, federally funded highways have facilitated suburban sprawl, decimating farmland and inner city neighborhoods at the same time.

It’s a nasty scenario nationwide, but there is a silver lining to Northeast Ohio’s highway system. Cleveland ranked 73rd in a 2005 study by Texas AandM University examining traffic congestion. That means 72 other cities have worse traffic problems. How much worse? Take Los Angeles for example. That city’s average commuter is delayed for 93 hours every year. That’s more than two 40-hour work weeks of doing nothing but sitting in traffic.

Cleveland drivers, on the other hand, only wait in traffic 10 hours per year. Other cities famous for their attractive amenities are also slow in pointing out their residents spend a lot of time behind the wheel, waiting for traffic to clear. Dallas-Fort Worth residents wait 60 hours, Washington D.C. drivers fume for 69 hours and San Francisco dwellers sit for 72 hours a year in their cars.

With the web of interstates crisscrossing our region, we’re literally minutes from anywhere. More highways not only mean a shorter commute, they make for a more accessible region wherever the roads lead you.

So, enjoy your brief daily commute, but don’t reserve the high road just for your drive to work. This month, we’re recommending hot events just a short hop from anywhere you call home. We’ve calculated drive times from the foot of the pyramid at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum downtown, so your travel time may vary.

Vintage Ohio (31 minutes) Brace yourself for an incredible vino adventure during this wall-to-wall wine fest Aug. 4 and 5 from 1 to 10 p.m. Family-friendly activities include two stages of music with acts such as The Vibe, Horns N Things and Forecast. Designated drivers get special low admission and unlimited soft drinks. Lake Metroparks Farmpark, 8800 Chardon Road, Kirtland.

The Vinyl Years: Album Cover Art (128 minutes) Revisit some of your fondest memories connected to the music you grew up with by checking out this exhibit Aug. 5 through Oct. 1. Browse more than 100 album covers from the late 1950s to the late ’80s. With cover styles ranging from a photograph of Elvis to the illustrations of Neon Parks and Norman Rockwell, you’re certain to learn more about this intriguing, populist art form. Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, 300 North Whitewoman St., Coshocton. www.jhmuseum.org

University Park Art Fair (44 minutes) Explore the forgotten jewel of Akron’s Grace Park as it hosts the first-ever University Park Development Corporation Art Fair. The magic begins Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. with more than 75 regional artists on tap for this stunning outdoor exposition, featuring food, drink and entertainment. Grace Park, Prospect between Perkins and East Market streets, Akron.www.universityparkartfair.org

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