traffice

Following Charleston's No. 1 ranking as best city in the U.S., columnist Brian Hicks provides the top 10 places to get stuck in traffic. Wade Spees/Staff

Thank you, Travel + Leisure magazine readers, for naming Charleston the No. 1 city in the country. Again.

It's such an honor, and today we are all swelling with pride ... while we're stuck in traffic.

We're glad that you love our beautiful home just as much as we do. Really, we are. But honestly, all this attention is a little much. And no, that's not just us being all modest and Southern.

See, the first time Charleston won this poll, we were getting about 4 million tourists annually. Now it’s more like 5 million — maybe even 6 million by the end of the year.

This is not going to help.

Not only is Charleston No. 1, Kiawah was ranked the No. 9 island in the country and we landed two hotels in the Top 15 worldwide. The magazine even created a list of the 10 best hotels just in Charleston.

Think of all the additional attention — and traffic — this could bring us. Our roads can't handle the daily influx of Midwestern transplants, much less more tourists.

So as a small favor, Travel + Leisure, could you perhaps add a disclaimer: Charleston is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to commute here.

Or maybe next year the magazine — in the spirit of truth-in-advertising — could at the very least include:

The Top 10 Places to be Stuck in Charleston Traffic

10. The Paul Gelegotis Bridge. While waiting to get onto Johns Island — and, let’s face it, most afternoons you'll be waiting — this span offers a beautiful view of the ribbonlike Stono River. There is so much nature on display you'll think you're in the middle of nowhere. But don't let the tree line fool you. New suburbs ahead.

9. The intersection of North Rhett Avenue and Remount Road. While sitting through the industrial traffic that jams this important artery, you can watch a ballgame at Kapstone Park. You’ll be there long enough for a couple of innings.

8. Savannah Highway/Avondale. Daily delays allow you to see who’s smoking outside Gene’s Haufbrau and check out the latest fashion statement by the Coburg Cow. Mid-century modernism at its finest.

7. The Four Corners of Law. Motorists here are so polite they'll give you five or more minutes to see all the historic sites on Broad Street. If you’re lucky, or not, a horse carriage may roll through and keep you parked long enough to hear the bells of St. Michael’s.

6. The intersection of Folly Road and Maybank Highway. Never have more people spent more time looking at an ATM.

5. East Bay and Market. Look at all the people buying knockoff Sweetgrass baskets. Watch the cruise ship passengers cross against the signal. See who’s inhaling carbon monoxide at the open air restaurants. We're No. 1!

4. Folly Road. Nothing beats looking at an old painted boat while sweating in a car seat with sand all up in your business. For an hour or two at a time.

3. The Isle of Palms connector. Pretty much Folly Road without the old boat. Enjoy the Intracoastal Waterway views on the way to not finding a parking spot.

2. The intersection of Main Road and U.S. Highway 17. Take in glorious views of Lowcountry saltmarshes, and a fairly new Waffle House, while wondering where in the world all the cars crowding this intersection come from. Answer: 526. Which should be a hint.

And finally ...

1. The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. This is hands-down the best spot in the city for panoramic views of the peninsula, the harbor and Fort Sumter. On a clear day you can even see the old Charleston Lighthouse. Nothing beats this vista, just ask commuters who are stuck on the bridge at least once a week.

Whether a fender bender shuts down the entire Lowcountry, or some nut parks his truck on the bridge to get on the TV news, take advantage of the view. It's not like you're going to get to work on time.

Note to Travel + Leisure editors: If you need a photo to accompany this list, some of us are chipping in to replace the old billboard that sat at Meeting and Market in the 1970s. It said, “If you like Charleston, you’ll love Savannah.”

We hope the sentiment catches on.

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Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com.

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