Bay Area Memorial Day Traffic 2021

2 mins read

The three-day Memorial Day weekend is here! With restrictions over the COVID-19 pandemic easing and the weather now warm and sunny in true summer style, many Bay Area and Northern California residents will be making the drive to visit friends, family and take vacations.

How will the traffic be this Memorial Day? Will it be as bad as pre-COVID?

It may be, according to John Goodwin, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Bay Area Toll Authority. “My guess is that actual traffic counts likely will show total volumes about 90 to 95% of Memorial Day 2019,” said Goodwin.

If you want to avoid gridlock, the advise is to properly time your departures and arrivals.

“Traffic on Friday will likely be heavy until 8 p.m. this evening,” he said. “Congestion on inbound routes (traffic returning to the Bay Area) will likely have a couple different peaks as well: Sunday afternoon from about 2 to 6 p.m. and a longer stretch Monday afternoon from about 1 to 7 p.m.

The best thing to do in this traffic? Be patient, and be cautious while driving.

Some of the stretches of highway likely to be especially congested over the Memorial Day weekend:


  • Eastbound I-80 all the way through San Francisco and the East Bay out to about Hwy 4 in Hercules and again from about the 680 interchange through Fairfield
  • Eastbound 580 from Livermore over the Altamont Pass to the 580/205 split
  • Southbound 101 through San Jose and in spots as far as the Hwy 152 interchange in Gilroy
  • Northbound 101 between Novato and the northern part of Petaluma, and again through Santa Rosa
  • Highway 17 over the hill to Santa Cruz


  • Westbound I-80 from about the Yolo/Solano county line through Dixon, Vacaville and Fairfield to I-680 and again from I-580 at Golden Gate Fields to the Maze
  • Westbound 580 through the Tri Valley
  • Westbound Hwy 152 approaching 101; southbound 101 in spots north of and through Santa Rosa and again through the Narrows between Petaluma and Novato
  • Highway 17 between Santa Cruz and Los Gatos. Looks like Monday may be hot, so Santa Cruz may be a prime daytrip destination.

Thomas Lake

Resident tech nerd for the SF Times.