Chico can be an interesting place to drive during the busy hours around 8:00am and 5:00pm. Some areas are traffic traps, and a key to getting around is knowing which areas are most prone to congestion.

  • East 1st Avenue: This road gets terribly backed up between the Esplanade and the Highway 99 on-ramp, especially near Mangrove. Alternate routes include nearby 5th Avenue and Palmetto Avenue. There are many stop signs along Palmetto, but they are easy to get through compared to the stop-and-go of 1st Avenue.
  • Highway 99: This highway was constructed in the 1960s when Chico was much smaller. The two lanes and short on-ramps make for congestion galore. There are signs advising through motorists to use the left lane, but few heed this, leading to bottlenecks where people are trying to merge in a very short space. Surface streets are advisable during the busiest hours.
  • Anything near California Park: Again, a remnant of a time before Chico became as large as it is. East and South Chico were not always as built-up as they are now, and the routes in and out of this area were not built to accommodate the traffic. Unfortunately there are not many alternative options if you must drive in and out of these areas during busy hours.
  • Streets vs. Avenues: Many drivers end up lost their first time in Chico due to the fact that Chico has both numbered streets and numbered aves. Don't get confused! Chico State sits directly between The Aves and The Streets, with its address at 400 W. 1st St. Both count upwards incrementally as they get farther from campus. Streets count Southward, Avenues count Northward. So the Northernmost Street is 1st St., and the Northernmost Avenue is 12th Ave. Conversely, the Southernmost Avenue is 1st Ave., and the Southernmost Street is 22nd St.

For more general advice about getting around town, see Driving in Chico.