HOUSTON (KTRK) --ABC13's Traffic Anchor Katherine Whaley shows you how to save money and time with these shortcuts around Houston.
Pizza driver shares his shortcut through Galleria traffic
Anthony Calleo created Pi Pizza, first a food truck and now a popular brick-and-mortar restaurant off Heights Boulevard.
"We make almost everything here in house," Calleo said.
This award-winning chef is still happy to get behind the wheel and deliver Pi's scratch-made pizza himself.
"That's my favorite thing to do because that's what I used to do when I got started," he explained.
Anthony's learned the shortcuts after years of delivering pizza around Houston.
"Westheimer is never your friend, it will never be your friend, it will always let you down," he advised.
Between rim-busting potholes, multiple METRO bus routes, and constant construction, this major east-west alternate is a no-no.
Instead, he recommends using San Felipe.
"Catch San Felipe, battle through on the other side of 610, once you do, it's a straight shot all the way to Kirby, Kirby turns into Allen Parkway. It'll get you there quicker," Calleo explained.
That's right - just hop one street over to San Felipe, whether you're headed to the Galleria or downtown.
He says his routes help him deliver pizza hot and fresh, and they can help deliver you to your destination quickly, too.
How to save time and money on your trip to the Texas Medical Center
Traffic around the Texas Medical Center can get backed up just about any time of day, but we found one shortcut that will save you time and money, thanks to one viewer who goes there every day.
Deborah Taylor works in the Texas Medical Center, and she's sharing her insider secret to getting to your doctor's appointment faster. Taylor says riding METRORail will save you time, stress, and money.
"You don't have to find parking, parking is difficult in the Medical Center. It's difficult to find a place to park. It's expensive, and then you have to find your way out of the garage and to a clinic," she said.
She says you can avoid the confusion and wasted cash by parking at the Fannin South Station at Fannin and Bellfort, then take the 10 minute ride on the rail to the Texas Medical Center.
There are almost 1,500 parking spaces at the Fannin South Station, and it costs just $3 to park for the entire day. The METRORail ticket costs $1.25 each way, making your total cost just $5.50.
"Compared to $12 to $15 to park in the Medical Center, that's a huge savings," Taylor said.
Ironically, Deborah says that the closer you park, the more time you'll spend in traffic.
"My experience is that getting caught in Medical Center traffic , if you're really close to the Medical Center, just adds time to your commute."
Best shortcuts into downtown Houston
We asked for your best shortcuts around town, and several Facebook viewers commented on the route into downtown. Michelle posted this:
"When coming from the north on the Hardy Toll Road, don't take 610 to get to the city, just exit and go straight on Hardy street. It goes right into downtown."
At the end of the Hardy Toll Road, take the Hardy street exit, which turns into Elysian, then turns into Crawford, and then La Brnach on the east side of downtown.
Or if you simply want to avoid 610 congestion, take Hardy street to Cavalcade. Turn right to access I-45 or turn left to access US-59.
The Harris County Toll Road Authority is extending the Hardy Toll Road all the way to downtown Houston. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, with the opening in 2021.
Shortcut to Hobby Airport
Driving to the airport can be a stressful task, especially if there's a wreck on the freeway that slows you down.
That's why we're showing you a shortcut to Hobby Airport that allows you to bypass the Gulf Freeway.
Professional driver John Weatherford says most people don't know about this route.
"I think people take the standardized route of 45 out of downtown, and that's pretty much all they think about," Weatherford said.
Instead of using the Gulf Freeway, we are starting our trek on SH-288 heading southbound, starting our journey at 10:08.
"We are going to make a left entry where it takes us onto 288 south, and that's going to take us straight onto the freeway," Weatherford explained.
We travel south on 288, then take the ramp to the 610 South Loop eastbound
"We'll take a right on telephone, and we'll take that all the way up to airport," Weatherford said.
Airport Boulevard sends you straight to the terminal. We arrive at 10:27, making our total drive from downtown just 19 minutes.
Strategy for getting out of town quickly
Planning that road trip but dreading the drive out of town? We have a strategy for getting you out quickly.
Pablo Valqui distributes specialty wines from a warehouse in Houston to restaurants and stores all around Texas. He averages 5,000 to 6,000 miles of driving per month.
"There's a lot of hours, and a lot of miles, and a lot of tires, and a lot of gas spent," Valqui said.
That's why he's learned the tricks to getting out of town fast.
"As early as possible. Houstonians like to sleep in, so a very good time is always early in the morning, like 6am is a very good time to leave the city," he said.
Valqui said if you can't hit the road before 6am, leave immediately after the morning rush. The 250-mile trip from Houston to Dallas that he takes nearly every week takes him less than four hours using that strategy.
Valqui said it's all about watching the clock to make sure that your time is well spent.
"The hours you spend in traffic are the hours you don't spend with your families. The hours you are under stress," he said.
"Economically speaking, it is a total waste of money," Valqui said.