MJLO

Arizona off-topic

377 posts in this topic

ok, so I decided to start this thread because we are having some really interesting discussions, and since i'm question guy, it presents me with some really interesting ones. So instead of intruding on the Tuscon developement thread, I figured since most other forums have them, we might as well create one for the great state of Arizona.

Is there really a Tuscon - Phoenix divide ? Do the people of Tuscon dislike those from Phoenix?

Colin you seem to be pretty in the know whether you're in Tucson or Phoenix, I always love to hear what you have to say, Do you think PHX is this big evil Sprawling place?

I know you made a comment about the east valley, but I think the east valley cities are so young and have grown so bit so quick its hard to say. Mesa and Chandler have more ppsm than Phoenix itself. I live in the east valley so I'm partial to it. I'd say Scottdale is the opitamy of sprawl, and the antithesis of anything urban. But i'm just not a big fan of Scottsdale in general.

Id love to hear all of your thoughts, comments on it.

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Good idea before topics start getting derailed. I'm curious to see more about Phoenix and Tuscon since all of my experiances of AZ have been the northern part of the state.

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Well, I don't know that I'm an expert in any sense on either metro area, especially Phoenix.

I will say that I really dislike Phoenix. I dread going up there, but the way our two cities are connected, it's difficult not to at least every six months. It's the traffic, the heat, the proliferation of chain stores and restaurants, crowds and lack of things to do.

There are two things that Phoenix lacks that Tucson has that I don't know I could live without now:

- Something similar to Fourth Avenue. Basically a viable, cool bar street. Tucson actually has two, and I prefer Congress, but my favorite bar is actually on Fourth. I'm big into bars, but hate the Mill/frat scene and haven't really found any single one that I like in the area. I've asked like-minded natives, and the one that I've found (George & Dragon on Central) is supposedly one of the best.

- A natural/preserve area near the city. Phoenix has its little mountain parks, but it's not the same thing. Tucson has Pusch Ridge and Rincon Wilderness Areas, both of which are only about 10 miles from Downtown, but offer total peace and solitude. No cars, no ATVs, and very few people.

Why go up? Sometimes it's to fly out of Sky Harbor, sometimes it's to see a show (bands randomly choose to go to either city but rarely both), sometimes it's for some random event, sometimes it's on the way to something else. I did have a positive experience up there last October when I stayed on Central near Osborne and walked around quite a bit. That was my first time to the Heard Museum and the first time I encountered Sprouts supermarket (which opened in Oro Valley a few months ago). Last time was to pick up a friend at the airport, and the next will be later in June to see The Walkmen in Tempe.

When I originally moved out West, it would have been much easier for me to get a job initially in Phoenix (I had to work a call center here for six months), but Phoenix shares in common something with Houston that was a big reason for me leaving: you have to take a freeway to get anywhere. I think freeways are neat, but I like that Tucson has very few for a city its size, and probably will never see an entirely new one. I've lived in two places and had three jobs since I've been here and I've never used a freeway in any commute. In Houston, I always used one, and most in Phoenix seem to.

There are native Phoenicians living here who despise their hometown and will never go back. However, there are also native Tucsonans living in Phoenix who will tell you that Tucson is the most boring, backwards, redneck place in the state and you shouldn't even bother visiting. Some of the rivalry has to do with the UA-ASU thing, but a lot of it may also be some sort of middle child syndrome. Being #2 is anything usually sucks.

If you're coming out West, specifically to Arizona, which city you should choose depends on your personality, I think. I'm a music-obsessed, outdoor enthusiast loner, so Tucson just fit with me. If you like big cities, shopping, lots of people, or just want to make more money, then you'd probably be happier in Phoenix.

Maybe that's just me, though.

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thanks for starting this. it's partially my fault (rah for me) for going off-topic on other threads. i'll probably use the hell out of this one, though.

i have an instinctive dislike of phoenix, too, but it's not some narrow-minded total dismissal of the entire city from one end to the other. i DO strongly feel (and have seen it back east) that freeways and cities have a reverse-benefit relationship: the more urban freeways you build, the more the city dies, and, paradoxically, the more freeways get built. so freeways exist for their own propagation. that is one of the things i love about tucson. a city of 500,000+ that has one major interstate passing through it (and a secondary one running south) is unheard of. people here seem to complain about traffic, but damn - let them drive (even off the freeways) in the east. they'll soon be homesick. i do end up in phoenix (or will, i can tell) for some things, so it's total hypocrisy to say that it sucks from one end to the other. but it's not a pleasant place for me to think of living, especially since i like civic life and (as colin mentioned) an abundance of natural amenities.

a lot of the things that can be said negatively of phoenix can be said of tucson...but then you go and visit phoenix and you realize tucson has it good. yes, tucson is dominated by pavement, stoplights, strip malls and chain stores and restaurants; and yes, it is not as dense as it really ought to be in terms of building and population - but it seems to be on a track to grow into those problems in a better fashion than phoenix. maybe that's because the consensus here (so far as i can tell) seems to be geared toward improving urban roads (and not freeway loops) and enhancing other modes of in-town transportation.

as sprawling as it is, one thing i can say about tucson is that there is almost no part of it that seems to be dead. even in south tucson or out past houghton road, for example, there will still be the same level of pedestrian activity; the same sketchbomb sitting on the bench; the same family taking a walk, etc. that you see in other parts of the city. some areas are more ghetto than others, but then again, those are often the least dead. i like it.

i've been wanting to figure out the 4th avenue area. i went down there for only the second time recently. i was relieved, since i previously thought the little strip down university (i forget what it's called) was the big center of UA night activity. i thought i was back in auburn. the 4th ave. area looked more like the funked-out areas back home that i miss. close to downtown, too - i guess it is downtown.

Edited by convulso

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forgive me for what i am about to do, but i've been ruminating a bunch of petty miscellaneous stuff for a while and there's no better venue than an off-topic post......

1) does anyone know how seriously i should take these damn traffic cameras in tucson? the couple of natives i've talked to seem to think they're monitored by zealots and that tickets are common. they allude to a red-light running epidemic. i don't run red lights, but it's impossible to literally obey the speed limit and not end up going under a light that turns red. i'm a conservative driver in cities, yet i still go under many lights that end up red because there's no way to get through some of the mammoth intersections if the light turns yellow as you start to cross. anyone have any happy stories about that?

also, does anyone know if the enforcement is the same within the city limits and outside them? i live along sunrise drive, well out of the city, but there those cameras are.

2) is there rhyme or reason to the distribution of the red license plates vs. the new ones? my guess is that the yankees relocating from out of state get the new ones, while residents keep the old ones....or something like that. i've always loved that red plate - my fav of all the states'.

3) the UA - ASU thing - is there real hostility there in an academic sense? or is it the traditional athletics-driven team-spirit sort of rivalry? my impression is that both are major universities with enormous enrollments (i know ASU's is a great deal larger), but that UA is the state's premiere research university. it won't matter to me; i'm bound for UA. but i would like to know the perception.

three questions is enough for now. i have tons.

thx for reading; let alone answering......

Edited by convulso

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1) does anyone know how seriously i should take these damn traffic cameras in tucson?

Those cameras are used to monitor traffic volumes at lights so that the timing can be adjusted on the fly. The Road Runner section in the Star has mentioned this several times, but the schizos are always going to worry that Big Brother is checking on them. The same thing happened in Texas when they first installed freeway cameras, and Texans are much worse about that sort of thing.

Tucson has no red light cameras as of yet to my knowledge. They said that they were installing one at Grande and West Speedway in front of the Deaf/Blind School to enforce the no right on red restriction, but it hasn't happened yet. I had a letter published in the Star regarding this when it was hot (here), but they edited it so much that my comments really no longer made sense.

also, does anyone know if the enforcement is the same within the city limits and outside them? i live along sunrise drive, well out of the city, but there those cameras are.

Well, outside the city is PCSD and inside is TPD, although the state police show up randomly quite a bit, and they're really the ones who go set up the speed traps. They're usually only on bigger streets though. Tucson has some of the most lax traffic enforcement I've ever seen. I've run red lights and made right turns on red without stopping in front of cops, and flown by cops at 10+ over and have never been pulled over in Tucson. Now, you do really have to worry about being drunk and having a cheap car. I've never met more people with past DWI convictions than here in Tucson. The cheap car thing is because the cops like to pull over tweakers, and they typically drive beater cars. There are also occassional speed traps, mostly around UA, run by TPD motorcycle cops. UAPD will also pull you over if you're speeding around campus.

2) is there rhyme or reason to the distribution of the red license plates vs. the new ones? my guess is that the yankees relocating from out of state get the new ones, while residents keep the old ones....or something like that. i've always loved that red plate - my fav of all the states'.

In AZ, you can transfer your old license plate to another car and, to my knowledge, never actually have to give it up until you leave the state. The new ones are all the Grand Canyon facade design. That being said, you may be able to bribe someone into letting you have an old one.

3) the UA - ASU thing - is there real hostility there in an academic sense? or is it the traditional athletics-driven team-spirit sort of rivalry? my impression is that both are major universities with enormous enrollments (i know ASU's is a great deal larger), but that UA is the state's premiere research university. it won't matter to me; i'm bound for UA. but i would like to know the perception.

It is mainly sports, but it's certainly become much more. I work for UA, but I have an ASU t-shirt that I wear quite a bit (it was given to me when I went to an ASU/UCLA football game with some friends). I've actually gotten snide comments from strangers before, and people who know me saying "Why are you wearing that shirt?" This is pretty common though. In Texas, it was UT and A&M, and I know that the Midwest has some much worse rivalries. The whole thing's a little silly, but I'm certainly a UA person.

Hope that sheds some more light.

Edited by colin

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thanks for starting this. it's partially my fault (rah for me) for going off-topic on other threads. i'll probably use the hell out of this one, though.

i have an instinctive dislike of phoenix, too, but it's not some narrow-minded total dismissal of the entire city from one end to the other. i DO strongly feel (and have seen it back east) that freeways and cities have a reverse-benefit relationship: the more urban freeways you build, the more the city dies, and, paradoxically, the more freeways get built. so freeways exist for their own propagation. that is one of the things i love about tucson. a city of 500,000+ that has one major interstate passing through it (and a secondary one running south) is unheard of. people here seem to complain about traffic, but damn - let them drive (even off the freeways) in the east. they'll soon be homesick. i do end up in phoenix (or will, i can tell) for some things, so it's total hypocrisy to say that it sucks from one end to the other. but it's not a pleasant place for me to think of living, especially since i like civic life and (as colin mentioned) an abundance of natural amenities.

a lot of the things that can be said negatively of phoenix can be said of tucson...but then you go and visit phoenix and you realize tucson has it good. yes, tucson is dominated by pavement, stoplights, strip malls and chain stores and restaurants; and yes, it is not as dense as it really ought to be in terms of building and population - but it seems to be on a track to grow into those problems in a better fashion than phoenix. maybe that's because the consensus here (so far as i can tell) seems to be geared toward improving urban roads (and not freeway loops) and enhancing other modes of in-town transportation.

as sprawling as it is, one thing i can say about tucson is that there is almost no part of it that seems to be dead. even in south tucson or out past houghton road, for example, there will still be the same level of pedestrian activity; the same sketchbomb sitting on the bench; the same family taking a walk, etc. that you see in other parts of the city. some areas are more ghetto than others, but then again, those are often the least dead. i like it.

i've been wanting to figure out the 4th avenue area. i went down there for only the second time recently. i was relieved, since i previously thought the little strip down university (i forget what it's called) was the big center of UA night activity. i thought i was back in auburn. the 4th ave. area looked more like the funked-out areas back home that i miss. close to downtown, too - i guess it is downtown.

I admit I haven't been to either city so it's really hard for me to judge but I get the feeling I'd like Tucson better. I think Phoenix would be too big for my taste. Of the things I've heard about Tucson, it does sound like a place I'd like. I already have made plans for my trips out west later this year but maybe next year I can make a little sidetrip and see a part of AZ I haven't been yet. As far as freeways and such, they really do have bad effects on cities. It's one of the reasons I like a lot of aspects about New Urbanism. This probably just apply to every western US city but so many of them seem typical in spreading out and really having to rely on freeways and such.

Those cameras are used to monitor traffic volumes at lights so that the timing can be adjusted on the fly. The Road Runner section in the Star has mentioned this several times, but the schizos are always going to worry that Big Brother is checking on them. The same thing happened in Texas when they first installed freeway cameras, and Texans are much worse about that sort of thing.

Tucson has no red light cameras as of yet to my knowledge. They said that they were installing one at Grande and West Speedway in front of the Deaf/Blind School to enforce the no right on red restriction, but it hasn't happened yet. I had a letter published in the Star regarding this when it was hot (here), but they edited it so much that my comments really no longer made sense.

Yeah I have heard the same concerns in my areas about the traffic cameras as well. I do believe there are some cities that actually do use them for tickets but I don't think it's as common as what people think. I think a lot of cities use them just to moniter traffic backing up.

Edited by Mith242

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much thanks for those answers. i used to spend some time in southern CA, and oxnard uses the cameras for enforcement. i'm paranoid of cameras now when driving after having to obey them in oxnard.

scottsdale has experimented with roving traffic cameras to monitor speeding. don't know how that works, but i'm sure it does.

again, thanks........

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much thanks for those answers. i used to spend some time in southern CA, and oxnard uses the cameras for enforcement. i'm paranoid of cameras now when driving after having to obey them in oxnard.

scottsdale has experimented with roving traffic cameras to monitor speeding. don't know how that works, but i'm sure it does.

again, thanks........

I guess until you know for certain it's better to be safe than sorry.

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scottsdale has experimented with roving traffic cameras to monitor speeding. don't know how that works, but i'm sure it does.

Yes, they're on the 101. Don't speed there. You will get a letter from the City soon after.

The Phoenix area has also had red light cameras for several years.

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i've been wanting to figure out the 4th avenue area. i went down there for only the second time recently. i was relieved, since i previously thought the little strip down university (i forget what it's called) was the big center of UA night activity. i thought i was back in auburn. the 4th ave. area looked more like the funked-out areas back home that i miss. close to downtown, too - i guess it is downtown.

University between Euclid and Park is called Main Gate Square. "Main Gate" comes from the old gate to the UA at the end of the street. There are a couple of decent bars there, as well as probably the best brewpub in town (Gentle Ben's), but it's mostly Fourth for the college crowds.

Some people think it's Downtown. I don't consider it part of Downtown because of the residential development on the east side in Iron Horse and West University, but Downtown's so small already that you have to give it something.

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Colin I have an off topic question for you. I saw your post in the Carlsbad topic and was wondering if you did manage to get any pics. I often see you over here so I thought I'd ask. :D

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Colin I have an off topic question for you. I saw your post in the Carlsbad topic and was wondering if you did manage to get any pics. I often see you over here so I thought I'd ask. :D

Yeah, sorry. I was waiting until I actually re-sized the pics and posted them on my site to add on to that. Will post tonight.

Basically, there is nothing there. They've set down at least one foundation, but that's about it.

Bad experiences in Carlsbad this time. If I do go back there, I certainly won't spend the night again. Artesia is MUCH nicer, has a nice Downtown and even a brewpub. You just have to ignore the smell of the refinery across the street.

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Yeah, sorry. I was waiting until I actually re-sized the pics and posted them on my site to add on to that. Will post tonight.

Basically, there is nothing there. They've set down at least one foundation, but that's about it.

Bad experiences in Carlsbad this time. If I do go back there, I certainly won't spend the night again. Artesia is MUCH nicer, has a nice Downtown and even a brewpub. You just have to ignore the smell of the refinery across the street.

Cool, no rush. I was just curious. :D Yeah I've heard about the smell around Artesia. But that's about the only area of NM I haven't spent much time in yet.

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Well I have to agree, Phoenix does seem pretty characterless, I really need to get to Tucson. But it seems as though people are starting to take more pride in living in Phoenix, so it's starting to get a little character. But I get annoyed that it has the Skyline of a city a third it's size. AZ's future for the tallest building lies in Tucson.

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:( Suns lost, I'm hoping for a Detroit - Phoenix NBA finals, but right now i'd be happy with either. Here's hopin'.

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:( Suns lost, I'm hoping for a Detroit - Phoenix NBA finals, but right now i'd be happy with either. Here's hopin'.

I'm rooting for whoever wins the west.

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does anyone else think that there are more vehicle accidents than there should be in Phoenix? There were accidents when I lived in Detroit, and Detroit has worse congestion than Phoenix, but good lord, I see two or three accidents a day in the Phoenix area is it just that these people dont know how to drive?

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does anyone else think that there are more vehicle accidents than there should be in Phoenix? There were accidents when I lived in Detroit, and Detroit has worse congestion than Phoenix, but good lord, I see two or three accidents a day in the Phoenix area is it just that these people dont know how to drive?

I agree that Phoenicians aren't the best at driving, but the safe driving studies would say otherwise.

Check it out. Phoenix is #1 for safe driving among cities 1,000,000+. And this isn't the first year either.

Tucson's actually a little safer than Phoenix, with an average of 10 years between accidents, but ranks #63 for cities between 500k and 1 million.

I've honestly never put a lot of stock in this list though.

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Yes but is that just the city itself? or does it take into consideration all the suv driving soccer moms with fake titties, who talk on there cell phones, sip the latte, and drive all at the same time? They live in Chandler and Scottsdale, which are not part of Phoenix!

Edited by MJLO

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Yes but is that just the city itself? or does it take into consideration all the suv driving soccer moms with fake titties, who talk on there cell phones, sip the latte, and drive all at the same time? They live in Chandler and Scottsdale, which are not part of Phoenix!

Very true, it's not the metro area. You'd then have to get into the whole metro area designation arguments.

It seems like I've seen worse drivers in the city than in the burbs though, and the streets are much more dangerous there. You have several streets where they've gone from five to six lanes without widening the street (i.e. - it was 2 + turn lane, now 2 & 3 + turn lane) and they're unnerving to drive on. The leading left turn signal in town with yield on green also is a huge potential for accidents when everyone rushes through at the end of the green just as the other direction is trying to go left.

Maybe that's just me.

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Here's an interesting fact, with all this talk about sprawl and uncontrolled growth in metro PHX. The city of Mesa, has more people living in it than the city of Atlanta, and it's denser with less land area that it covers. I just find it interesting that Phoenix's burbs are larger and more dense, than some world class core cities.

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does anyone else think that there are more vehicle accidents than there should be in Phoenix? There were accidents when I lived in Detroit, and Detroit has worse congestion than Phoenix, but good lord, I see two or three accidents a day in the Phoenix area is it just that these people dont know how to drive?

I wonder if it's more of a southwest thing. I have family that moved to Albuquerque and they've mentioned how there's so many more accidents and problems on the road than they would have ever thought. Even weird things like vehicles catching on fire and such.

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