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Old 06-19-2009, 01:56 AM
 
Location: East Central Phoenix
7,194 posts, read 10,537,849 times
Reputation: 8515

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As a native of Phoenix who visits San Diego on a somewhat frequent basis, I thought I would do a comparison of the two cities based on how similar in size both places are. Here's my review:

CLIMATE: San Diego wins hands down! Even the marine layer, or the so called "June gloom" only lasts for a half a day at best, and the rest of the day is generally sunny & pleasant. Temperatures are very comfortable, usually staying in the 70s most of the time. The only real "hot" time of year is late summer/early fall ... and even then, temps very seldom climb above 90 degrees.

Phoenix's winters are very much like San Diego's in that the temperatures are nearly identical. Both cities receive a fair amount of rain in the winter, and less during the summer ... although Phoenix does get some rain in July & August thanks to the monsoonal flow that time of year. Summers in Phoenix, however, are MISERABLE, and that is what kills it for me. Practically every day with average high temperatures between 100 and 110 for four straight months becomes hard to handle after living there a while. I don't care what they say about it being a "dry heat" ... it's still HEAT!

TRANSPORTATION: Both cities have good freeway systems, but San Digeo's is a little better overall in my opinion. There are more freeway miles in and around San Diego, and very seldom are they clogged with heavy traffic jams ... at least I never experienced any bad traffic when I was there last week. Also, the freeways there have beautiful landscaping (the 163 between I8 and downtown as an example). Phoenix has crushed rock and desert plants as freeway "landscape". The only things I don't like about San Diego's freeways are the cloverleaf interchanges, and the lack of lighting for night driving. Maybe someone can explain why the freeways in southern CA don't have many lights.

Both Phoenix and San Diego have light rail. I have found some high and low points about both systems. Phoenix's is newer, more streamlined, and actually has been successful thus far in terms of ridership. It runs at street level, however, which I'm not crazy about. San Diego's light rail is called the San Diego Trolley, and it really doesn't have the look or feel of true light rail. However, I like the way much of the trolley system runs OVER many of the streets.

DOWNTOWN: I am really impressed by San Diego's downtown area ... even compared to five or ten years ago. Downtown was bustling with crowds when we went, and people were actually sitting outdoors eating at cafés. Seaport Village was crowded with shoppers and diners. The highrise skyline is very impressive, and resembles a true downtown area.

Phoenix's downtown has made strides in the past few years, but not as great as San Diego. Phoenix's downtown area still is pretty much dead after dark, except when there are NBA or DBacks games, or perhaps a concert or two going on. Downtown Phoenix is also split into two sections: the actual downtown core, and the Central Corridor to the north. Instead of a wide cluster of impressive highrises like San Diego has, Phoenix has a scattering of highrises starting downtown, and they are spread out northward along Central Avenue. It's not bad, but I think San Diego's is better.

TOURISTY AMENITIES: Both places attract many tourists, but San Diego easily wins in this category. There's Sea World, the famous zoo, lots of theme parks in the area, and of course the beaches. Phoenix has a few water parks, one amusement park, but no real theme parks. Both Phoenix and San Diego aren't culturally magnificent, but both cities embrace the arts to a noticeable extent. In terms of shops, both Phoenix and San Diego have areas that are shopping meccas.

SPORTS: This is where Phoenix wins. We have the NFL, NHL, NBA, and major league baseball. The stadiums are state of the art facilities. The Phoenix metro area is also a mecca for spring training.

JOBS AND COST OF LIVING: Hate to say this, but Phoenix wins. I haven't really taken a hard look at the average wages in San Diego, but I have heard from a few sources that they aren't all that great. Also, the cost of living (especially housing) is more expensive. Jobs seem to be more plentiful in Phoenix, and the area continues to grow in the employment sector ... even though there have been some difficult times lately.

Those are my comparisons. This is one Phoenician who loves San Diego, and I plan on visiting there again later this year.
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:18 AM
 
Location: San Diego A.K.A "D.A.Y.G.O City"
1,996 posts, read 4,307,479 times
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That was a great comparison, and good review!

I have never been to Phoenix, but would like to visit sometime just for kicks

I personally don't like Arizona, or any desert region for that matter since I can't stand the heat and bland geography.

I also don't get why SD doesn't have many lights on our freeways either

There is lights, but only in the more populated areas, but yet they are scattered. We need more of those huge spotlights like you see going past the Carmel Valley area on the 805. They suddenly disappear quickly though and soon darkness is all you see at night.

Not sure about Arizona, but the Texas highway system is much better than CA, and are well lite. SD needs more freeway lighting for safety reasons.

Thanks for stopping by
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Old 06-19-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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We go to Phoenix a lot as we have family there. Your comparisons seem pretty acurate to me. The thing that bothers me about Phoenix is the same thing that bothers me here..so many people..crowded everywhere you go. But I like both cities. And although the extreme heat would be to much for me to live there, I like a hot summer desert day here and there.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:07 PM
 
Location: East Central Phoenix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdlife619 View Post
That was a great comparison, and good review!

I have never been to Phoenix, but would like to visit sometime just for kicks

I personally don't like Arizona, or any desert region for that matter since I can't stand the heat and bland geography.
Actually, most of the desert surrounding Phoenix isn't as ugly or bland as the desert of southern California. It's not the prettiest, but at least there is more vegetation (many different species of plants, cactus, and grass). That's because the Sonoran Desert is actually one of the wettest deserts on earth. It receives winter rain from California, as well as rain in the summer from the monsoonal flow.

But you're right about the heat in Phoenix. It's awful from June through September. That alone would be enough for me to consider living in the mountains or coastal California during the summer months. However, I will admit that this June has been relatively pleasant for Phoenix standards. We've hardly had any days with temperatures over 100 this month so far, and that's rather unusual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdlife619 View Post
I also don't get why SD doesn't have many lights on our freeways either

There is lights, but only in the more populated areas, but yet they are scattered. We need more of those huge spotlights like you see going past the Carmel Valley area on the 805. They suddenly disappear quickly though and soon darkness is all you see at night.
That is concerning ... and someone even started a separate thread about the lack of freeway lights. Interstate 8 from the beaches to Mission Valley was horrible driving after sunset!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdlife619 View Post
Not sure about Arizona, but the Texas highway system is much better than CA, and are well lite. SD needs more freeway lighting for safety reasons.
Arizona's highway system isn't the best, but it serves a purpose. We have ADOT to deal with, which was once ranked as one of the worst state transportation departments in the nation. Phoenix's freeway system is actually pretty sufficient ... but we could use a few additional freeways like what San Diego has. Thankfully, there are more in the planning stages.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:54 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
17,930 posts, read 28,992,324 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valley Native View Post
Both Phoenix and San Diego have light rail. I have found some high and low points about both systems. Phoenix's is newer, more streamlined, and actually has been successful thus far in terms of ridership. It runs at street level, however, which I'm not crazy about. San Diego's light rail is called the San Diego Trolley, and it really doesn't have the look or feel of true light rail. However, I like the way much of the trolley system runs OVER many of the streets.
How does it not have the look or feel of "true light rail"? And what exactly is your definition of "true light rail" anyways?
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Old 06-19-2009, 03:25 PM
 
8,996 posts, read 28,407,472 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sav858 View Post
How does it not have the look or feel of "true light rail"? And what exactly is your definition of "true light rail" anyways?
San Francisco or New Orleans streetcar or better yet, the Melbourne AU trolley is really what people think of when they say "trolley". Basically a bus on a rail that can get you almost anywhere.

San Diego Trolley is more like a commuter rail than a trolley, until you hit the loop downtown. It is a bit of a hybrid approach (and not particularly good at either of them).
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Wherever I want to be... ;)
2,536 posts, read 9,491,369 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valley Native View Post
I don't care what they say about it being a "dry heat" ... it's still HEAT!
I'm a weirdo that enjoys the stifling, bone dry desert heat... but I will say that when the temps go above 110 or so, it's a bit hard to bear. However, I still would take that over 90 degrees with 95% humidity. Excellent comparison!
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Proud home of the Parkview Little Leaguers
489 posts, read 1,868,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valley Native View Post
As a native of Phoenix who visits San Diego on a somewhat frequent basis, I thought I would do a comparison of the two cities based on how similar in size both places are. Here's my review:
You didn't mention people in your comparison - Any differences there?
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:12 PM
 
745 posts, read 1,455,906 times
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I lived in the Phoenix area from age 11 to age 27 (minus one year in Flagstaff and one year in Tustin CA) and there is nothing there to get me to go back unless my highschool class had a reunion. Haven't been back since my parents passed away. Just not my kind of town.
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Old 06-19-2009, 11:20 PM
 
Location: San Diego A.K.A "D.A.Y.G.O City"
1,996 posts, read 4,307,479 times
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Well I was just recently in Vista, and noticed they have the Sprinter Rail (which I thought was more like the coaster). I was driving on Highway 78 and saw the sprinter going across a bridge. It looks more like a train and is designed better than the SD Trolley. I have no idea on the effects or it's efficiency of the light rail system up in North County, but hey at least they got one.

SD's mass transit isn't all that, but we need to appreciate the fact we have a light rail system in place that has over 50 miles of track. Many cities today are just barely starting to build a light rail system, while SD has been at it since 1980, so we have a huge head start compared to other US metro's
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