Grid Pattern Rules!

Lubbock has it’s “main roads”, North Loop, 4th, 19th, 34th, 50th, South Loop, 82nd, I-27, Avenue Q, University, Indiana, Quaker, Slide, Frankfort, West Loop, and the newest addition, the Marsha Sharp Freeway; each separated by a miles, making this excellent 7 mile by 8 mile grid pattern for getting around. With only 52 square miles to worry about, things usually aren’t that difficult to find.

Phoenix, and by Phoenix I mean “The Valley” has it’s “main roads” Loop 101, I-17, US-51, I-10, Loop 202, Loop 143, separated by miles of surface streets, making a semi-reasonable grid pattern of 60 miles wide by 50 miles high, just 3000 square miles to worry about.

That’s kind of an exaggeration, if you were to take a look at a map of Phoenix you’ll see it’s not completely filled in rectangle, but its close. It is nice that most major street run North-South or East-West. Also if you are in “East Valley” and want to go to the closest In-N-Out burger, there is one within several miles, you don’t have to drive to “West Valley” for that. I would wager that if you made a list of all the things you purchased last year, you could find two shops for it in Phoenix, you then just go to the closer one.

My job has required I drive all over the valley, but each place is easy to get to, you start from wherever you are, you find out which surface street takes you to an interstate or US highway, you find out if you can stay on that major road, or merge or exit onto another one, then find out which surface street you want to exit onto, then where you turn after that, and you are there.

Anecdotally I was told two things today. First that there are people who live in Phoenix but never, under any circumstances, drive on the freeway; my co-worker tells me he knows a person who hasn't driven on the freeway in 15 years. Which I can understand, you don't have to use the interstates to get from a to b, you could take some of the surface street all over town, it would just take forever. Secondly I've also been told that right now during the "winter months", all the "Snow birds" are in town, just adding to the traffic congestion. "Snow birds" are affluent people, usually elderly, who live in sunnier climates during the winter months, and milder climates during the summer months. Obviously Phoenix makes a great selection for many elderly, what with their attractive golf courses and beautiful weather. I asked "why are they on the road in rush hour?" and was told that they wake up early, and drive to their doctors appointments.

Granted there is much more traffic in Phoenix on the interstates than you will ever find in Lubbock (even after a Tech game). There are occasionally times when an interstate can grind to a complete halt, for 20 minutes or more moving one car length every 1 minute, as your engine just gets hotter as you sit in idle. The worst times you will eventually pass the 2 car pileup that seems obvious to have stopped you in your tracks, other times it will be nothing, and traffic will just slowly thin out till you can again reach the speed limit.


Anonymous said...

The best thing about Lubbock is that anyone who wants to play golf can afford to. That's one of the reasons my husband loves it. The most he's paid is $36 for 18 holes.

If you want to know how great that is, check what it costs to play golf in the valley.

Unknown said...

I am moving to Phx from FL. I almost spit my coffee at my computer laughing when you mentioned why the snowbirds are on the road in rush hour traffic. You will get the same answer here about the doctors' appointments. You have all day!! Relax, drink your coffee...go at 10 am when I am already at work!