Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Monday Night Football Matchup No Contest In Competition For Complete Communities

It will be a battle between the cities of Sun and Fog. The San Francisco 49ers matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in a rough and tumble battle between bitter division rivals. But what about livability and complete communities?

It should be no surprise to fans of livability and complete communities that the Bay Area scores higher than the Phoenix region. San Francisco gets all A’s, while Phoenix sits just above Atlanta, Riverside, and Dallas-Fort Worth with three C’s and a D.

The Phoenix region does worst on “Living” and can thank its sprawling development patterns for much of that low score. The region has a highly successful light rail line with 27 stations, but only 2.3% of households live within walking distance of the line. A slightly higher percentage of people live in opportunity areas in the Phoenix region (and there are 82 of these places spread throughout), but still, only 9.7% of households in these walkable, compact places.

The Bay Area, on the other hand, is fifth in the nation in the number of households living near transit and third in the number of households living in opportunity areas. In comparison, you can see where Phoenix has room for improvement.

We know connecting jobs to transit is key to winning the game of connecting people to places, and 10.7% of Phoenix regional jobs are within walking distance of a light rail station. However, the planned additions to the light rail system only connect an additional 2.8% of regional jobs. For a region with only one light rail line today, that’s not an impressive addition and those future lines on the map will have to step up big like Larry Fitzgerald to make a play.

Only 2.2% of commuters in Phoenix take transit (light rail or bus), which is about the same as Missoula, MT, a town with no fixed-guideway transit.

So, what’s Phoenix doing right? Well, its first light rail line was an awesome start, and Phoenix has the potential to continue on that momentum. The region also has a decent score on some of the healthy food indicators: only 12% of opportunity areas are food deserts, the region has a low ratio of fast food establishments to healthy food ones, and most of the population stays pretty active. Phoenix also does pretty well on connecting opportunity areas to parks.

It’s going to be a hot one in Phoenix tonight with the vaunted 49ers defense taking on the Arizona offense led by some of the best in the league. Whoever the quarterback is for the Cardinals, expect a hard fought game in the desert Monday Night.

View Other Monday Night Football Matchups