City survey shows traffic still among top worries

ThisWeek  News РJune 13, 2012

Traffic congestion topped a list of Powell residents’ biggest concerns in a survey of community attitudes conducted last month.

At the June 5 City Council meeting, Marty Saperstein of the public opinion research firm Saperstein Associates presented the results of a telephone survey of city residents.

In May, the firm called more than 400 of Powell’s registered voters and asked them to weigh in on issues concerning the community and city government.

More than half of residents surveyed — 54 percent — said Powell is an “exceptional place to live.” Nearly everyone else called it “better than average.” Eighty-eight percent of respondents said the city is headed in the right direction.

The city’s “small-town” atmosphere was named its biggest strength by a strong majority of respondents who called Powell safe, family-oriented and peaceful. Its numerous public amenities, convenient location and high-quality schools also frequently were referenced as key strengths.

A vast majority also said they are satisfied with city’s range of events and activities, parks and open spaces and recreation activities.

A plurality of residents were only “somewhat satisfied” with the performance of City Council, but virtually all said they are “very satisfied” with the level of police protection.

Some questions in the survey garnered less-positive feedback. More than a third of residents who responded identified traffic congestion along city roads as a top concern going forward, and 55 percent said they are dissatisfied with efforts to manage local traffic.

“While most residents are satisfied with the city’s efforts to maintain the community streets and roads, revitalizing downtown and controlling residential growth, traffic continues to be a concern for many,” Saperstein said.

Other concerns named by some respondents included high taxes, as well as infrastructure in need of repair, particularly roads.

Officials said the renewal of a 1.8-mill property levy, set to appear on the November ballot and aimed specifically at capital improvements, would improve traffic flow with projects that include completing the Murphy Parkway connection to Liberty Road.

Other amenities desired by many survey respondents include new bike paths, new restaurants and more overall development of downtown Powell.

The Saperstein survey also was used to gauge public opinion on the proposed levy, which has the unanimous support of council and would not raise taxes.

When asked to weigh in on a similar levy proposal during the survey, more than 80 percent of respondents said they would favor the issue, with more than half saying they “strongly” favor it. Just one in 20 — 6 percent — opposed it “strongly.”

It was the third community survey conducted in Powell in six years.

Overall, the survey indicated that satisfaction among residents has risen in nearly all categories from 2008 and 2010 levels.