Redmond city staff and city council received a big pile of citizen opinions on how city hall is performing at making Redmond an even better place to live.
The Redmond Community Survey on how well city hall is doing its job was recently sent out in water bills, hard copies via city newsletters as well as emailed to private citizens and businesses. Residences were also advised they could respond to the survey on line on the city’s website. Nearly 1,500 surveys were completed from May 20th of this year through June 21st. As a headline, responders think the city’s doing a good job but they want improvements too.
Nearly two-thirds of survey responders felt positive about the city’s overall job of delivering city services. Only 5% gave the city an F. Nearly a quarter were fairly neutral.
As for Redmond Police, respondents gave them an overall “B-” but also an “incomplete” in the category of controlling speeders. But overall, Redmond residents like their police department – a lot. And that’s saying a lot when compared to what’s been showing up on the evening news lately.
The survey showed that citizens feel grade “A” safe in their neighborhoods, grade “B” safe in city parks, and grade “A-” in downtown Redmond. Respondents said they generally feel safe at night in their neighborhoods as well as in Redmond downtown. But not so safe in city parks at night.
But speaking of parks, during the day people say they have a B+ time when they’re recreating at city parks. Most people spend most of their “in the park” time at parks very near their homes. Less than a quarter of the survey responders said they use school playgrounds and green space.
They give city parks a solid “B” rating compared to a middle “C” grade to school playgrounds.
Only 20% of respondents said they use Juniper Golf Course for recreation. Of those who use Juniper Golf Course about three-quarters say they have a positive view of it. The jury’s still out on the recent improvements to the course’s restaurant.
Survey opinions on city streets, lighting, sewer and water services ranged from a low “C” to a low “B.” There was significant dissatisfaction with city street lighting. Water services were higher rated. Sewer about the same. Street maintenance was in the same ballpark as were storm drains. The way Redmond’s municipal water tastes seem to put some respondents off, but that might be because some people’s home plumbing may not be in good shape – that opinion offered by city workers who say Redmond’s water has had a long reputation for being extremely high quality due to near pristine sources for city water.
Redmond streets got high marks – a solid “B” grade – affirmed by many as being ‘smooth.’ Respondents said bicycling and walking are pleasurable around town. However, as mentioned above, vehicle speeding is still a major concern. Nearly 40% of respondents to the survey complained that speeding is a major problem in Redmond. Police Chief Dave Tarbet said he’s reviewed those opinions and says his department will focus more enforcement on the issue.
When it comes to housing in Redmond, many responded that they love or like their homes very much, plus the fact they’re all pretty close to city parks and good places to shop. But a good thirty percent complained that housing is too expensive for those of modest income. But overall, three quarter of respondents said Redmond is a very good place to live.
As for getting around town, respondents said traffic is largely not a problem. Most commute alone. Bus travel is borderline non-existent due to a lack of viable service.
Use of the Redmond Airport is spotty. Those who did use the airport, most said service levels were good including car rentals, restaurants and taxis. No big negative scores in this category.
When it comes to downtown Redmond, survey responders said the downtown is a great place for dining, family friendly recreation and shopping. But some would like the shopping experience more diversified and upgraded.
When it comes to keeping up on how Redmond is growing, many drew a big blank. They don’t keep track of what’s being built or where. They have little to no interaction with the city’s community development department. A long-arm’s length relationship also typified survey respondents with Redmond City Hall. The overwhelming response was that they had no idea what was going on at city hall and nearly none had served on city advisory boards or commissions. City staff points out that about 100 citizens volunteer to serve on those boards and commissions.
The survey also showed that the vast majority of citizens are not involved in the public arena although a small minority did say that getting involved with the city is a good thing and helps the community get its point across to city leaders.
As for the make-up of Redmond’s citizenry filling out the survey it was decidedly older. Seventy percent were 45 and older. Two-thirds were female. Nearly half lived in the southwest area of town, 41% in the northwest, 10% in the northeast and 2% in the southeast area of town.
City officials say they’ll use the survey results to better fine tune the quality and the effectiveness of how the city delivers it’s municipal services to the people of Redmond. Then, they’ll re-survey Redmond residents to see if citizen satisfaction is trending upward.