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Homelessness and Traffic Top Santa Monicans' Concerns, Survey Says

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

March 15, 2013
-- Based on a telephone survey conducted at the beginning of this year, Santa Monica residents rate homelessness and traffic as their top two major concerns.

Of the 404 households randomly surveyed, 29 percent rated Santa Monica's homeless population as a top concern and 28 percent said that they were concerned about traffic. According to the report, only 10 percent said they were concerned about overdevelopment.

But City officials celebrated the fact that the survey, conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3), showed that “among those who have had di rect contact with the City staff, high percentages (between 63% to 74%) rated their interactions positively for staff’s courteousness, knowledge and responsiveness.”

The survey also revealed that 92 percent think Santa Monica is “an excellent or good place to live.”

According to the report, 66 percent of those surveyed believe that traffic congestion has gotten worse while 36 percent believe that the number of homeless people has increased over the last few years.

The City's 2013 homeless count revealed a one percent increase over 2012 in the number of people sleeping on the streets of Santa Monica. ("Rise in Homelessness Could Be Future Trend, Officials Say," February 2013)

“In spite of the importance placed on these two issues, and the concern expressed that these issues are getting worse,” staff said.

Sixty-three "percent of respondents are satisfied or have a neutral opinion about the City’s efforts keeping traffic on City streets flowing smoothly and 65 percent have similar views about City’s efforts in dealing with homeless people in Santa Monica.”

Residents gave the City its highest marks when it comes to providing emergency services with a mean score of 4.2 out 5. Trash collection, public library services, public transportation services and park maintenance all received scores of 4 or higher.

Residents were less satisfied with the City's job ensuring that there is affordable housing, which averaged a 3.1 rating. The City's efforts to keep traffic flowing and to keep the number of homeless people down both received an average rating of 3.

Affordable housing topped the list of community benefits residents wanted to see come out of big developments, followed by employment and training opportunities, alternative transit options and open space.

The survey revealed that the vast majority of Santa Monicans still get around by car -- 82 percent -- or by foot -- 79 percent. Seventeen percent reported that they ride the Big Blue Bus “a few times a week,” while 23 percent ride their bikes.

“The survey results have been provided to the City’s Leadership Team as important feedback for development of workplans for the coming year,” staff said.

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