Southlake Journal

June 23, 2014

Southlake tackles survey feedback

Residents concerns include traffic, growth and bicycle access.

Southlake staff says projects are under development and there are plans to address residents’ concerns of traffic, bicycle access and growth management based off the 2013 citizen satisfaction survey.

Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski gave an overview of the city’s process to remedy residents’ largest issues during the June 17 City Council meeting. From October to November 803 residents participated in the online survey with a 3.5 percent margin of error.

The city rated the biggest concerns by measuring a service’s importance and that service’s resident satisfaction rating, via the citizen satisfaction survey released every two years. In the last survey, 2011, there were 11 issues with a large disparity.

“One of the things that was especially exciting to see was the fact that those gaps have reduced from 11 issues down to three,” Mayor John Terrell said. “That tells us that we’re on the right track and we’re doing the right things to help alleviate the problems as they were identified.”

This year’s largest issues are managing traffic congestion with a 41 percent gap, providing bicycle-friendly streets and trails at 32 percent and managing growth and development at 26 percent.

Ortowski said city staff uses survey data to help gauge budgetary needs and outline the city’s comprehensive plan, Southlake 2030. She said solutions are outlined in the master plan.

The survey results show most people frustrated with traffic on the city’s major streets and when commuting in and out of the city, especially during peak hours.

The traffic management concern has decreased since 2011 and Ortowski attributes that to the completion of the DFW Connector project and the installation of medians along FM 1709, which were under construction when the 2011 survey was released.

She said some efforts are already underway like light timing synchronization, intersection striping and construction projects like the upcoming Texas turnaround over 114 by Gateway Church.

“The first approach is add capacity to the city’s existing road network and create other opportunities for movement throughout the city,” she said.

The city’s 2030 plan shows a focus on adding signed routes, which notify drivers to share the road, throughout the city including parts of Kimball Avenue, W. Bob Jones Road and more.

One resident commented on the survey about the importance of managing growth while preserving the quality of life they have come to expect.

“I don’t want to encounter the traffic problems and the loss of green space that I have seen cities encounter because of their desire for more tax money,” it read.

Terrell said managing growth while maintaining the lifestyle residents expect is a balancing act.

“Citizens want a lot of really nice parks, roads, sewer system, etc., and we have to do enough from a commercial side to make sure that tax burden does not land on the homeowner,” he said. “But there is a balance.”

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