| 2015 Q3 | story by MEGAN GILLILAND, Communications Manager, City of Lawrence
Are you satisfied?
The city’s recent satisfaction survey provides insight into resident satisfaction and areas for improvement.
The City of Lawrence recently completed its 2015 Citizen Survey, which occurs every four years to assess satisfaction with the quality of city services and to gather input about priorities for the community.
This year’s survey was completed in May 2015 and was mailed to a random sample of 2,500 residents. The survey had a 53% response rate and is considered statistically valid. The city uses this data from residents to establish trends over time and to determine measurable and attainable goals for department performance. The survey asked about satisfaction with core city services as well as perceptions of safety, value and quality.
The Trends. This is the third citizen survey completed since 2007. The previous survey data allowed the city to develop trends over time in respect to overall satisfaction with city services. A Composite Satisfaction Index (CSI) is derived from ratings given by residents for the major categories of city services. Since 2007, the City of Lawrence’s CSI has increased eight points, while the average CSI for other cities in the Kansas City metro area and other U.S. cities has decreased by four and three points respectively. This means our citizens continue to have increased satisfaction with overall city services.
Public Safety. Public Safety: Police, fire and emergency medical services continue to have strong satisfaction ratings in the community. Ninety-seven percent of residents surveyed said they felt safe walking in their neighborhood during the day, and 77% of respondents were satisfied with how quickly the police department responded to emergencies. The quality of police, fire and EMS (emergency medical services) was also chosen as an area that should receive the most emphasis from the city during the next two years.
Fire and EMS: 92% of residents surveyed were satisfied with the professionalism of the city’s EMS personnel, and 91% of residents were satisfied with the overall quality of fire services in the community.
Parks and Recreation. The city’s parks and recreation systems continued to see high satisfaction from residents, including 92% satisfaction with the cleanliness of the city’s parks, and 84% satisfaction with the quality of recreation programs offered. One area residents felt needed more attention in the next two years was the number of walking and biking trails.
Public Works. Infrastructure maintenance and construction continue to be the areas of top concern for our residents. Seventy-one percent of people noted the maintenance of streets and utilities should be an area emphasized by the city. Residents wanted to see more timely street repairs and added attention to the conditions of neighborhood streets.
Transportation. Of those surveyed, 50% of residents responded that they were satisfied with the availability of pedestrian pathways, and only 21% of residents felt they were satisfied with the connectivity of bicycle lanes. Traffic congestion and flow of traffic continued to be an area of emphasis noted by residents.
What’s Next? Elected leaders and city staff use this data to determine how to best use the city’s resources to address issues our residents consider areas of emphasis and need. In this case, maintenance of infrastructure, flow of traffic and congestion, and the quality of police, fire and EMS were the top three areas noted as areas for improvement in the 2015 Citizen Survey. The city will continue to use the data collected to improve performance measures and develop trends over time for the overall satisfaction of city services.
It is interesting to note that there were several significant increases from the 2011 Citizen Survey to the 2015 Citizen Survey, including a 17% increase in satisfaction of the city’s indoor recreation facilities and an 11% increase in availability of drop-off recycling services. These two areas of improvement could be correlated to the city’s completion of Sports Pavilion Lawrence and the completion of curbside recycling in Lawrence in 2014.
The entire survey and more information is available online at www.lawrenceks.org/citizen_survey.