San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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May 14th, 2008
Citizens Rate City in 8th Annual Citizen Survey

San Marcos residents are generally satisfied with the services they receive from the City of San Marcos and see protecting the environment, solving traffic problems and keeping San Marcos attractive as top growth issues.

These are some of the findings from the eighth annual Community Outreach Survey conducted by the City of San Marcos and analyzed by Dr. Hassan Tajalli, Associate Professor of Political Science and statistician at Texas State University.

“The findings of this survey provide information that local leaders need to improve the management of the City,” Dr. Tajalli said. “Not only do the results help identify service delivery areas that need more attention, but more importantly, these results can be considered an annual progress report of service delivery.”

On January 15, 2008 some 3,279 questionnaires in English and Spanish were sent to randomly selected utility customers. Residents returned 302 surveys by mid-March, a response rate of 9.21%.

The survey found the highest level of citizen satisfaction in library programs and services, fire services, garbage pickup, parks facilities and open space and recreational programs.

Services with the lowest level of satisfaction were bicycle lanes and routes, downtown parking, sidewalks and downtown redevelopment.

Most improved services were the drainage utility, traffic control (sings and signals), police services, municipal court and garbage pickup.

Services that showed the steepest decline included downtown redevelopment, municipal airport, and planning and development services, the survey showed.

The most important growth issues for residents were protection of the environment, solving traffic problems, and keeping San Marcos attractive.

The top priorities for citizens included:

  1. Solving traffic problems
  2. Economic growth, business opportunities and jobs
  3. Taxes, fees and charges
  4. Roads, streets, route maintenance, sidewalks, and bike routes
  5. Police and crime prevention

The current survey showed that about 62% of the residents have accessed the City’s web site (www.ci.san-marcos.tx.us ) The most requested web services are online bill paying and account information, information about City services and departments, events, activities and election information, and making comments and suggestions.

The survey found variations in viewpoints on city services by demographic groups, Texas State University students, homeowners, non-homeowners, age, and income. The study compares the current results with the previous seven community surveys.

The 2007/08 Community Outreach Survey is posted on the City web site at www.ci.san-marcos.tx.us under Quick Links.

By MELISSA MILLECAM
Communications Manager – City of San Marcos

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0 thoughts on “Citizens Rate City in 8th Annual Citizen Survey

  1. Good to know the city is now aware of the community desire for bike lanes. At the CAMPO Summit a couple weeks ago, there was a study presented showing bike lanes to be safer for both cyclists and car drivers. There is also a correlation between bike lanes and perceived safety in the mind of many cyclists, and more people would be willing to ride their bikes if they had designated lanes. San Marcos has the potential to be one of the most bikeable cities in Texas if we get bike lanes and city support for biking! Quality of life is quite a selling point for all this “branding” that I hear cities concerned with these days.

  2. I’m glad to see this as well, but I am not sure about the top priorities list. When asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1-5, citizens who registered an opinion gave bike lanes a 1.76 on average.

    This was the lowest score on the survey, meaning there was the lowest level of satisfaction and I would think this would move the item to the top of the list.

    Only 1.4% rated bike lanes “excellent” and 17.8% rated them “good”, these were the lowest percentages of any items in the survey.

    Lest we think that people just don’t care and were selecting “no opinion”, I would also point out that 39.9% rated bike lanes as poor. This was the highest percentage of any items on the survey.

  3. The bike lanes are a priority for the city. There is a significant amount of money allocated for them, but progress is slow.

    I was referring more to the list of priorities in this article. That, and I was taking an opportunity to get on the soap box, to point out the interest in this issue, as I am involved in it to a degree.

    I’m on the Transportation Advisory Board and the bike improvements subcommittee for that board. The bike subcommittee has only met a few times and never really got into any rhythm before we had a fair amount of turnover on the TAB and some questions about whether the TAB was supposed to have subcommittees.

    Things are back on track now and we will have subcommittee members appointed this month, with regular meetings to follow. Hopefully, reports like this will help to give us the momentum and support to get some improvements pushed through.

    I would point out that bike lanes are an integral part of all new development, like the Wonder World extension and the improvements on Post Road. This has been raised as a potential issue that may be contributing to slow growth in San Marcos, but we are working to find a balance that everyone can live with.

  4. Steve, thanks for taking the time to fill out the survey and add your input!

    Ted, Perhaps the 39.9% of people who rated bike lanes as “poor” did so because they have few bike lanes to rate! The new roads with bike lanes will be awesome… but we need to do something to make existing roads safe for bikers! I hate seeing people bike on the sidewalk, but until they feel safe in the street, a potential citation isn’t going to deter them from the dangers of sidewalk biking.

    That being said, the only thing to do is get involved and make it happen. I hope we can get the bike subcommittee up and running soon. Slow progress is better than none at all. Perhaps bike riding education should also be a focus, so that people can learn how to bike on streets without designated lanes, and also learn the best routes to bike around town without encountering too much high-density traffic.

  5. I am with you all the way. This needs to be one of our top initiatives. Let’s make sure we elect people who truly believe this as a priority in the future. San Marcos can be the most bike and pedestrian friendly city in Texas.

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