Aurora citizen survey: Road improvements, pedestrian work are top priorities

168

AURORA | Residents view road and pedestrian improvements as the largest problems Aurora faces, according to a new city survey.

“Reduction of traffic, improving traffic enforcement, repairing or widening roads and adding bike paths was the most cited improvement the city could make to improve residents’ quality of life,” said a survey conducted by The National Research Center (NRC) in Boulder. The surveys were mailed to 3,000 random Aurora residents in January and completed by 491 of them.

The survey results were reviewed by Aurora City Council members at a study session Monday, May 23.

Eastbound traffic backed up across from Anschutz Medical Campus on June 2, 2015, Aurora, CO. (Photo by Trevor L Davis/Aurora Sentinel)
Eastbound traffic backed up across from Anschutz Medical Campus on June 2, 2015, Aurora, CO. (Photo by Trevor L Davis/Aurora Sentinel)

General improvements to roads, sidewalks, bikeways and pedestrian uses was also rated as a top priority, with residents citing a high priority for improving access to major roadways such as Interstate 225, Parker Road, southeast Aurora and the Anschutz Medical Campus.

While this year, two-thirds of the respondents rated public parking and traveling by car as excellent or good, ratings for street lighting, street cleaning, sidewalk maintenance, snow removal and street repair declined since 2013.

Ward IV residents responded as the most pleased with street and transportation services while Ward I residents rated most of these services poorly.

Laurie Urban, a senior research associate with the National Research Center, said cities across the state are seeing a dip in the quality of transportation for residents due to the growing population.

On the bright side, residents responding were just as happy to call Aurora home as they were three years ago, the survey found. According to the results of the 2016 community survey, nearly two-thirds of residents rated their overall quality of life in Aurora as excellent or good.

Residents also rated the city higher than than they did in 2013 as a good place to raise children, work and retire. Three quarters of the same residents reported this year that they planned to stay in the city for the next five years and would recommend it to someone else.

Residents in Ward VI, according to the survey, gave more favorable ratings to their neighborhoods as places to live and the city as a place to raise children.

Residents who lived in Ward IV rated their quality of life highest, while residents  in Ward I rated their quality of life lowest, according to the survey.

Ward VI residents, along with Ward IV and V  residents were also more likely to recommend the city to someone and remain in the city versus residents in other wards.

Residents cited that what they liked most about Aurora was its location, followed by the city’s parks and cost of living. This was also the case for respondents three years ago.

Over the past three years, the city has also garnered higher ratings for its reputation, and quality of new dining and commercial options. Residents did state a decline in the variety of housing options, affordable health care and the cost of living in Aurora since 2013.

Aurora police cars and police tape outside of the scene of a shooting at 14584 E. 13th Ave. on Monday Sept. 28, 2015. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel
Aurora police cars and police tape outside of the scene of a shooting at 14584 E. 13th Ave. on Monday Sept. 28, 2015. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

For safety, residents’ feelings remained similar to what the city found in 2013. According to this year’s survey, 8 in 10 residents reported feeling safe in their neighborhoods and in Aurora’s commercial areas during the day. Residents also spoke highly of police, fire and other emergency city services.

According to the survey, residents are seeing a spike in crime that is higher than what was reported in 2013 and seven years ago. One in five respondents said a household member was a crime victim and one third indicated that they had reported a crime to the police.

According to the survey, Ward II and III residents reported feeling the least safe, while Ward IV residents reported feeling the most safe. Residents of Ward V reported less crimes than those in other wards.

Residents also said the city needed to improve its public safety facilities and safety was rated second-highest for what Aurora needed to improve for residents.

Aurora Ward IV Councilman Charlie Richardson said the city faced challenges championing itself as the “Safest Large City” in Colorado. A year after seeing crime dip — and after several recent years that saw crime plummet in Aurora — crime in Aurora climbed in 2015.

According to the survey, residents are also turning to social media to engage with city officials rather than attending a city-sponsored event.

Residents also rated city services similarly to what the survey found three years ago. About two thirds of residents gave excellent or good ratings to the quality of services provided by the city, according to the survey.

Ward IV and V residents rated city services the highest, while while Ward 1 residents tended to provide the lowest ratings.

Residents in general gave the highest ratings to sewer and water services, and the lowest to planning and zoning and code enforcement.

The City of Aurora conducted a similar survey in 2013 and 2008.