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April 28, 2016 Published in City Hall, Top Stories

City Of Alexandria Releases Findings From 2016 Community Survey

The City of Alexandria announced the results of the 2016 Community Survey at the City Council legislative meeting on Tuesday, April 12. Residents were surveyed using the National Citizen Survey, developed in conjunction with the National Research Center and the International City and County Managers’ Association. The survey included both standardized questions to allow comparison to national benchmarks, and questions specific to Alexandria needs.  

The National Citizen Survey measures community livability by capturing resident opinions within three pillars of a community (community characteristics, governance and participation) and across eight central facets of community (safety, mobility, natural environment, built environment, economy, recreation and wellness, education and enrichment, and community engagement.) The survey was distributed to a random, representative sample of 1,400 Alexandria households; of that number, 357 returned surveys.

Important Areas of Focus in the Future: Survey respondents identified the economy and safety as the most important areas of focus for Alexandria in the next two years. When asked about priorities for the City, about 80% of respondents indicated that housing affordability would be an essential or very important area for Alexandria to focus on in the future, 77% supported parking and traffic management, and 68% supported pre-K and child care.

The survey’s key findings include the following:

Quality of Life: Most residents (83%) rated Alexandria’s overall quality of life as “excellent” or “good,” and 91% positively rated Alexandria as a place to live. Ratings for the overall image of Alexandria were higher than in comparison communities, with nearly 9 in 10 respondents awarding positive ratings.

Economy: Overall, Alexandria had very strong economy ratings, with many aspects being rated higher than comparison communities, including the vibrancy of Alexandria’s downtown area, shopping opportunities, employment opportunities, Alexandria as a place to visit and the City as a place to work. The City’s cost of living was rated favorably by fewer than 2 in 10 respondents, and only 21% of respondents rated the availability of affordable quality housing as “excellent” or “good.” Both ratings ranked in the 9th percentile of responses nationwide.

Safety: An overall feeling of safety was rated highly by about 8 in 10 residents, with at least 9 in 10 feeling safe in their own neighborhoods and downtown. At least 8 in 10 respondents said they had not reported or been the victim of a crime in the previous 12 months. About 3 in 10 said they had contact with a police officer in the past 12 months, and of those, 9 in 10 rated the officer as “excellent” or “good.”

Mobility:  Despite the region’s well-known traffic congestion, overall ease of travel was favorably rated by about three quarters of Alexandria residents and was similar to communities elsewhere. About 7 in 10 or more residents gave “excellent” or “good” ratings for the availability of paths and walking trails, ease of walking, travel by bicycle and public transportation and bus or transit services, all ratings that were higher than those in similar communities. City residents also reported higher than average levels of participation for public transportation (83%) and walking (71%). The only aspect of mobility rated lower than the national average was public parking, viewed as positive by only about one quarter of respondents for a ranking in the 11th percentile nationwide.

Government Services: The overall quality of services provided by the City government was rated as “excellent” or “good” by 83% of residents. Respondents also gave positive (“excellent” or “good”) ratings for customer service provided by City employees (69%). At least half the respondents gave favorable ratings for value of services for taxes paid (52%), and confidence in City government (54%). 

The results of the survey will provide meaningful context for the revision of the City’s Strategic Plan and other strategic efforts, including the City’s AlexStat performance management program.  To view the survey report, visitalexandriava.gov/Performance

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