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Arlington County Asks: How Are We Doing?

by ARLnow.com March 27, 2012 at 11:15 am 4,014 47 Comments

Check your mailboxes, because Arlington County is conducting its third countywide survey of residents.

The survey is an effort to “measure residents’ satisfaction with major County services and to gather input about issues facing the community,” according to a press release. The survey asks residents to weigh in on a number of topics, including public safety, parks and recreation, public works, transportation, and human services. The survey also asks residents about their perceptions of Arlington County, how safe they feel in their neighborhood, and how they get news and information about Arlington.

A market research firm out of Kansas City is conducting the survey on behalf of the county by mailing survey forms to 3,600 randomly selected Arlington residents. An online version of this year’s survey is also available. Results from the survey will be published this summer on the Arlington County website.

The last survey, in 2008, concluded that 87 percent of residents were satisfied with the quality of county services and overall quality of life in Arlington. (See chart of specific satisfaction responses, above.)

“This important research will help us find out how we’re doing across many different service areas — and also pinpoint where we need to improve,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement. “The survey will provide information to guide future decision-making, long-range priorities, and strategic planning.”

  • charles

    Arlington Citizens Ask: Will the survey make anything better? Or will County management stay the same.

    • nom de guerre

      I surmise the County will take the results to their “kitchen” to refine them into mission-critical metrics to sustain this vibrant, affordable, walkable community.

    • Another Dude

      I’d like to suggest the County Board and management stop lying the the citizens and taxpayers…for starters.

  • Patrick

    Not a single question on the county’s spending priorities? Why not ask specific questions regarding artisphere, the year round homeless shelter, affordable housing subsidies, etc. I’m guessing the county doesn’t care or want to know how their citizens feel about these issues.

    • drax

      It’s a survey, not a budget hearing.

      • ArLater

        Right, because a survey regarding the countys performance has no relation to how they use the budget…

        • Josh S

          Seemed pretty obvious that the purpose of the survey was not to provide specific advice. Of course the information will inform budget decisions. Just not at a program by program level.

        • drax

          Nobody wants to take a survey with questions on every line item in the budget, except perhaps you.

        • Suburban Not Urban

          It’s a lot like hiring someone to apply for all the accolades so they can keep calling themselves a world class operation.

    • zzzzz

      They now have open houses every Monday night where you can voice your opinion on any topic that concerns you.

      Really, I think the communications between the county government and citizens are much better in Arlington than in any other place I’ve lived.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    I took the survey online. It was pretty comprehensive, which was a pleasant surprise.

  • JohnB2

    I was disppointed in how they asked questions for this year’s survey. For example, you can express disatisfaction about the extent of public housing subsidies but the implication is that you want more of it, when I would like less.

    • SoArl

      I just completed it and noticed the same thing. I had no idea how to answer that one so I just put neutral.
      It assumes we all agree with the board’s spending priorities.

      • sue

        Just as they would like you to.

        I gotta say–I don’t think that was an accident.

        • John Fontain

          If you answer that you are dissatisfied, they will take that to mean you want more.

          If you answer that you are satisfied, they will take that to mean that you are happy that they are spending X dollars on a particular program which will reaffirm their decision to spend those dollars.

          • SoArl

            Which is exactly why I marked “neutral.”

    • Ricardo

      Completely agree. Same thing with the question on arts/cultural programs. Express satisfaction and you’re giving consent. Express dissatisfaction and they’ll interpret it to mean that you want to see more funding. Many loaded questions in this survey.

  • Quoth the Raven

    At the risk of being flamed, I think the county is doing a fine job. One can always complain about certain projects they do not agree with, but that’s true in every community. But in most respects, especially day to day living things, I think Arlington is doing a good job.

    Here’s one specific example – Arl has the best trash collection of any place I’ve ever lived (and I’ve lived in a lot of places). They take everything, with never any hassle at all. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but in terms of quality of life on a day to day basis, it’s important. Sure, maybe I don’t like the Artisphere or other projects. But does a relatively tiny project really affect me? Not too much. But in the ways that do affect me, I think they’re doing great.

    • nom de guerre

      Just curious-What do you think of the quality of the roads? or are you on a car free diet?

      • Quoth the Raven

        Ha – funny question, because I have a pothole issue in front of my house (that may or may not be fixed in the near future).

        Overall, I think the quality of the roads are pretty poor, and that’s a good example on the other side of my argument.

        • Josh S

          Yeah, I’d be surprised if this doesn’t rank near the top of people’s concerns. The roads have gotten noticeably worse in the last five years.

          • Car-Free Diet

            It’s because of global climate change. Get out of your dirty, pollution spewing cars and the roads will be better.

          • John K.

            Okay, but will you cough up some cash for the buses I take that go over Columbia Pike and Pershing Drive?

          • Arlingtoon

            I’m with you there. Had to get $2700 worth of work done on the under-carriage of my car two weeks ago because of hitting potholes and crappy paving repairs. I drive surface streets in both Arlington and D.C., so I can’t blame Arlington exclusively (have you driven Columbus Circle in front of Union Station? Yikes!). It used to be that when I crossed the river into Arlington I’d emit an audible “Phew” when I felt my car stop shuddering from the battering it was taking. No more — now ours are as bad as theirs.

          • Not sure

            I think much of the blame for our poor roads can go to the construction traffic. Those trucks tear up the pavement. Some of the blame should also go to the crappy patching jobs they do on potholes. And of course some blame to the state/county.

          • Rick

            Yes but how would that explain piss poor road conditions away from central business districts, like Military Road, Williamsburg Blvd near Glebe etc

          • sue

            And it wasn’t even a bad winter!!!

          • SomeGuy

            $2700?! Arlingtoon, just play your cards right at Spider Kelly’s around closing time on a weekend, and you can usually get your under-carriage worked on for the price of a cab ride.

          • WeiQiang

            … but in Arlington Ridge, we have new sidewalks! /snark

  • Josh S

    Took survey online and it crapped out on me halfway. I hate it when that happens.

    • JohnB2

      A blank screen? I had that too a couple of times during the survey. Just refresh the page and it should pick up right where it left off.

      • Josh S

        Thanks. Yeah, I posted too soon. I also realized that refresh works.

  • O.G.

    The worst part of arlington are the inbreed honkies moving in! I AM TREYVON!

  • O.G.

    SIKE! That should be edited probably.

  • South Awwwlington

    Someone please enlighten the group as to why the County gives a darn about our sexual orientation?

    Is there some award for that too?

    And you can’t choose to not answer the question.

    I thought the survey was well done until that last question.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Exactly! I didn’t care for the questions about age, race/ethnicity, annual income, or gender either.

      • South Awwwlington

        Those are typical demographic questions though. I wonder when will start asking Religion, Favorite Color, Political Party Affiliation etc.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          I wonder the same thing sometimes. In my opinion, the survey should be only about the number of people who gave a particular response on a question or issue. Income, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, age, etc. should be none of their business. I don’t believe those things are very relevant in determining if 95 out of 100 responders think the County does great in providing walking/biking trails or does lousy at maintaining roads.

          • OldTimer

            Oh, but it is so much fun to read the results when they can state that “Gay white males over 50 who make more than $100,000 think the county does a great job providing walking/biking trails while straight hispanic females under the age of 25 making between $40,000 and $50,000 do not think so.”

  • Rick

    They couldn’t get an Arlington-based Marketing and Research firm for this?

  • Gina

    NEED TRASHCANS IN CLARENDON. There is one up near Whole Foods. That’s it. I can’t tell you how many empty gelato cups and coffee cups I’ve been asked to throw out at the small place I work at in Clarendon.

    • J

      . . . really need one in front of Pinkberry . . .

  • T.G.E.0.A….

    What Arlington needs is a tickt system where every single issue gets a tracking number. They are so disorganized when it comes to customer service.

  • Crystal City

    It probably makes the survey much more complicated, but it would have been nice to be able to provide clarification on some of your choices.

  • Coogen

    How much did the survery cost the taxpayer since it was contracted out?

  • PUP

    i voted for bill clinton.

  • SoMuchForSubtlety

    Ah ha. Showing that all of the chronic complainers on this site are a teeny tinty minority.


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