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City of Tigard survey highlights traffic concerns

A new survey released by the city of Tigard this week shows that people are mostly satisfied with Tigard as a place to live, but there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to traffic.

The city's recent Community Attitudes Survey was used to gauge concerns with the city. The results showed that 99 percent of polled residents are satisfied with the city, and consider themselves much safer now than in years past.

The results of the survey were presented to the Tigard City Council Tuesday night.

'The survey has really grown in importance with the layoffs that (the city) went through (in 2010),' said Kent Wyatt, senior management analyst for the city. 'It gives the city council some info before they set their priorities for the year. It really is a kind of outline for what are the biggest issues in Tigard.'

The telephone survey is given every other year, but for the first time the city posted the survey online for anyone to take.

'We really didn't know what to expect,' Wyatt said. 'But this is a step in the right direction to enhance our citizen communication, we put it out there for everybody.'

In total, the city received input from 668 residents through phone and online surveys. The survey discussed topics from Facebook to the possibility of MAX light rail.

No surprise, traffic remained the No. 1 issue among most residents, but Wyatt said that different demographics answered the question differently. People age 40-44 said their main issue was improving education and schools, and people age 55-59 said the city should focus on improving the local economy.

Tigard residents also said that they would like to see more family-friendly and upscale restaurants in town.

In 2009, the Tigard- and Sherwood-areas were designated as the next priority for High-Capacity Transit, which could mean MAX light rail rolling through town sometime in the next decade.

According to the survey 60 percent polled said they wanted to see Tigard get MAX eventually, saying that it would bring more people to town, and would help congestion on Pacific Highway.

'Those who were in favor of it said that they had used light rail before, and those who didn't mainly wanted to know how it was going to be paid for,' Wyatt said.

About 80 percent of residents said that they would approve of some sort of recreation and activities program run by the city, leading the city's Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to approach the City Council on Tuesday to get funding to start a program in 2012. The recreation program would include anything from sports leagues to foreign language classes and children's programs.

'We believe a recreation program will be a way of life,' said parks board member Troy Mears. 'The riches of our city are reflected by what we offer.'

Mayor Craig Dirksen said that in the past there has been little money given to recreation activities in town, but agreed to take up the idea during the city's annual goal-setting meeting in December.