Traffic congestion has overtaken graffiti as a primary problem in Sparks, a city survey of residents shows.
Results of the 2015 Citizen Survey, presented to the Sparks City Council on Monday, also reveal that education is another top problem or concern among those surveyed. Residents, however, realize that the city has no control over the public school system but wished the city did, according to a presentation prepared for the council.
Nearly 71 percent of the survey respondents identified traffic congestion as a large or medium problem, while about 72 cited education or schools.
Graffiti was mentioned as a medium or large problem by about 57 percent of the survey participants, the lowest such mark dating back to the 2009 city survey. In 2013, the last time the survey was conducted, 72 percent of the respondents cited graffiti.
Other issues on the list included gang activity, identified by nearly 59 percent as a medium or large problem, and neighborhood appearance with about 44 percent putting it into that problem category.
The telephone survey, conducted on July 14-15, obtained responses from 510 residents representing all the city’s five City Council wards. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent, city officials said.
Asked about the quality of city services, 69 percent rated graffiti removal as good or excellent.
The city’s parks and recreation services drew positive reviews. Nearly 83 percent rated park maintenance as excellent or good, and nearly 75 percent gave high marks to the amount and variety of programs. Of the respondents, 77 percent said they had visited a park or facility in the past 12 months.
Street repair came in the lowest, with 51 percent rating it excellent or good.
About 25 percent of those surveyed said they have had contact with police in the past 12 months. Among those, nearly 75 percent rated the quality of service from police as excellent or good.
For services overall, 86 percent gave the city a grade of good or excellent.
Other results from the survey:
Job growth is too slow, 62 percent of those surveyed said, while 61 percent said population growth is the right amount.
Asked if they have a sense of pride in their neighborhood, 85 percent responded yes. And 79 percent said the sense of community is very strong or somewhat strong.
Asked if they support having one consolidated government for Reno, Sparks and Washoe County, 70 percent said yes.
Environmental issues, green technology and sustainability are important to 88 percent of the respondents.
Nearly 95 percent said they felt safe walking alone in business areas during the day, but that number falls to about 67 percent for walking after dark.
A total of 117 respondents said they had contacted the city to resolve a problem, with 71 of them reporting that the city was helpful with a resolution.
As to their preferred method of getting information about the city, 41 percent said the Internet while the newspaper was the next most popular source with 20 percent.