SJ Mercury News: Los Gatos survey shows town growth, traffic congestion as top concerns

Results could help inform future policy decisions

The results are in from Los Gatos’ community survey, showing that while most residents ranked quality of life highly, they share concerns about the town’s growth and traffic congestion.

Town staff said the survey results could help inform future policy decisions and resource allocation based on residents’ priorities.

“The intent of this survey is to find the areas that we can do better, so we’re starting at a good place, but as we start to drill down, you’ll start to notice while we have a very high satisfaction level overall,” assistant town manager Arn Andrews said at the May 3 town council meeting, where the results were presented. “The community does have some areas that they want us to think about.”

The town spent approximately $25,000 to have consultant firm ETC Institute send surveys to a random sample of houses in Los Gatos in 2021. Staff said they intend to conduct the survey every two years to measure their progress.

Of the 650 responses, 97.2% said Los Gatos was either an excellent or good place to live, compared to the national average of 49.7%.

However, many residents expressed concerns about traffic congestion, specifically the beach traffic that grows over the summer.

Around 26% said they were dissatisfied with the flow of traffic on town streets, and 14% said they were very dissatisfied.

“As council knows, we’ve been working on traffic flow for about the last six or seven years in different forms,” town manager Laurel Prevetti said. “We’ve invested quite a bit on beach traffic, trying a number of different techniques. This is not a solvable problem, which I know is very frustrating for our residents.”

Residents also negatively ranked affordable housing and the growth of Los Gatos. The town is currently planning for the next 20 years of growth and eight years of development through state-mandated processes.

Around 29% of respondents said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with access to quality housing, and 41% were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the availability of adequate and affordable housing.

Nearly half of respondents said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with how the town was managing its growth.

Residents also ranked quality of police services and overall maintenance of town infrastructure as the most important town services.

Services that are the top priority to improve are maintenance of town streets and infrastructure; town Planning, Buildings and Development services; and quality of police services.

The survey also showed geographically where negative and positive responses were coming from.

“One of the interesting things about ETC is they also provide a GIS mapping, so not only do we get to see the survey results at an aggregate level, but now we get the sense that there are areas of our community that geographically feel they’re having a different experience than other parts of our community,” Andrews said.

A full copy of the findings from the survey can be found on the town website.

Mercury News article link:  https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/05/04/los-gatos-survey-shows-town-growth-traffic-congestion-as-top-concerns/

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