Survey: Bendites Like the Outdoors, Worry About Transportation | Bent
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Survey: Bendites Like the Outdoors, Worry About Transportation

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 9:02 AM

click to enlarge DHM RESEARCH
  • DHM Research
On the whole, Bend residents are happy with their quality of life, according to a 2015 survey conducted by DHM Research. The results of the survey, which polled 400 Bendites by cell phone and landline, were presented during a work session at last night's City Council meeting. They revealed a general upward trend in many major indicators (livability, economic opportunities and confidence in City government) and provided a window into the concerns, perceptions and habits.

An impressive 90 percent rated Bend as an excellent (62 percent) or good (28 percent) place to live.  And the reasons why are hardly surprising. More than 90 percent explained that they like living in Bend for reasons related to the outdoors, the environment, and recreation. 

"Bend is the gold standard for communities in Oregon. People live here because they want to live here," explained James Kendall, the DHM associate who presented the information.

Still, despite the generally rosy outlook, there areas residents would like to see improvements made. Most of those concerns were related to transportation. Traffic congestion and the condition of roads were high on the list of concerns. Overall, when it came to transportation issues, 47 percent of the responses concerned issues affecting travel by car. The top two transportation issues respondents felt the City should address were road infrastructure (26 percent) and traffic congestion (17 percent). Though fewer were concerned with multi-modal transit (bus system, biking, and walking), 24 percent cited some type of public transportation issue as their top priority. Only 6 percent of voters offered bike-friendly lanes as a primary concern.

These numbers are not surprising in light of the transportation habits revealed. The vast majority of those surveyed travel primarily by car, often alone. In fact, the ration of auto vs. non-auto travel has shifted even more in favor of cars (and solo trips) since the last survey two years prior. A whopping 93 percent of those surveyed typically drive. And walking (3 percent) beat out bicycling (2 percent) and taking the bus (2 percent).

Other highlights (or lowlights):
- 47 percent rate the condition of Bend's roads as poor or very poor. The other half (50 percent) say they are good. And 2 percent of those surveyed rated Bend's roads "excellent" (they probably don't get out much)
- 54 percent are very or somewhat concerned about their ability to meet their basic needs. This is particularly true of respondents living in NE Bend and renters. 
- 50 percent said they get most of their information from newspapers. TV came in close second at 49 percent.
- 39 percent are concerned or very concerned about vacation rentals, but 59 percent have little or no concern about the hot button issue. Not surprisingly, those living in NW Bend are more likely to be concerned.
- 56 percent say that repairing sidewalks should be a priority over the next 10 years. That's an increase of 17 percent over 2013.

Speaking of the future, Bend residents are split on whether it will get better, worse, or stay the same. Kendall says that's pretty typical. Why? Because it reflects perspectives on growth. Most residents attribute their optimism, pessimism or ambivalence on growth.

"This is pretty typical. You have members of almost every community who move there for a reason and when things change they don’t like it," Kendall explained. "And others who see as progress.”

Read the full survey report here and share your thoughts in the comments. Are the results surprising?

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About The Author

Erin Rook

Erin is the Source Weekly's Associate Editor. Before moving to Bend in 2013, Erin worked as a writer and editor for publications in Portland including PQ Monthly and Just Out. He has also written for the Willamette Week, El Hispanic News, Travel Portland, OUT City, Boston magazine and the Taunton Daily Gazette...
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