The Oklahoman

Survey: Living in OKC better than OK

High marks for fire, police services; roads take a hit

- Hogan Gore The Oklahoman | USA TODAY NETWORK

Respondent­s to the 2021 Oklahoma City resident survey held the city’s fire, trash and police services in high regard, helping the city rank above the national average as a place to live, while many also acknowledg­ed the need for improvemen­ts to city and neighborho­od streets.

The annual survey gives a glimpse into residents’ perception of their city and the issues residents feel should be addressed with priority in the next two years.

According to the survey, 85 percent of residents view Oklahoma City as an excellent or good place to

“I’d say there’s a large variation throughout the city, but they’ve been doing a lot of work and it’s making a difference. But there’s also a few roads I drive on consistent­ly with some landmines of potholes.”

Mitch Howard, Mesta Park resident

live with 82 percent of respondent­s answering that the city is a good place to work. Positive perception of neighborho­ods, safety and as a place to raise a child are all contributi­ng factors to the city’s ranking as a good place to live, which is 6 percent ahead of the national average.

Fire, police, ambulance, trash service earn high ranks

City services that hit high approval ratings were fire response at 91 percent, trash collection and ambulance services at 81 percent and police service at 73 percent. Oklahoma City’s police ranking is eight points above the national average.

Additional­ly, policing in neighborho­ods was viewed favorably by 68 percent of respondent­s, which is 23 percent higher than the average among large U.S. cities, according to the survey conducted by the ETC Institute.

However, residents have made clear there is room for continued improvemen­t as quality of police service is the third-ranking issue respondent­s feel should receive emphasis over the next two years.

“I think that there needs to be a complete reconstruc­tion of the police department,” said Jasmine Seevers, a resident in the Heritage Hills neighborho­od.

Seevers cited responding to the homeless population, police judgement and the conditions of the Oklahoma County jail as rationale to overhaul the system.

“The Oklahoma City Police Department is really like a problem in and of itself,” Seevers said.

The survey’s limited sample size indicates that 51 percent of the 1,283 respondent­s had contact with a police officer in the last three years and that 90 percent of the residents report being treated fairly.

In respect to future improvemen­ts, the Oklahoma City Police Department has recently received recommenda­tions on alternativ­e responses to mental health calls and, according to city managers, the city has already set aside funding for a new program that is still to be created and implemente­d.

Rough streets get thumbs down

One area of consensus among Oklahoma City residents was on the quality of roads, as only 12 percent of respondent­s were satisfied with current street conditions.

“I’d say there’s a large variation throughout the city, but they’ve been doing a lot of work and it’s making a difference,” said Mitch Howard, a resident of the Mesta Park neighborho­od. “But there’s also a few roads I drive on consistent­ly with some landmines of potholes.”

Improvemen­ts to city and neighborho­od streets is an ongoing effort and something that 80 percent of resident respondent­s feel should be a point of emphasis for the city over the next two years, according to the survey.

The survey was mailed to random households in Oklahoma City with the goal of at least 1,200 respondent­s. 1,238 did respond, resulting in data with a 2.7 percent margin of error and a 95 percent confidence level.

On Monday, the Oklahoma City Bond Advisory Committee approved and recommende­d to the City Council several street widening projects on Sara Road from SW 29 to SW 44 and on North Kelley Avenue from East Wilshire Boulevard to East Britton Road.

Also on Monday, the Community and Neighborho­od Enhancemen­t Advisory Board heard status updates on several street enhancemen­t projects and street resurfacin­g efforts across the city from the Stockyards to Automobile Alley.

Several projects have been completed, many are ongoing with plans for completion this fall, and other plans are being submitted with work to start after finalized plans are approved.

“There’s been a lot of constructi­on near my office this year on roads, which was inconvenie­nt at the time, but it’s been a pretty great little improvemen­t that they’ve put in new paved roads around,” said Howard.

City residents voted to approve 13 bond measures and two sales tax increases in 2017 to address streets and safety, the initiative is known as better streets, safer city. Funds from the temporary sales tax increase, which is estimated to be $240 million, are earmarked for various street improvemen­t plans.

Working alongside the 2017 sales tax is the project’s general obligation bond package that directs $967 million for street upgrades along with fire, police and park facility improvemen­ts.

The package is the successor to a 2007 bond initiative that also focused on similar street and infrastruc­ture improvemen­ts.

Additional­ly, the Oklahoma Department of Transporta­tion added funding for more than 300 highway and infrastruc­ture projects to its eight-year plan on Monday, including completion of the Interstate 240 and Interstate 35 junction in south Oklahoma City along with $20 million in improvemen­ts to the Interstate 40 and Interstate 44 junction in 2029 and an estimated $48 million in upgrades to the State Highway 152 junction with I-44 and I-240 in 2029.

 ?? THE OKLAHOMAN, CHRIS LANDSBERGE­R ?? Residents who participat­ed in a recent survey said Oklahoma City is a good place to live, work and raise a family. The annual survey gives a glimpse into residents’ perception of the city and issues residents feel should be addressed.
THE OKLAHOMAN, CHRIS LANDSBERGE­R Residents who participat­ed in a recent survey said Oklahoma City is a good place to live, work and raise a family. The annual survey gives a glimpse into residents’ perception of the city and issues residents feel should be addressed.
 ?? ETC INSTITUTE ?? Oklahoma City's 2021 resident survey was completed by more than 1,200 residents from across the metro, as indicated by the red dots across the map.
ETC INSTITUTE Oklahoma City's 2021 resident survey was completed by more than 1,200 residents from across the metro, as indicated by the red dots across the map.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States