It’s news to no one that there is a lot of traffic in Gwinnett. Part of that can be attributed to Gwinnett’s continued success as an attractive community in which to live and/or work (if Gwinnett weren’t successful in attracting residents, you wouldn’t have hundreds of thousands of other commuters sharing the road with you every day). The cost of that success can be painful for all the road warriors navigating the arteries and highways. Those frustrations can be seen in this year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey, which is conducted annually by the Atlanta Regional Commission.
The survey was taken by over 5,400 residents around the metro Atlanta region. The 2016 MAS was conducted by A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research at Kennesaw State University (KSU). The 2016 survey asked 27 questions of 5,416 residents in a 13-county area, with results significant down to the county-level, as well as for the City of Atlanta.
For three consecutive years, residents have ranked traffic as the “biggest problem” facing the region. Approximately 28% of Gwinnett residents agreed with the region making it the most frequently used response (followed by crime at just shy of 20%). Of the 13 counties in the metro region, only Cobb and Cherokee counties had a higher percentage of respondents list traffic as their greatest concern.
When it comes to what to do about traffic, responses were a bit more mixed, but seemed to favor investment in transit as a preferred method. When specifically asked what the best long-term solution to traffic was, 44% of respondents wanted to see expanded public transit while 29% felt that improved highways and roads were the answer. When participants were asked about the importance of improved public transit to metro Atlanta’s future, 87% of Gwinnettians felt it was very or somewhat important.
But, despite the challenges that people in Gwinnett see in their daily lives, for the most part they love the place they live. Over 80% of those respondents said they would rate their neighborhood as excellent or good. The vast majority had a positive outlook with only 23% feeling that living conditions would be worse in three to four years than they are now.
Personally, I love the story this tells. It tells me that Gwinnett residents are proud to call this place home. They’re not blind to the issues they face, but they remain hopeful that solutions can be found to improve their daily lives. It’s a challenge to all of us to work together to find, plan, communicate and implement those solutions.