Rohnert Park residents are quite satisfied with their city, according to a 2,401-response survey conducted in February.
“I’m happy to say 70 percent of people say we are going in the right direction, and this is an 8 percentage point increase over last year,” City Manager Darrin Jenkins said at Tuesday evening’s Rohnert Park City Council meeting.
“We are already using the results as we develop the proposed budget, plan future capital projects, and program service improvements,” says the report.
When asked to rate the overall quality of life in Rohnert Park, 73 percent said “excellent or good,” and 78 percent gave their neighborhood the same rating.
Road maintenance continues to be an issue for many residents, however. More than half (58 percent) rated the traffic flow on major streets as “fair” or “poor,” and 65 percent said the same about pavement conditions. The poor rating for traffic flow was up 6 percentage points over last year.
Councilmember Joe Callinan brought up the possibility of disruption to traffic flow when the SMART train begins commuter service later this year.
Vice-Mayor Pam Stafford echoed his concern for the Golf Course Drive underpass area. “I personally have been stuck for four traffic cycles, so I know it’s a mess,” she said.
When asked if the city could do one thing differently, the top response was potholes and street repair (219), followed by traffic signal timing (175) and creating a downtown (150).
An overwhelming 96 percent said they feel “very or somewhat safe” in their neighborhood during the day, and 80 percent said the same about nighttime hours. Only 64 percent, however, said the same about the city’s creek paths during the day, a number that fell to 15 percent during the night. Fifty-six percent said they feel “very unsafe” along the creek paths during the night.
Though creek paths make some residents unsafe, 82 percent have a favorable view of Rohnert Park police. Firefighters received even higher marks, with 94 percent of respondents having a favorable view.
In response to the passage of Prop. 64 decriminalizing the use of cannabis in the state, 61 percent said they would like to see no change to cannabis businesses in the city. Rohnert Park does not currently permit dispensaries, deliveries, or commercial growing or manufacturing. The city does allow up to 50 square feet of residential growing.
“We do have an internal task force developing our approach to marijuana regulation,” said Jenkins.
The survey “reached every demographic of the city,” say city officials. The majority (82 percent) heard about the survey through a city email or Facebook. Ninety- one percent of respondents live in Rohnert Park and 19 percent work in the city.
Councilmembers unilaterally agreed that the survey was a valuable tool in communicating with citizens. “Feedback is like water for a plant — it’s how we grow,” said Jenkins.