A Close View of Longfellow
The city recently released the results of a resident satisfaction survey done in 2012. While the number of residents surveyed was small, only a bit over 1,000, it does show that residents in the Longfellow Community are generally satisfied with city services compared to the rest of the city.
According to the survey, more than 90% of Longfellow respondents were happy with the neighborhood as a place to live, believe that people in the neighborhood look out for one another, and are happy with the garbage and recycling programs as well as snow removal.
Receiving less glowing feedback was the assistance received from the city during foreclosure, the level of value they believed they received from the city, and public education.
The one area where we were less satisfied with the city services than the rest of the city? Traffic signals, signage, and pavement markings for pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles. Perhaps what could be attributed to this is that up until recently, Hiawatha Avenue had issues with slow traffic signals. Additionally, two intersections in our community were noted as having some of the highest number of bicycle-car crashes in the city.
Also of note, nearly half of Longfellownians surveyed believe that K-12 education has improved, but when asked, only 68% say they are satisfied with public education.
Looking at the Broader Picture
While responses from the Longfellow Community were fairly positive, some Minneapolis residents weren’t as happy with the city. Council Member Cam Gordon said he was struck, but not surprised, by how different the results of the survey were depending on where the residents lived. He said, “Certain parts of the city reported being less satisfied or happy with the city. The Camden area, for example rated their neighborhoods as a place to live lower (60% saying it was good or very good) that those from the Longfellow area (93%).”
Council Member Gary Schiff had noticed the disparity as well. “I find it unnerving that disproportionately, young women and people of color are concerned for their safety and quality of living,” he commented. “This is also true for those living in the Near North neighborhoods. We have to look out for each other. Results to the contrary mean that some people in our community are left out.”
They both also mentioned that the data highlight issues of discrimination and accommodations for residents speaking a different language. Gordon said, “I was disheartened to see that one in six respondents reported being victim of discrimination in the city, and it was discouraging to learn that more than last year (14% vs 7%) reported experiencing discrimination in dealing with the city enterprise itself.”
Schiff commented, “72 percent answered that they didn’t know how to rate City of Minneapolis’ employees on their willingness to accommodate the need for a foreign language and/or sign language interpreter. With nearly 20 percent of Minneapolis residents speaking a foreign language in the home, this number is shocking. It means that we are potentially underserving a large part of our population.” He went on to add that city employees needed to be educated on how to recognize when a customer needs a language service and the public needed to be aware that interpreting is available.
Overall, Positive Results
Despite some of the negative results, the data report that the majority of residents are happy with the City of Minneapolis and their neighborhoods, and respondents gave the city its highest ratings since 2001. “I was delighted and struck by the pride people feel in our city and that the city as a place to live was rated much above the national benchmark,” said Gordon. Schiff ended on a similar tone, “I am encouraged by the positive tenor of the results. It shows that the City is headed in the right direction and that people are happy living here.”
The survey was commissioned by the City of Minneapolis from the National Research Center in Boulder, Colorado. The complete survey and data are available on the City of Minneapolis website.
For additional tips for interpreting the data, see a recent article by MPR. It published remarks made by the National Research Center President to the City Council that provide insight into the data.