January 25, 2019
Housing Affordability A Top Issue for Residents
On January 22 the City Council discussed the results of the 2018 community survey. Not surprisingly, affordability was listed as one of the City’s top challenges. As the City’s consultants wrote, “One of the biggest challenges found in this survey was affordability. Only 9 percent (of respondents) rated the cost of living in Boulder as excellent or good. The lack of affordability was most evident in the assessments given to affordable housing where only 8 percent gave the current opportunities positive ratings. Related, the variety of housing options was rated positively by fewer than 20 percent. Both housing indices were much lower than those found elsewhere in the nation. The survey also found that more Boulder residents were experiencing housing cost stress than their national counterparts.”
In addition, traffic was another challenge. “Traffic flow, travel by car and public parking received positive ratings (from) only about 30 to 40 percent of residents, and all (transportation-related) community characteristics were lower than national averages.” Aaron Brockett asked the staff to bring back data from recent traffic counts and travel time studies for further discussion.
Finally, it was noted that only 34 percent of respondents agreed that Boulder’s City Council implements policies that “reflect my values.” The consultants said, “there is significant opportunity for clarity about how (public) input is used.” To be fair, this is a typical response rate in many communities however, one would have thought the Council might express some concern over this finding, but no one said a word.
The discussion about the survey was very short. The City Manager said the 2019 work plan is appropriate, inferring City priorities align with residents’ concerns, and the Council agreed with that assessment.