In support of a revision and update to its 1993 Neighborhood Conservation Plan, in 2006, the Leeway Overlee Civic Association commissioned a voluntary survey of its residents to determine their opinions and thoughts on a variety of community issues. The civic association appointed a committee to construct, distribute and analyze the survey results. Guidance and support was provided by Arlington County’s A Guide to the Neighborhood Conservation Program Planning Process, and Tim McIntosh of the Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. A summary of the results are below. The numeric results of the survey are contained in Attachment 2 and the survey tool is contained in Attachment 3.
Methodology The survey is a 42 item instrument with mixed response categories, including open comment categories (see Attachment 2). Survey content was largely driven by mandatory and suggested topics from Arlington County, with the input of individuals who volunteered to serve on the committee. In March 2007 approximately 916 surveys were distributed to each household within the Leeway Overlee Civic Association boundaries (see survey map on page 2 of Attachment 2). The survey was also available on-line at the civic association’s web site. Houses that appeared to have unavailable residents (such as those which were known to be purchased by developers and under construction without mail boxes) were not provided a survey instrument. The total number of vacated residences which did not receive a survey was 33, which we believe is a low estimation of unavailable respondents during the time, as this number represents the reports of only four of 20 distribution routes used for the survey.
A total of 151 surveys were returned, equaling a response rate of 16%. As indicated above, we believe the response rate was somewhat higher based on the lack of reports received from the distribution network regarding undeliverable surveys.
Results The survey questions were divided into nine general areas. The results are organized in the same manner, below.
Two questions were contained in this survey category assessing type of domicile (single family detached home, single family attached, condominium, apartment, other).
Results indicate that 99% (150/151) of respondents reported living in a single-family, detached house; 0.01% (1/151) of respondents reported living in a single-family, attached home; and no surveys were received from those living in a condominium or apartments.
Although surveys were delivered to the apartment buildings, the condominium and several duplexes that fall within the Leeway Overlee conservation area, it appears that the residents of these areas by-and-large did not respond to the survey. Based on these responses we can assume that the results of this survey reflect the opinions of those living in single-family, detached homes, which predominate in the area.
The second question in this section assessed the number of years the respondents lived within the Leeway Overlee conservation area. Results are contained in the table below.
Years living within the Leeway Overlee conservation area:
Greater than 20
*Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number and thus do not sum to exactly 100%.
Survey results indicate that 29% of those responding were residents of the conservation area for “Greater than 20 years”; followed by those residing from “1 to 5” and “6 – 10 years”, at 23% and 24%, respectively. Nearly one-quarter of respondents responded that they lived within Leeway Overlee for either “11 – 15” or “16 – 20” years.
If results of this survey can be generalized to the entire area, it appears that nearly half of Leeway Overlee residents have lived in the area less than 10 years. Substantially fewer lived in the area from 11 – 20 years, and nearly a third lived in the area over 20 years. It should be noted that a well known response bias may have affected the results of this survey. It is well documented in the survey methodology literature that survey response rates vary by age: the elderly tend to respond to surveys in greater numbers than the young. For this survey, despite this response bias, it is clear that those owning their houses for 10 or less years (presumably younger individuals, and perhaps the youngest in the survey) are well represented in this survey, as their response rates approximated those of the (presumed) oldest group.
General Neighborhood Conditions
Six questions constituted this survey category.
Most respondents reported that the general physical condition of their neighborhoods was excellent or very good (64%), while 10% reported their neighborhoods were in poor or not very good condition.
When asked whether street parking was a problem in their neighborhood most respondents indicated that it was not (67% of 155 respondents); 28% reported that it was a problem. When we looked at the differences in response pattern between those who lived near commercial areas (distribution routes 20, 21B, 29A, 29B, 30A; n=39) and those who lived farther from commercial areas (the remainder of the distribution routes, n=116), the rate of those indicating that parking was a problem in their neighborhood nearly doubled to 46%.
Despite the lower ranking of parking problems by all respondents, when asked the causes of problematic parking, a large number of the responses were provided (103 responses). The primary source of problematic parking was “Too many cars for one household” (29%), followed closely by “Residents do not use their driveways” (21%). The categories of “Commuters from outside the neighborhood” (10%), Overflow parking from parks and public spaces”, “Overflow parking from businesses, apartment buildings, schools” and “Parking of commercial vehicles such as taxis, trucks, etc.” received a significant number of responses at 9% to 10% each. The other three categories scored 6% or below.
The response pattern seems to indicate that for those residents who live nearby commercial zones, parking is a problem.
Questions 6, 7 and 8 were fill-in questions. All results are listed under each question in Attachment 2. For question #6 responses the following table summarizes the 114 responses into general block categories. Responses to the “Other” response category are in Attachment 1.
*A total of 114 responses were received for this question. Responses were aggregated into broader street address categories where possible.
Land Use and Zoning
Two questions made up this category, one with a two-part answer.
A total of 94% of respondents indicated that they favored the Leeway Overlee area remaining a community of mostly single-family detached homes, versus the building of higher density residential or commercial properties. Further, 93% of respondents indicated that the Arlington County Board should vote to limit the expansion of commercial property into residential neighborhoods and 84% indicated that the Board should maintain or lessen the current population density in the neighborhood.
Traffic, Transportation and Parking
Five questions constituted this category. Two of the questions were fill-in, and these answers are in Attachment 1.
When asked about their opinion of widths of neighborhood streets with regard to traffic safety, 68% of respondents indicated that they were in favor of keeping neighborhood streets at their current widths. However, 31% indicated that they were in favor of narrower neighborhood streets to keep motor vehicle traffic slower. Only 1% of respondents were in favor of wider streets.
Questions 14 and 15 dealt with the commuting distance and transportation mode for people who work outside of the home. The question provided response categories for two individuals per household. Results indicated that for 88% of households at least one person commuted to work outside the home. In 48% of households a second person commuted to work outside the home.
For “Resident #1” responses indicated the following. It appears as if the majority of neighborhood residents live 21 miles or more from their work place (42%). Nearly one-quarter of the respondents live under 6 miles from work; a negligible number of residents live from 11 to 20 miles from their work places. The question was not applicable to nearly one-quarter of the respondents, indicating that either they did not work or worked in their homes. For those that worked outside the home, car/motorcycle was the preferred mode of transportation (63%); 15% took the Metro train; 9% commuted on foot; and 6% and 5% traveled by bicycle and bus, respectively.
For the second resident, nearly equal numbers worked from under 6 miles to 21 miles or more, 31% and 28% respectively. A total of 18% of worked either 6-10, 11-15 or 16-20 miles from home. When they commuted, 61% of the second residents used a car/motorcycle, 14% used the Metro train, and from 6% to 7% of respondents in each category used either a bicycle, bus or commuted on foot.
A table summarizing the similarities in distance traveled to work between the first and second resident is displayed below
Question 13: Distance Traveled to Work
0 - 5 miles
6 - 10 miles
11 – 15 miles
16 – 20 miles
Although the distance to work patterns are similar for the first and second residents, a higher percentage of “Resident #2”s who work outside the home travel less than 6 miles to work. The numbers and patterns of transportation mode are similar in both the “Resident #1” and “Resident #2” groups.
Areas of concern for those who travel the neighborhood on foot or by bike are noted under question 15 in Attachment 1.
Public Facilities and Services
This section is divided into two major sections: evaluation of public space within the civic association boundaries (five questions) and evaluation of county services (five questions). Several of the questions involve multiple response categories and one question contains three subquestions.
The frequency of use of county park land within the civic association boundaries was assessed. The majority of respondents indicated that they “Rarely” used the following three parcels:
Greenway strip from Lee Highway to Washington Blvd, adjacent to John Marshall Drive and Ohio Street (59%)
Lee Recreation and Visual Arts Center (53%)
Lee Center grounds (outside facilities) (63%)
Despite the fact that the “Rarely” category received the majority of responses, a significant numberof individuals responded that they used the public parcels either monthly or yearly (37% to 43% of respondents). Respondents went on to evaluate the adequacy of the outside parcels in meeting their needs.
For the greenway strip adjacent to John Marshall Drive and Ohio Streets, a majority of individuals indicated that this parcel is of adequate size, has adequate open space, has adequate tree coverage/shade, is adequately maintained by the County, has adequate access, lighting and felt adequately safe. Respondents felt that this parcel had inadequate facilities (seating, trash cans, picnic tables, etc.).
For the Lee Center grounds, a majority of individuals indicated that this parcel is of adequate size, has adequate open space, facilities, lighting and safety. A majority of the respondents indicated that this parcel has inadequate tree coverage, inadequate maintenance by the County, and facilities (seating, trash cans, picnic tables, etc.).
When asked if there are any parcels of public land in our neighborhood conservation district that could benefit from beautification 63% of respondents indicated that they “Don’t know; 25% responded “Yes” and 13% responded “No”. A list of areas that the respondents listed for beautification is in Attachment 1, under question V.19.
When asked whether the County should consider purchasing privately owned land for use as “tot-lots” parkland and other recreation needs, a majority responded “Yes” (49%). Approximately and equal number of individuals responded “No” or “Don’t know” (29% and 22%, respectively).
The following indicates the results of the evaluation of Arlington County public services.
When asked if crime is a problem in the Leeway Overlee area 72% responded “No” and 16% responded “Yes” (17% didn’t know). When asked whether there is a sufficient police presence in your neighborhood 41% responded that they “Didn’t know”, 38% responded “Yes” and 21% responded “No”. The average ranking of how safe individuals felt walking in their neighborhoods was 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being “Very Safe”. The majority of respondents indicated that they felt “Very Safe” in their neighborhood (44%).
Question 24 involved a battery of 7 subquestions assessing satisfaction with a variety of County services. Respondents were asked to rank their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being “Very satisfied” and 5 being “Very Dissatisfied”. Average results are displayed in the table below.