Southlake survey points to city congestion as improvement area

In January, Southlake shared the results of its 2019 resident surveys, which are conducted once every two years. (Graphic by Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper)
In January, Southlake shared the results of its 2019 resident surveys, which are conducted once every two years. (Graphic by Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper)

In January, Southlake shared the results of its 2019 resident surveys, which are conducted once every two years. (Graphic by Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper)

In January, Southlake shared the results of its 2019 resident surveys, which are conducted once every two years. More than 1,080 residents participated, according to a city news release.

“The survey gives us a way to hear directly from Southlake residents about their quality of life and to understand their experience with our services,” Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski said in the release. “It also provides us a way to identify and prioritize unmet needs.”

To help meet those “unmet needs,” the city identifies what it calls “gap issues”: areas that scored low in satisfaction on the survey but high on the importance of the item. The gap percentage is identified by taking the difference between the two, according to the report. For instance, if 99% of respondents said a service was very or somewhat important, but only 41% of respondents said they were satisfied with that service, that allows the city to recognize a gap where the city is not currently meeting residents’ needs for those services. This example would translate to a 58% gap.

The 2019 survey saw two gap issues emerge: managing traffic congestion and providing pedestrian pathways, sidewalks and trails. The report showed managing traffic congestion had the highest gap issue percentage, at 44%.

However, the gap for managing traffic congestion decreased by 9% from that of the last citizen survey, in which traffic congestion was also identified as a primary gap issue.


“We were really pleased to see that big drop-off,” Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher said.

One reason for the prevalence of the issue, Thatcher said, is that several Texas Department of Transportation construction projects have taken place on Southlake roads in recent years. Construction on FM 1938 wrapped up right around the time the city was conducting this round of surveys; as such, Thatcher said, residents reported more satisfaction with a smaller gap issue on traffic congestion as compared to the results of the 2017 survey, Thatcher said.

The city of Southlake has also ramped up communication efforts to help residents stay informed about road projects, he said. The Connect Southlake web page updates residents about ongoing projects and road closures and has an active social media account called Southlake Mobility with this information.

Work to close gap issues will continue in other ways. Planned projects include extending Kirkwood Boulevard to carry it to the SH 114 frontage road and adding thoroughfare connectors to help take traffic away from busy corridors, Thatcher said.
By Miranda Jaimes

Editor, Frisco & McKinney

Miranda joined Community Impact Newspaper as an editor in August 2017 with the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake edition. In 2019 she transitioned to editor for the McKinney edition. She began covering Frisco as well in 2020. Miranda covers local government, transportation, business and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Miranda served as managing editor for The Prosper Press, The Anna-Melissa Tribune and The Van Alstyne Leader, and before that reported and did design for The Herald Democrat, a daily newspaper in Grayson County. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014.