road work generic

The public has an improving view of the Arlington government’s commitment to care of local roads, but there continues to be significant room for improvement, according to an updated customer-satisfaction survey.

Only 55 percent of residents surveyed believe county roads are in satisfactory condition, while 23 percent are unsatisfied with the local government’s efforts and 23 percent are on the fence. That places road conditions at the bottom, along with transportation management, of a ranking of major government functions in the new survey, conducted by a private firm under government contract.

The satisfaction survey, Arlington’s first in three years, garnered 1,610 responses by mail, phone and online. Results were released Oct. 23.

While the 55-percent approval rating for road quality – 14 percent “very satisfied” and 41 percent “satisfied” – was up nearly 15 points from the 2015 survey, it remains well below the public’s satisfaction with fire/ambulance service (93 percent), libraries (91 percent), police (85 percent) and parks (85 percent).

Questioned by County Board members, County Manager Mark Schwartz accentuated the positive, saying the uptick from three years ago was significant.

“We’ve invested record amounts” in street paving, Schwartz said. “There is a cause and effect.”

In Arlington, the county government is responsible for neighborhood roads while the Virginia Department of Transportation has responsibility for most (but not all) primary thoroughfares. And responsibilities can change: Columbia Pike, for instance, which for decades was under authority of the state government, in more recent years has come under local jurisdiction.

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