New survey confirms Bay Area traffic
as biggest regional gripe
By Jason Bennert, Bay City News Service
March 1, 2007
A new poll released today by the Bay Area Council, a regional
business advocacy group, confirms that traffic remains the top
concern of Bay Area residents.
A third of the region's residents listed traffic as their top
concern in the new poll and traffic came in as the greatest concern
in each of the nine Bay Area counties surveyed. Residents in the
North Bay and South Bay were especially concerned about traffic,
with 41 percent of North Bay residents and 39 percent of Santa
Clara County residents listing it as their top concern.
"Residents think traffic is horrible, and they are right.
The Bay Area holds the ignominious honor of the second-worst traffic
in the entire country,'' Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman said.
"That said, voters here should be proud that they have
transformed their frustration into action, passing county transportation
sales tax measures, and last November, passing an enormous transportation
bond measure. In the next few years, literally billions of dollars
will flow to Bay Area traffic improvement projects. If we are
smart about those investments, residents across our region will
soon feel tangible traffic relief.''
The California Transportation Commission on Wednesday approved
the first phase of projects to be built using Proposition 1B funds,
including $1.3 billion for Bay Area projects.
Among the projects slated to begin construction as soon as next
year are the widening on U.S. Highway 101 in San Jose and between
Marin and Sonoma counties as well as the addition of carpool lanes
on Interstate Highway 580 in Alameda County.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed released a statement Wednesday afternoon
saying the highway projects will help the region's economy in
addition to improving its quality of life.
"Our residents are some of the most productive people in
the nation and these projects will significantly reduce the amount
of time they spend sitting in traffic,'' Reed said.
While traffic was reported as the biggest problem in every Bay
Area county, the survey found that residents' secondary concerns
varied depending on their location. Alameda County residents ranked
crime as the second biggest problem, pollution came in second
in Contra Costa County and housing was second biggest concern
in Santa Clara County.
A large majority of Bay Area residents, 78 percent, say the region
is doing very well or somewhat well, despite its problems. A clear
majority of survey respondents, 53 percent, believe the region
is enjoying good economic times, according to the survey.
The survey of 600 people divided proportionally by county was
conducted in January by the Field Research Corporation. The Bay
Area Council was founded in 1945 and its members include companies
that represent approximately one in six private sector employees
in the Bay Area.
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