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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.

Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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