OP-ED: How Queens Residents Rate City Services And Quality Of Life

BY MARIA DOULIS

The Citizens Budget Commission recently released the results of a citywide survey of residents’ satisfaction with municipal services and the quality of life in their neighborhoods and across the city. Overall, the results reveal that Queens residents are satisfied on 27 of 45 indicators: not as satisfied as residents of Manhattan (31) and Staten Island (28), but more than those of Brooklyn (24) and The Bronx (15).

The results are a valuable management tool for city officials that complement the operational measures that the city uses. Residents know the city best, and their feedback is important to managing the city well and keeping New York competitive as a place to live and work.

According to the survey, all 14 community districts in Queens are satisfied on 10 measures, including feeling safe in a local park and on the subway during the day and walking alone in the neighborhood at night, fire protection services, garbage and recycling pick-up and local public libraries. Satisfied community districts are those in which at least 50 percent of residents rated the service or indicator as “excellent” or “good.”

But the survey also reveals areas for improvement. The top three issues cited by Queens residents as needing greater attention from city government are infrastructure (34 percent), safety and crime (31 percent), and housing (22 percent).

No Queens community board was satisfied on five measures: services protecting at-risk children, public housing, services for homeless people, traffic and spending city tax dollars wisely. On three measures—overall ease of travel in the city, air quality and street and road maintenance—only one community board was satisfied.

Community Districts 14 and 12 are the most dissatisfied areas in Queens. Of 45 survey indicators, residents are dissatisfied on 32 and 31 indicators, respectively. District 14 includes the Rockaways, Breezy Point and Broad Channel. District 12 includes South Jamaica and St. Albans.

Among areas in Queens, Community District 14 was most dissatisfied on 18 indicators and Community District 12 was most dissatisfied on 13 indicators. Community District 14 was most dissatisfied citywide on subway services, public after school programs, bus services, storm water drainage and sewer maintenance and the city’s preparedness for another natural disaster.

The survey results are designed to be used by a broad range of city officials—the mayor and other citywide officials, borough officials, City Council members and community district officials. They are also available to the public to inform them and focus attention on areas and services that are in greatest need of improvement.

The survey results should become the focus of public discussion of how to improve city services and quality of life.

The survey results—for each of the boroughs and citywide—are available at www.cbcny.org.

Maria Doulis, a resident of Auburndale, is vice president of the Citizens Budget Commission.

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