Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What We Learned from Our Survey

UPDATE: It appears that the HTML link to the survey results does not open correctly in the Google Chrome browser. Try opening in Firefox or Explorer if you have trouble.

Thank you to the 1,038 people who took the 35th Ave NE Business District Survey between June 1st and July 14th! We heard from lots and lots of you which means lots and lots of data to look at, which is a great problem to have.

To make make sure we were able to hear from everyone who wanted to complete the survey and attempt to get a representative portion of the community, we had 4 methods for people to complete the survey.
  1. We had an online survey for people to complete.
  2. We had printed hardcopies of the survey stationed at local businesses for people could pick up or drop off surveys.
  3. We had versions of the survey available to print and mail in.  
  4. We completed intercept (face-to-face) surveys where we interviewed 35th Ave NE business district users.
Given these 4 methods, we ended up with 914 respondents to the online survey and 124 hardcopies of the survey, which is loads of data to chew on. So, what have we learned from these 1,038 surveyors? Here are a few results that caught our eye. Here are all the results (HTML link) for your viewing pleasure, or you can download the full results in an .XLS Spreadsheet [92KB] if you're a fan of statistics.
  • Q1: 69% of respondents hadn't heard of the Wedgwood Vision Plan before.
  • Q2: Of those that had heard of the Wedgwood Vision Plan, only 9% of respondents participated in the Wedgwood Vision Plan, suggesting that the results of the 35th Ave Survey largely represents new respondents from those that completed the Wedgwood Vision Plan Survey
  • Q3: 76% of respondents hadn't heard of this 35th Ave NE neighborhood planning process.
  • Q5: The majority (89%) of respondents self identified themselves as living in the "neighborhood."
  • Q8: However, most people (81%) work outside of the "neighborhood."
  • Q9-11: It appears that people visit the business district during short, frequent trips throughout the week.  
  • Q12: The top 3 reasons people visit the business district is for grocery shopping, coffee, and banking. (Full disclosure - The NE Branch library wasn't specifically identified as an option, which was an oversight of the survey.)
  • Q13-14: Those that consider 35th their primary business district do so mainly because it's close and they grocery shop there.
  • Q13&15: Those that don't consider 35th their primary business district do so because there's not enough variety and prefer to shop elsewhere.
  • Q16: Most people visit the business district near the NE 75th Street and NE 85th Street intersections.
  • Q17-18: In general, people feel safe in the business district.
  • Q19-21: The majority of respondents appear to be white women between 30-49 years of age.
  • Q22: In general, people visit the business district on their own or in small groups.
  • Q25: 84% of respondents are comfortable with more development within the business district.
  • Q26&31: 92% of respondents would like more retail diversity within the business district and 68% of respondents would like more "retail" than was inventoried.
  • Q29: 88% of respondents feel that the business district is "underdeveloped." 
  • Q30: Respondents said that they were comfortable with more development along the business district if it improves streetscape and walkability (75%), is well designed (72%), is located appropriately (55%), provides increased retail (46%), and transitions well with single-family (44%).
  • Q34 & 37 (hardcopy questions only): Most people appear to drive alone or walk to the business district. (Full disclosure - This question did not include "Bike" as an option, which it should have. The 2.5% of respondents who chose "bike" wrote it in. This was clearly an oversight in the survey.)
  • Q36: Most people (61%) who drive to the business district park in off-street parking lots.  
We're doing a bit more analysis of the survey results to see whether or not there are differences between the online survey results and the hardcopy surveys or between different demographics. We also may compare these results with similar surveys in other business districts that we are aware of as well. We'll post this further analysis at a later time.  For now, we hope you find the results as equally interesting as we do.


  1. If the City of Seattle's current parking space requirements for new businesses are not changed, or altered for the development of new retail in this business district, it will completely clog the parking on adjacent residential streets. For example, check out 34th Ave NE behind Top Pot and Grateful Bread. We humbly request that any new development respects the space of area homeowners.

    1. Hi Nancy, Thanks for the comment and pointing out your area of concern!

      To my knowledge, there is no parking minimum for new businesses locating in existing buildings, like what was the case with Top Pot. However, I believe any new commercial development would have parking requirements associated with it for residents (in the case of any mixed-use buildings) or for customers (in the case of retail) as described under Section 23.54 of the Seattle Land Use Code.

      From what we've heard, one of the reasons for the live-work preference in new construction (like those on the ground floor of the Jasper Apartments) is because live-work isn't considered retail and therefore doesn't require the same parking provisions. The cost of constructing "structured parking" (e.g., below or above ground is VERY expensive) on the tune of $25-35K per stall from what we've heard. This quickly adds up and can make a project no longer be financially worth it for the developer. With that said though, 1) the concerns addressed in the survey results clearly shows a strong concern for the loss of parking and further traffic congestion and 2) people clearly have said they want more "retail" which would necessitate additional parking.

      Thanks again for the comment and your interest!