Local Survey Says Residents Happy, But Dislike Traffic

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A new study shows people living in Benton and Washington counties believe they have a high quality of life, but still have a few gripes.

The survey, funded by the Walton Family Foundation, also found people would like to see some changes.

The biggest complaint among Northwest Arkansans? Traffic. Respondents complained of too much traffic in the morning and afternoon. Residents told 5NEWS that traffic on Interstate 540 is horrendous.

People who responded to the survey like living in Northwest Arkansas, but 70 percent say there is too much traffic, while 60 percent say they'd like more public transit options.

When asked the question, "Are you happy with life overall?", 94 percent of respondents answered positively. Eighty-five percent rated the quality of life as excellent or good.

Cheaper airfare, more frequent flights and more destinations were also high on the list. Alan Ley from Bike Bentonville said while he would prefer to fly out of Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, costs dictate he take another route.

"The prices are much higher than they are out of Tulsa, so I typically drive two hours to Tulsa," Ley said. "Just to get a flight to Denver, D.C., anywhere. It's almost always cheaper when I fly out of Tulsa."

Also according to the survey, residents of Benton and Washington counties would like to see more affordable high-quality pre-kindergarten options.

Other facts from the survey:

  • 68% believe water quality is very good.
  • 68% - 77% perceived kindergarten through higher education to be of good quality.
  • 52% say pre-kindergarten offerings are high quality.

Ley, who moved to Northwest Arkansas from Colorado Springs, said he likes what Northwest Arkansas has to offer its residents.

"It's absolutely a great place to live. It's a great place to bring a family up," Ley said. "It's very safe, secure. We've got lots of things that are going to go on that will even make it moreso as far as health, fitness, lowering obesity."

About half of the people who responded to the survey said they use amenities like local trails, Crystal Bridges Museum, the Jones Center and Walton Arts Center that are funded by the Walton Family Foundation.

The survey was commissioned in order to assess the Walton Foundation's grant-making strategy in Northwest Arkansas.

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