Traffic remains top concern for metro residents

Transportation issues top the list of concerns for Twin Cities residents, but the percentage who cite traffic as their No. 1 issue dropped for the second consecutive year, according to an annual survey released at the end of January by the Metropolitan Council. Concerns over crime, however, are on the rise.

Thirty-five percent of residents now cite transportation as the region's most important problem, down from 49 percent a year ago and from 58 percent in 2003, when concern about transportation reached its peak.

Twenty-six percent of residents in the region named crime-related issues as the single most important problem, compared with 17 percent a year ago. Concern about crime has steadily increased since a low point in 2001, when only 9 percent of residents called it the most important problem facing the seven-county metro area. But this year's number is still well below the peak level of concern for crime, which hit 61 percent in 1993.

Concern over transportation may have dropped because traffic congestion has eased, Met Council Chair Peter Bell said. When traffic congestion is separated from transportation in general, 24 percent of residents named it as their top concern, compared to 37 percent in 2004.

&#8220Residents may be getting more accustomed to traffic congestion, which shows some signs of having leveled off in the last year or two,” Bell said.

Trailing transportation and crime in the 2005 survey were growth (11 percent), social problems (9 percent) and housing (4 percent).

The survey was conducted in October and November and the results were released on Jan. 30.