Community Indicators: WalkBikeBus

Family walking around Capitol Lake with Dome in background

Measuring Our Progress with Community Indicators

Community Indicators are a way for us to track and share progress on our community's vision within each of our five focus areas. Data for the indicators may be impacted by City initiatives or actions, but are also influenced by the broader community.

For each indicator, the gauge highlights progress toward our goal, and areas to learn more or focus more attention. Right now, the goals are general (ex. increase). Over time we expect to identify more specific targets, where appropriate.

You can explore each of the indicators by focus area below, or view them all at-a-glance on our Community Indicators Dashboard (PDF).

Two teens showing of vegetables in community garden

Community Safety & Health Indicators

Citizen satisfaction with their involvement in City decision making

2017 2018 Goal rating
75% very or mostly satisfied 75% very or mostly satisfied
(2017)
Increase Green

Olympia's Comprehensive Plan's value statements emphasize public participation: "The City of Olympia places a high priority on engaging citizens early and often and regularly demonstrates how the voices of the community are heard...Olympia engages the public in major decisions through a variety of methods...Because of this, the City has built trust with the community."

This indicator is based on a statistically-valid survey of Olympia residents, which asks people who state they've participated in a City planning or decision-making process to rate their experience. Respondents may be influenced by many factors regarding the quality of their experience, potentially including the frequency of opportunities, notification, convenience, ease of providing input, whether they felt heard and outcome of the process.

In 2017, the City added online tools for citizens to find information, provide comments or report an issue:

  • OlyConnects - to make citizen service requests
  • SmartGov Portal - to apply for permits and get permit information

These tools are in addition to major planning processes that includ extensive public involvement processes, including:

  • Completion of a Downtown Strategy
  • Missing Middle Infill Housing
  • Sea Level Rise Response Planning
  • Parking Strategy
  • West Bay Park & Restoration Plan

A 2014 city-wide survey asked respondents to rate their neighborhood, overall, as a desirable place to live: Excellent, Very Good, Satisfactory, Fair, or Poor. 85% rated their neighborhood Excellent or Very Good. In 2017, a city-wide survey asked respondents to rate Olympia as a place to live. 75% rated it as Excellent or Very Good.


Man waving out of window in Downtown

Downtown Indicators

Citizens rating Downtown as safe (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
Daytime: 78%
Nighttime: 39%
Daytime: 78%
Nighttime: 39%
(2017 data)
Increase Red

Downtown Olympia is an economic and social hub in our community. The City has and will continue to invest in the Downtown to encourage market-rate housing, new specialty stores and boutiques, and to attract visitors to places such as Percival Landing, the Hands on Children’s Museum, and our many theatre and art venues. Visitors to Downtown experiencing a clean and safe environment Downtown are more likely to continue working, living, and playing Downtown.

Visitors views on safety revolve around their experiences Downtown, including the presence of law enforcement, waste bins that are not overflowing, clean, accessible walking routes, proper illumination, lack of graffiti, and a sense that there is a place for everyone.

  • In the fall of 2017, voters approved a new Public Safety levy that will provide additional walking patrol officers Downtown, a new mobile mental health outreach unit, and new Code Enforcement resources. Our Waste ReSources utility recently launched a new Downtown shared compactor to help businesses with better options for waste disposal.
  • The City employs two Downtown Ambassadors to assist visitors in finding shops and services, as well as a Clean Team that aids in graffiti removal, trash pick up, and assistance to business owners who need it.
  • In 2017, the City partnered with Providence in launching a Downtown Community Care Center to help connect houseless individuals with direct services.
  • In the Spring of 2018, the City has placed a Housing Levy on the ballot with the goal of providing affordable housing and resources to the most vulnerable in our community.
  • Through input provided from the Downtown Strategy, the City is planning future infrastructure upgrades to improve driving, walking, and biking Downtown.

All of these efforts are aimed at helping to provide a Downtown that is safe and welcoming for all.

Data for this measure is obtained through a community survey that is conducted every two years.


Man shopping for produce at Olympia farmers Market

Economy Indicators

Condition of City infrastructure

2017 2018 Goal rating
B-minus B-minus Increase Yellow

Maintaining Olympia's infrastructure in good condition is vital to the health, safety and economic vitality of the community. Our community relies upon our infrastructure for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods, safe and reliable drinking water and the protection of public health, property and the environment.

The condition of City infrastructure is influenced by age, expected life, level of maintenance, degree of use and many other factors. The level of financial investment in maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement of aging infrastructure is critical.

The City's goal is to maximize the life of our infrastructure at the lowest cost while meeting our citizen's expectations for service. We do this by:

  • Maintaining an inventory of all City infrastructure
  • Regularly rating the condition of all infrastructure
  • Implementing efficient preventative maintenance programs
  • Implementing rehabilitation projects to extend the life of assets
  • Replacing infrastructure at the end of its useful life
  • Continually looking for lower cost, innovative solutions

Despite our best efforts, some areas do not have sufficient funding to maintain the amount of assets we currently have. The most notable areas are in street maintenance (overall rating of C-plus, or "fair"), bridge maintenance (overall rating of C-plus, or "fair") and building repair (overall rating of B with much lower ratings in older buildings). In response, the City continues to explore revenue options, further efficiencies where feasible and pursuit of grant funding.

Continued decline in the condition of these assets will result in more costly repairs in the future.

Each category of infrastructure is inspected, rated and scored on a regular basis. The rating is converted to a letter grade, A - F (A=excellent, B=good, C=fair, D=poor, F=unacceptable). The overall grade is an average across all infrastructure categories.


Two children holding trees in planters in Priest Point Park

Environment Indicators

People walking, biking and riding the bus (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
22% 20% Increase Yellow

As we grow, we want to reduce growth in car traffic. By helping people walk, bike and use transit, we can build a more sustainable city that is inviting, clean and safe. More trips by walking, biking and transit will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When people walk, bike, and ride the bus, they can save money, and improve their own health as well as the health of the environment.

The City improves streets to make it more inviting to walk, bike and ride the bus. We build sidewalks and bike lanes, make crosswalks safer and make it easier to get to bus stops. If we thoughtfully design our streets, neighborhoods, and commercial areas with people in mind instead of cars, we can make it easier to walk, bike or ride the bus.

To influence this indicator, the City is doing the following:

  • Developing a Transportation Master Plan defining the improvements needed to our streets for all modes
  • Shifting developer fees so that they fund bike, pedestrian and transit improvements
  • Repairing downtown sidewalks
  • Improving Capitol, Franklin, Washington and Legion for all modes of travel
  • Updating Engineering Design and Development Standards
  • Building Bike Corridors, quiet streets that have been improved for bicycling
  • Building sidewalks on 26th Avenue NE and Fern Street SW
  • Building a pathway connecting Ensign Road to the Chehalis Western trail
  • Prioritizing buses at traffic signals
  • Developing sub area plans that link land use and transportation goals in sections of our city
  • Redesigning Fones Road to be a multi-modal corridor

Each year we count bicyclists, pedestrians, cars and transit riders passing through 11 points throughout the city on one day in March.


Man and three children biking on neighborhood path

Neighborhoods Indicators

Amount of City located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
60.3% 61.88% Increase Yellow

This indicator highlights the importance of easily accessible green spaces and the community and environmental benefits they provide. Having a park or open space within a short distance from one's home provides a convenient place to exercise, to take the kids to play, to walk the dog or to experience a bit of nature within the city. It gives people an opportunity to visit their local park or open space without having to drive. Parks and open spaces serve as community gathering places, as well as contribute to a neighborhood's character and sense of place.

This indicator is primarily influenced by the number and location of parks and open spaces within Olympia's inventory. It is also influenced by the location of park access points in relation to the City's street network. Both of these influences are factors the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department incorporates into its long-range planning and acquisition strategy.

The 2016 Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan calls for the acquisition of ten new combination neighborhood parks/open spaces. The plan calls for a total of 417 acres of land acquisition. Five acquisitions totaling 343 acres are planned for by 2021.

The City is also exploring creating new park access points in cases where this will make the park walking-distance to substantially more residences.

Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software, we annually map our park system to determine what percentage of the City is located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space. Each year, through acquisitions and development of new park access points, we strive to increase the percentage of the City that is within a 1/2 mile.