Quality of Life in Olathe

Direction Finder Survey Results

The perspective of Olathe residents on their quality of life has been measured on a regular basis through the Direction Finder Survey.  The Direction Finder Survey is an annual survey of Olathe citizens to assess the effectiveness of City services and measure citizens’ overall satisfaction with Olathe as a place to live, work, and raise children.

When the Direction Finder Survey was initially conducted in 2000, Olathe rated at or below average in nearly every category when compared to the overall Kansas City metropolitan area. The 2009 survey showed Olathe at or near the top in nearly every major category covering City services.  In addition, Olathe’s satisfaction ratings significantly exceeded national averages.

In general, residents reported improved perceptions of the community across a wide range of indicators during the last survey. Most notably, residents felt that the overall quality of life in Olathe has continued to improve over the past several years. Olathe residents also reported a large degree of satisfaction with the City and City services, as compared to the U.S. at large. As it relates to overall quality of life, Olathe received very high marks as a place to live, work, and raise children. Olathe has continued to see significant improvements in overall citizen satisfaction when compared to the metropolitan area. Since the survey began, overall citizen satisfaction increased from a baseline of 100 to 126, while the same overall satisfaction index for the metropolitan area decreased from the 100 baseline to a score of 93.

The 2009 survey results showed that Olathe is considered a metropolitan leader in overall quality of city services; of the eight major categories surveyed under city services, Olathe ranked at or near the top in all categories. Those were: police, fire, and ambulance services; water and sewer utilities and stormwater runoff; parks and recreation; street and building maintenance; code enforcement; overall quality of customer service; and the effectiveness of city communication. In 2009, Olathe saw satisfaction improvements in the vast majority of categories. Traffic improvements have been the clear citizen priority since the survey began, and the City Council has invested tens of millions of dollars to meet that demand. The satisfaction increase is largely attributed to the completion of the 127th Street overpass project, elevation of the railroad crossing at Santa Fe Street east of Downtown, and the College Boulevard roadway widening and bridge construction. There is strong agreement among city residents (54%) that Flow of Traffic/Congestion Management should be a top priority for the City. This is followed by Maintenance of City Streets/Buildings/Facilities (47%).

Quality of Life Elements

In September 2008, the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) identified several elements they felt were important for overall quality of life to residents of Olathe and that should be addressed in PlanOlathe. These elements are: Housing and Neighborhoods; Parks, Recreation and the Environment; Public Safety; Mobility; Economy; Social, Leisure and Culture; and Education. Specific indicators were then selected for each of the elements in order to gauge how the City of Olathe compares to other communities, as well as nationally, in the provision of quality of life attributes.

One goal of this Chapter is to provide a baseline measurement of Olathe’s quality of life today, and then project resident’s future quality of life into the future based on the proposed land use and development pattern depicted in PlanOlathe. Each of these quality of life elements begins with an introduction, followed by several existing indicators that help to measure its current condition, and then a projection of community performance into the future based on measurable data and/or adopted policies. The indicators are developed from measurable, defensible available data. Where possible, data was obtained from National, State or local sources. In some cases quantitative measures are not available, so the best possible qualitative measures are provided that help us get a snapshot of future conditions.