Top of the Hill Survey Results Part 1: Names and changes

The first Beacon Hill Blog Top of the Hill reader survey closed last week. We’ll be bringing the results to you periodically over the next week or so. Here’s the first part of the results.

The survey started with a couple of basic questions:

Where do you live on Beacon Hill?

Where do you live on Beacon Hill? We did know that we had more readers in North Beacon than any other part of the hill, but were surprised to see how many more. 63% of survey respondents live on North Beacon Hill, 32% on Mid-Beacon, and only 4% on South Beacon. North Beacon is probably slightly denser than the rest of the hill, but not so much that we’d expect that sort of difference.

If you live on Beacon Hill, how long have you lived here?

How long have you lived on Beacon Hill? This answer surprised us a great deal, though perhaps it should not have. The leading answer by a mile, was 1-5 years, chosen by 38% of respondents. It was followed by 5-10 years (20%), 10-20 years (18%), 0-1 year (14%), 20-30 years (5%) and more than 30 years (also 5%). Particularly interesting here is that this indicates that 52% of us — at least, of those of us who read the BHB and fill out surveys — have been here for five years or less.

As the disclaimer in the last sentence indicates, however, we are well aware of the statistical limitations of our survey. Does it represent all of Beacon Hill well? Probably not. We probably should have taken more demographic info, to get a better idea who might be answering the survey. Still, it does seem likely that Beacon Hill has a lot of newcomers these days.

What do you call people who live on Beacon Hill?

What do you call people who live on Beacon Hill? Admittedly, about 5% of answerers thought the question was kinda stupid, responding “Are we supposed to have a name?” or even “this question is lame.”

The topic was a reference to a post on the blog from last November, in which we discussed our neighborhood’s unusual lack of a short collective noun for residents. As I said in the comments then, “It just means we want an easy way to refer to people who live in an area without having to keep using a long awkward phrase. ‘Seattleites’ is much easier to work with than ‘residents of Seattle.’ ‘Beaconites’ or whatever is easier to work with than ‘residents of Beacon Hill.'”

Since then, the blog has been alternating between “Beaconites,” “Beaconians,” and “Beacon Hillers” when we need to refer to the folks who live here beyond just calling them “neighbors.” 38% of you prefer “Beacon Hillers,” putting it way in the lead ahead of “Beaconites” (10%), “Beacon Hillbillies” (5%), “neighbors” (5%), and Beaconians (4%). The “Other” category includes the folks who didn’t want to answer the question, but also such alternative selections as “People who live on Beacon Hill,” “Be Highs,” “Hillistines,” and, simply, “Seattleites.”

We confess to a fondness for “Beaconians,” although it wasn’t too popular in the survey. We’ll probably continue using a variety of names — it’s more fun that way.

And, speaking of names — there’s the nickname “BeHi” for Beacon Hill. Last year there was some disagreement about it on the Beacon Hill Mailing List between folks who thought it was new and cool and those who thought it was “silly” or “a gimmick.” The topic eventually landed in the Seattle Times, followed by an animated discussion including the observation “do you want to be known as a BeHind?”

We thought we’d ask you what you think: is the nickname BeHi lame, or does it rock? The most common answer, by a landslide, was “LAME! LAME! LAME!”, with 50% of the vote, followed by “I don’t care” with 22%, and “ROCK!” with 18%.

Those who have been in Seattle for a while might have recognized the local reference we were making when we gave you the option to choose “LAME! LAME! LAME!” — this vintage 1990s video will explain it:

What do you think is the best change on Beacon Hill in 2008-2009? The response was nearly universal: Link light rail was listed by 90% of respondents, followed by Jefferson Park improvements with 3% and New bike lanes/improvements with 2%. Other answers were given 10% of the time. (This adds up to more than 100% because some people gave multiple answers.) People were darned enthusiastic about the light rail, too, saying things like “Light rail baby!” or “LINK LIGHT RAIL!!!! I SERIOUSLY love it!”

A few people commented on specific positive effects of the light rail: “I am seeing more of my neighbors out walking to and from the station,” “The light rail because it has helped the rest of the city know where we are!”

What do you think is the worst change on Beacon Hill in 2008-2009? Unlike the previous question, there is no single most popular answer for this question. The most common answer, mentioned by 23% of respondents, was increasing crime (including break-ins, public drug-dealing, etc.) with 23%, followed by the loss of local businesses such as Buggy and Culinary Communion, with 21%.

The new RPZ/increased parking enforcement and the general lack of growth or development in the neighborhood both were mentioned by 8% of respondents. New condos and townhouses, and the car wash at 15th and Beacon were mentioned by 4%. 33% of those answering mentioned other negative changes, too, including the sink holes from the tunnel construction, “people that don’t take care of their yards,” “not having a parking garage for the lightrail,” “the graveled and unused area around the light rail station,” and “no Piñata party and weenie roast this year.” 3% of respondents, incidentally, answered that light rail is the worst change on Beacon Hill this year.

One reader wrote a longer answer: “Oversized, overpriced commercial properties for lease. All the little spaces are filled, but the ex-Culinary Communion space and the Yellow Monstrosity attached to the New Beacon Market are just too big for the business district as it is now. We need more little storefronts!

The next batch of results is coming soon, including “What is the best restaurant?”, “What is the best evening hangout?”, “Where can you get the best dessert?”, and “What do you think is Beacon Hill’s most-needed amenity?” Can you guess? Stay tuned for the answers.

8 thoughts on “Top of the Hill Survey Results Part 1: Names and changes”

  1. Maybe I missed this, but: how many respondents were there? I think this would help readers put the results in context.

    Also, thanks a lot for doing this. I’m always wondering how the neighborhood is changing etc. So this is fascinating stuff, for me at least.

  2. Yeah, Wendy, like others sadi, thanks for putting this together. It’s been interesting so far!

    Like you, I’m sad “Beaconians” didn’t get more votes, as its my favorite too! That said, I sort of like Brooks “Beaks” suggestion. Though, maybe we should take a cue from the Muppets and start referring to ourselves as “Beakers.”

  3. As for name changes or what people would like to be called, it makes no difference. I call them neighbors. We are all one.

  4. I agree that Beacon needs more retail space for ‘little shops’, pubs, cafes and restaurants.

    I also think Beacon could use a movie and general use theater/performance hall, and it’s own farmer’s market.

    Columbia city is cool, but I moved to Beacon for a reason. The Hill just needs more business diversity to match its local, populace and economic culture. After all, we have a light rail station. Now we need a reason for people to stop in Beacon Hill, rather than continue on to Columbia City or Tukwila.

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