We already knew from experts that Arlington would likely dodge a bullet, relatively speaking, during the next recession. But it’s good to hear some reinforcement of that on a day that the stock market is down nearly 5%.
At one point today, amid coronavirus fears and plummeting oil prices, the Dow was down more than 2,000 points. Trading was halted for 15 minutes due to the massive drop.
— Bloomberg Markets (@markets) March 9, 2020
On the bright side, Arlington — thanks to its large federal and military employment base, and professional services sector that’s more able to work from home — is better positioned than most to weather a pandemic-induced recession.
None of those factors went into the new rankings from the website SmartAsset, however.
SmartAsset looked at factors related to employment, housing, and social assistance in ranking Arlington County No. 15 on its list, behind #1 Frisco, Texas, among other mostly smaller cities. Our neighbor to the south, Alexandria was No. 23, on the list.
“The Great Recession wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy, with unemployment peaking at 10.1% in October 2009,” a SmartAsset spokesperson said, in introducing the rankings. “Not all cities, however, were hit equally by this economic crisis and some are better equipped to weather the next downturn.”
Arlington has the 25th worst commute in the country, according to a new set of rankings.
The county was ranked just a couple of spots up from cities like Phoenix and San Jose, California. The rankings take into account the average commute time, the percentage increase in commute time over the past five years, percentage of workers with a one hour or longer commute, and median income.
The study by the website SmartAsset found that Arlingtonians have a 30.1 minute commute on average, an increase of 2.4 percent compared to five years ago. Just over 7 percent of Arlington residents have an hour or longer commute.
Surprisingly, New York and Los Angeles — two cities with notorious commutes — only ranked No. 9 and 12 respectively. That’s despite NYC having the longest average commute (42 minutes). The top three worst commutes, according to SmartAsset, belong to North Las Vegas; Hialeah, Florida; and Philadelphia.
Demolition Starts at HQ2 Site — “Roughly a dozen demolition workers from construction firm ACECO were on site in yellow vests and hard hats, along with a couple of excavators, one of which sat on a mound of bricks as it tore down the southeast side of the single-story building.” [Washington Business Journal]
Apartments are Hot Near HQ2 — “The development patterns that are taking place in Crystal City make it a more live-work-play area versus being an office-dominated submarket that has an underground mall… That area is evolving with new product coming online and Amazon making its presence in the region. All of those things have helped generate demand for multifamily housing.” [Bisnow]
New Pool House for Army Navy CC — “Arlington County Board members on Jan. 25 are expected to approve procedural matters that will pave the way for Army Navy Country Club to renovate its swimming areas and construct a new poolhouse.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Eateries Absent from Top 20 List — The new 2020 Washingtonian 100 Very Best Restaurants list does not include any Arlington spots in the top 20. [Washingtonian]
County Pitches in to Route 7 BRT Study — “The Arlington government will toss in just under $40,000 in support of the next phase of a plan to develop high-quality bus service in the Route 7 corridor. Arlington will allocate $39,200 as its share in covering the $560,000 cost of a ‘mobility analysis,’ the fourth phase of the study.” [InsideNova]
Four Mile Run Biz Celebrates 25th — Family-owned car repair business Auto Stop Arlington is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend with an event that will include a food truck, beer and wine tastings, and kids activities. [Facebook]
RIP Jim Lehrer — The longtime host of the PBS Newshour, which is produced in the Shirlington area, has died at the age of 85. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
If you are one of the many telework-capable federal employees who left work early yesterday, only to have to plop down a laptop and work from your kitchen table, then the following might not be a great surprise.
Arlington is the No. 3 place in the United States to working from home, according to a new study.
The number crunchers at the website SmartAsset determined — based on a number of factors, down to the relative concentration of coffee shops — that the best places for teleworking in the country are Scottsdale, Arizona (#1); Denver, Colorado (#2); and Arlington (#3).
“SmartAsset analyzed factors including the percent of all employees who work from home, the unemployment rate and the density of coffee shops to uncover the cities that are most conducive to working from home,” a company spokeswoman said. “Arlington ranks in the third spot overall.”
Arlington had low rates of both unemployment and poverty in 2018. Just 2% of the population over the age of 16 was unemployed and 9.9% of residents fell below the poverty line. Relative to the other cities in the study, this is the second-lowest unemployment rate and the lowest poverty rate overall. Beyond its strong performance on those two figures, Arlington has a strong work from home culture. Almost 9% of working residents had no commute in 2018.
Rounding out the top work-from-home cities, from No. 4-10, are: Boise, Idaho; Portland, Oregon; Gilbert, Arizona; St. Petersburg, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Chandler, Arizona; Austin, Texas.
D.C.-based barber shop and grooming products company Grooming Lounge says Arlington is No. 1 on its list, besting runners up Boise (Idaho), Madison (Wisconsin) and Seattle. D.C., which placed in the top 25 in 2017, fell off the list this year.
The study ranked locales based on the “amount spent on personal care services per man, spend on personal care products per man, spend on shaving needs per man, spend on apparel per man and the fittest cities in the nation,” per the Grooming Lounge.
Men in Scottsdale, Arizona — No. 8 on the list — spent a bit more than men in Arlington on personal care items ($498) and clothes ($387) annually, according to the study, but Arlington shot to the top of the list thanks to its status as the fittest place in the country.
Graphics via Grooming Lounge
Fire Behind Restaurant in Crystal City — Firefighters responded to a small blaze outside a restaurant in Crystal City last night around 7:30 p.m. The fire, reported to be under a deck behind Andalusia Hookah, Bar & Lounge (525 23rd Street S.), was quickly extinguished, but not before a large fire department response swarmed the scene. Some smoke damaged was reported. [Twitter]
Santa, Carolers at DCA — ” Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport [is] ready to celebrate the holiday season with a variety of performances, giveaways and surprises for passengers throughout the month of December.” [Press Release]
Christmas Tree Fire Safety — “It’s the holiday season in Arlington, which means it’s time to put up your own Christmas tree in the living room. However, be aware you are bringing a major risk into your home… The Arlington County Fire Department says they don’t encourage a live tree in the house, but if you do have a live tree, keep it really watered. Also, make sure to keep any sources of ignition at least three feet away.” [Patch]
Arlington Resident Makes 30 Under 30 List — Adam Richelieu, a 29-year-old Arlington resident who works as a salary cap manager for the NFL Players Association, has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Sports list for 2020. [Forbes]
Impeachment Banner on Arlington Overpass — “Spotted [Monday]: a banner saying ‘Impeach for our country’ on the George Mason Drive bridge over Route 50. County staff said signs of any kind placed on country property like this are not permitted and will be removed.” [Twitter]
Nearby: New Restaurant Near Fairlington — “The tables are set and the staff at El Saltado Restaurant and Carryout (3616 King Street) say it’s just about ready to open in the Bradlee Shopping Center. The restaurant is replacing the Hong Kong Bistro on the east side of the shopping center.” [ALXnow]
Arlington is understood to be well behind D.C. in terms of fine dining restaurants and awards, but when it comes to barbecue it’s a closer contest.
Last week Washington Post food critic Tim Carman boosted the county’s ‘cue cred by naming two Arlington spots in his list of the top BBQ joints in the D.C. area.
The 2019 WaPo Best Barbecue list returns Texas Jack’s in Lyon Park (2761 Washington Blvd) to the top spot, praising it as being “as close to perfection, I dare say, as you’ll get in Washington barbecue circles.” The restaurant opened in 2015 and was recently the backdrop of a reality show filming in the area.
Sloppy Mama’s is No. 5 on the list, down from No. 3 last year, with Carman noting that “in the past few months, I’ve tasted the best that pitmaster Joe Neuman can produce (meltingly tender slices of moist brisket at Ballston), and I’ve observed the flaws in the system (spare ribs that had hardened into meat sticks, presumably from an extended stay in a holding unit at the Lee Highway shop).”
Dorsey Declares Bankruptcy — “Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, who was penalized Thursday for failing to disclose a campaign contribution to the Metro board in a timely manner, filed for bankruptcy last month after falling behind on his mortgage and accruing tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt… he attributed his personal financial troubles to a drop in income since he was elected to the five-member Arlington board four years ago.” [Washington Post]
Metro Delays During AM Rush — “Blue/Yellow Line Delay: Single tracking btwn Braddock Rd & National Airport due to a signal problem outside Braddock Rd.” [Twitter]
Arlington Among Best Cities for Frugal Dating — Arlington is No. 17 on a new list of “the best cities in the country for budget-friendly dating.” [SmartAsset]
County Aiming for More Budget Feedback — “This week marks the beginning of the FY 2021 budget season, Arlington County’s process to decide how it will spend County dollars. From now through July 2020, you will have multiple opportunities to provide input and inform decisions about the County’s operating budget and capital budget.” [Arlington County]
County Football Teams May All Make Playoffs — “Depending on the outcome of final regular-season games on Nov. 8, there is a possibility that the Wakefield Warriors, Washington-Liberty Generals and Yorktown Patriots could all end up as district football champions. Wakefield (5-4, 4-0) and Yorktown (8-1, 4-0) are in sole possession of first place currently in the National and Liberty districts, respectively, and are guaranteed at least co-championships if they lose Nov. 8.” [InsideNova]
Yorktown Field Hockey in State Tourney — “It took a while, but when the stakes became the highest, that’s when the Yorktown Patriots started playing their best field hockey of the 2019 campaign, in what has become an historic season for the girls team… By reaching the region final for the first time in program history, Yorktown also earned a Virginia High School League Class 6 state-tournament berth, also for the first time.” [InsideNova]
DJO Runners Win State Title — “After not winning the state championship the past two seasons, the Bishop O’Connell Knights have returned to that throne this fall. The girls high-school cross country team won the 2019 Division I state private-school crown Nov. 7 in Mechanicsville by dominating the field with 46 points.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: Potomac Yard Plan Takes Shape — “Just a few days after submitting plans for the Virginia Tech site near the North Potomac Yard Metro station, JBG Smith has submitted early concept designs for the development that will replace Target and the other Potomac Yard stores.” [ALXnow, Washington Business Journal]
The county is marked as a “Census Designated Place” (CDP) within the U.S. Census, which allows officials to compare it to cities as if the Arlington were one, too. And because data on CDPs and cities are both published in the same level of the federal survey, Arlington gets ranked against other U.S. cities by companies eager to rank everything from parks to bike friendliness.
“So that allows us to be ranked with cities, with counties, with neighborhoods, with other areas that have all receive that same designation,” said Elizabeth Hardy, a county planner.
In the U.S., places are officially “incorporated” as cities and towns by a voting process determined by each state. Although some new places still get incorporated, most states have already incorporated all their land into cities or towns — like how the City of Alexandria and Richmond were both incorporated in the 1700s.
But some of the states settled earlier in America’s history, like Virginia, have places left unincorporated after a history of land grabbing — including Arlington.
The exact history of why Arlington was left unincorporated and in need of a CDP is murky, but Hardy says it likely goes back to 1846 D.C. retrocession of the area, which led Virginia to declare Arlington and Alexandria independent jurisdictions.
“I think people will be surprised, especially in our region for Virginia and Maryland, a lot of the places out here are actually not incorporated,” said Vincent Osier, Branch Chief of the Geographic Standards and Criteria Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau.
“When people are looking in the data tables, ‘Oh I want data for Silver Spring’ or some other area — Tysons — they just assume that’s a place,” he said. “But without CDPs there would not be data qualification for that named area.”
There has been some talk of Arlington incorporating as a city, to better reflect its status as an urban area and to give the local government additional policy-setting powers, but nothing official on that front has emerged recently from county government headquarters.
Arlington has placed near the top of a new list ranking “the best cities for singles” in 2019.
Arlington County is No. 6 out of the 130 places in the U.S. ranked by online rental marketplace Apartment List. The county received high marks for date affordability and dating satisfaction.
Also making the list locally were the District (No. 3) and Alexandria (No. 10). Atlanta placed No. 1, followed by Madison, Wisconsin. Stockton, California was dead last.
The top 10:
- Atlanta, GA
- Madison, WI
- Washington, DC
- Bloomington, IN
- New Orleans, LA
- Arlington, VA
- Minneapolis, MN
- Boston, MA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Alexandria, VA
“Cities were ranked by a weighted score based on the following metrics: satisfaction with local dating opportunities, percentage of singles in the area, date affordability, satisfaction with social life,” a spokeswoman noted. “Overall, men tend to view their dating experiences more positively than women: on average, 36% of men rated themselves satisfied, compared to 25% percent of women.”
Image (below) courtesy Apartment List
Arlington Is Top Destination for Young Adults — Arlington County is one of “the 40 places where young people are moving… based on the number of 18 to 34 year-olds who moved there in 2017 as a share of the total county population.” [USA Today]
Local Team Notches ‘World Series’ Win — “With their bats coming alive, the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth All-Stars improved to 1-2 in pool play Aug. 10 to win for the first time in the 15-under Babe Ruth World Series in Bismarck, N.D.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Firm Fined — “A military contractor has agreed to pay $4 million to settle an overbilling case. The U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey announced the settlement with Mission1st Group on Friday. The Arlington, Virginia-based company specializes in systems engineering, information technology and telecommunications.” [Associated Press]
Why the Crashed ART Bus is Still There — Updated at 9:25 a.m. — “The vehicle at Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive can’t be moved until the building structure is stabilized. Once repairs are made to the structure, the bus & the other vehicle pushed into the building will be moved and County Police will finalize their investigation.” [Twitter]
Photo courtesy @netforceone/Instagram