Arlington County ranked number one among similar-sized counties in this year’s Fourth Economy Index, which recognized it for attracting talented people, supporting business growth and creating vibrancy.
The index, which was established in 2012, assesses counties in five areas: investment, talent, sustainability, place and diversity. Arlington won for counties with 150,000-499,999 people, ahead of Chesapeake in Virginia (near Norfolk) and Shawnee County in Kansas (which includes the city of Topeka).
“A vibrant business community, lots of arts and entertainment and low unemployment all contribute to a higher quality of life for this No. 1 community,” the citation reads.
Arlington came in first because of its high scores in place, talent and diversity. The index said Arlington’s location across the river from D.C. makes it a perfect location for people who work there, while its seamless blend of urban areas and quiet, garden-lined streets, provide a fine balance between city life and “neighborhood charm.”
In addition, the index said Arlington’s talent base is high thanks to its many highly-educated residents while its diversity spreads across race, age and ethnicity. It also found that middle-income Arlingtonians spend less on transportation and housing than their national counterparts in most other counties.
“While job growth and investment are good indicators of a community’s progress, they are not enough,” the website reads. “Our continued experience has shown that our analysis must also look at factors that create a foundation for sustained success and resilience.”
The full top 10 for large-sized counties is as follows:
- Arlington County, Virginia
- Chesapeake, Virginia
- Shawnee County, Kansas
- Chittenden County, Vermont
- Pulaski County, Arkansas
- Albany County, New York
- Hampden County, Massachusetts
- Minnehaha County, South Dakota
- Peoria County, Illinois
- Champaign County, Illinois
To analyze counties, the index used data from the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development among other sources. A total of 19 data areas are weighted and analyzed for the level of influence they have on a county.
Arlington County is home to many of Virginia’s top public schools. According to the popular ranking website Niche, Arlington Public Schools is ranked as the No. 1 school system in the state, out of 132 different school districts.
Within APS there are nearly three dozen public K-12 schools. So how do they rank?
Ranking methodologies, it should be said, have their flaws and do not necessarily reflect the quality of instruction at any given school. They’re also relative — so even the last-ranked elementary school in Arlington, an excellent school system, received an overall “A” ranking from Niche.
But for those who want to see how Arlington public schools stack up, debatable methodologies and all, we’ve taken some of the most prominent school rankings and averaged them to get a better picture of which are at the top and which have room for improvement.
Discovery Elementary, which opened in 2015, is not included in the rankings.
Great Schools operates in a system similar to Yelp, where a school receives a certain amount of stars out of 10. For example, four schools were tied for having 10 stars, or a perfect and “highest” ranking score, three for nine stars, and so on which is why so many elementary schools have the same Great Schools ranking.
The next chart shows how APS middle schools compared to each other’s ratings on Niche, SchoolDigger and Great Schools.
The last chart details the rankings of APS high schools from four websites: Niche, SchoolDigger, Great Schools, U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post. The H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program is excluded.
Article written by Katherine Berko and Kalina Newman
Home Demolition Stats — So far in 2017, there have been 66 demolition permits for single-family homes applied for in Arlington, according to the group Preservation Arlington. Twenty-two permits were applied for in May alone. [Preservation Arlington]
Linden Combining With Melwood — Arlington-based Linden Resources is linking up with Maryland-based Melwood “to create one of the largest regionally focused nonprofits with more than $100 million in joint revenue.” The organizations provide job opportunities for people with disabilities. [Washington Business Journal]
Best of Ballston Awards — Cybraics, a company focused on fighting cybercrime, won the Innovation Award at the inaugural Best of Ballston Awards last week. [Ballston BID]
Flickr pool photo by GM and MB
Arlington Falls in Parks Ranking — Arlington and D.C. both fell in the annual ParkScore rankings of cities by The Trust for Public Land. Arlington was ranked sixth in the nation this year and D.C. ranked fourth, while last year they were ranked fourth and third respectively. [The Trust for Public Land, Washington Post]
Neighborhood Conservation Projects Approved — The Arlington County Board last night unanimously approved $5.5 million in neighborhood improvement projects, including “street improvements, streetlights, intersection improvements and a neighborhood sign.” [Arlington County]
How to Live in Arlington on $50,000 — A young woman who works as a case manager outlined her expenditures while living in Arlington on a $50,000 salary, as part of a “Money Diaries” feature. Eschewing the urban millennial stereotype of profligate spending, she manages to save $1,000 a month — although that is helped by her parents continuing to pay her cell phone bill. [Refinery 29]
County to Sell Millions in Bonds — The County Board has approved issuing up to $185 million in general obligation bonds to help fund various capital priorities, including: Metro, Neighborhood Conservation, paving, parks land acquisition, maintenance capital, Lubber Run Community Center planning, Nauck Village Center action plan and transportation. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington County is now the No. 1 best “city” for millennials in the entire country, according to new rankings from the website Niche.com.
Last year Arlington ranked second on the same list. This year, as also noted by the New York Times, Arlington is at the top, ranked highly for nightlife, diversity, public schools, and being “good for families.”
Nearby Alexandria was ranked No. 4 on the list.
The rankings reflect that the millennial generation is getting older and having children. Last year’s list included grades for “access to coffee shops” and “access to restaurants,” which appears to have made way for the schools and families grades.
The top 10 cities for millennials in 2017, according to Niche:
- Arlington, Va.
- Cambridge, Mass.
- San Francisco, Ca.
- Alexandria, Va.
- Minneapolis, Minn.
- Seattle, Wa.
- Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Berkeley, Ca.
- Sunnyvale, Ca.
- Sandy Springs, Ga.
Depending on how you define the millennial generation, it constitutes somewhere between 30-40 percent of Arlington’s population, though some worry that many millennials starting families may be forced to move out due to the high cost of housing and childcare.
Image via Niche.com
World of Beer Gets Rebranded — The Ballston location of World of Beer is no longer part of the chain and has instead been rebranded as “Crafthouse.” The restaurant — along with former WoB locations in Fairfax and Reston — is now offering a full menu of American craft fare and a drink menu that includes local beers, bourbons, whiskey, wine and other spirits. [Reston Now]
County’s Stance on Rising Homeless Population — Via an Arlington County press release: “We believe that the increase in Arlington’s numbers this year do not reflect the long-term trend in our County,” said Arlington County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol. “Since 2008, when we launched the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, Arlington has cut its number of homeless persons by more than half. We’ve made great strides in housing veterans and chronically homeless individuals and families.” [Arlington County]
Metro Changes Next Month — Starting June 25, Metrorail’s operating hours are being shortened while rail and bus fares are increasing, rush hour rail frequency is decreasing and some bus routes are being discontinued. [WMATA]
Freddie’s Named Top Brunch Spot — Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, a gay bar in Crystal City that hosts a Broadway brunch on Saturdays and a Champagne brunch on Sundays, has been named one of the 100 best brunch spots in America by OpenTable. [OpenTable]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Arlington Taking Roadwork Suggestions — “Arlington’s Neighborhood Complete Streets Program is asking residents to nominate neighborhood streets they believe could be made safer and more comfortable for all users for potential improvement projects. If you know a neighborhood street that is missing a section of sidewalk, needs an accessible curb ramp or better street lighting, consider nominating it. The County is accepting submissions through Friday, June 16.” [Arlington County]
Commuting Habits in Arlington — Arlington County’s new “Profile 2017” data packet has a surprising statistic on community habits: more Fairfax County residents commute into Arlington each day than Arlington residents commute into D.C. [Twitter]
Candidates Dither on Exotic Pet Ban — Three out of four of the Democratic candidates for County Board would not give a straight answer to the question of whether they support a proposed ban on wild and exotic pets. [InsideNova]
Metro 29 Named Best Diner in Va. — A new list of the best diner in all 50 states lists Metro 29 diner on Lee Highway as the best in Virginia. [Mental Floss]
Beyer on House Healthcare Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says yesterday’s narrow passage of the GOP healthcare bill is “a dark stain on the history of the House of Representatives.” [Rep. Don Beyer]
Comment Ads Turned Off — To improve the user experience, we’ve turned off those semi-trashy tile ads below the comments. They’re prevalent on lots of websites, especially news websites, and they generate decent revenue, but we could not longer stand having them associated with our site. Replacing the ads are links to previous ARLnow.com articles.
The median 1 bedroom monthly rent in Arlington was $2,030, while the median 2 bedroom rent was $2,620, according to rental website Apartment List. That’s a 0.7 percent increase compared to March 2016 and the same year-over-year rate of increase as the District, where 2 bedroom rent was $3,050.
Other D.C. area jurisdictions were a mixed bag: a 0.6 percent rent decrease for Bethesda, a 2 percent rent increase for Alexandria and a 6.4 percent increase for Gaithersburg. Among D.C. neighborhoods, Foggy Bottom was the most expensive with median 2 bedroom rent at $4,620 and Petworth was the fastest growing with an 8.8 percent rent increase over last year.
The good news for Arlington: the county is top-rated nationally for renter satisfaction.
Arlington received an A+ overall ranking in Apartment List’s second annual Renter Satisfaction Survey, with high marks for crime and safety, jobs and career opportunities, and public transit.
Arlington received a D ranking for affordability, C- for schools and C for taxes, according to Apartment List.
Other cities getting the top overall renter satisfaction grade included Lincoln, Nebraska; Pasadena, California; Boston, Massachusetts; and Madison, Wisconsin.
Table via Apartment List
The Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant on Columbia Pike is the No. 1 place in the U.S. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, at least according to online review site Yelp.
The pub, at 2500 Columbia Pike, has a stellar 4.6 star rating on Yelp, leading to its selection at the top of the “50 Best Bars in the U.S. To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day” list.
“Yelp determined the list by first identifying bars frequently reviewed with the word ‘Irish,’ and then ranking the establishments by ratings and the number of reviews,” said Travel + Leisure, which published the list.
(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) It’s hard to dispute that Arlington is a great place, which is why it winds up near the top of a lot of lists of various place rankings.
For instance, Arlington was crowned the Best City to Live in America last year by the website Niche.com.
Just a week later, however, Arlington was only No. 7 on the list of Best Suburbs to Live in America, behind No. 4 ranked Merrifield. And that’s not to mention the fact that Niche also ranked Arlington the No. 11 “Best Place to Live in America” last year.
Mashing together U.S. Census data sets and other info to rank places on various dimensions is a popular activity among publicity-seeking companies, since news outlets often pick up such stories and readers, in turn, love reading and sharing ranking articles. But the rankings — ARLnow.com is sent dozens of such lists each year — are often contradictory, nonsensical or, at least, highly questionable.
In the spirit of ranking things, today we’re letting our users arbitrarily rank “the most questionable rankings involving Arlington.” Here are the contenders and the organizations that compiled each respective list:
- Arlington is the No. 3 “super cool U.S. city” (Expedia)
- Arlington Heights and Yorktown are the No. 2 and No. 3 “hottest neighborhoods” in the D.C. area (Redfin)
- Arlington is the No. 5 “Worst City to Own a Car” (SmartAsset)
- Arlington is the No. 33 mid-sized city for “cultural diversity” (WalletHub)
- Arlington is the No. 985 “Most Liberal Place in U.S. (Crowdpac)
- Arlington is the No. 1 “Hardest Working City in America” (SmartAsset)
- Arlington is the No. 1 “Best City to Retire” (Bankrate)
- Arlington is the No. 162 “Best City to Retire” (Niche)
- Arlington is No. 4 for “Best U.S. City Parks” (Trust for Public Lands)
- Arlington is No. 64 for “Best Cities for Outdoor Activities” (Niche)
- Arlington is the No. 8 “Best City to Train for a Marathon” (Competitor)
- Arlington is the No. 1 “Best City to Live in America” (Niche)
- Arlington is the No. 7 “Best Suburb to Live in America” (Niche)
- Arlington is the No. 11 “Best Place to Live in America” (Niche)
Feel free to vote for as many entries as you like, because why not.
County Board Mulls Exotic Pet Ban — As expected, the Arlington County Board on Saturday voted to advertise a ban on “wild and exotic” pets in the county. Animals covered by the proposed ban “range from monkeys, wolves, raccoons and lynx to alligators, tarantulas, hedgehogs and even sugar gliders.” A hearing on the matter will be held March 18, ahead of final approval by the Board. [Arlington County]
Arlington Cultural Diversity Ranking — Arlington ranks No. 33 among “mid-sized cities” in a new list of cities with the most cultural diversity, behind places like Columbia, Maryland; Glendale, Arizona; and Cambridge, Massachusetts. [WalletHub]
Western Rosslyn Plan Moving Forward — The Arlington County Board has taken a series of actions to push its previously approved Western Rosslyn Area Plan forward. The plan includes a new home for H-B Woodlawn at the Wilson School, a new fire station, a reconfigured park and the redevelopment of several garden apartment buildings into a larger affordable housing complex. The various projects are expected to be completed by 2021. [Arlington County]
Arlington-Based Org Gets Big Grant — The Crystal City-based U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants is getting a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant, announced by U.S. senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), is earmarked for “organizations working to provide unaccompanied minors who fled violence in Central America with services including temporary shelters and foster care programs.” [Sen. Tim Kaine]
County Extends HQ Lease — Arlington County has extended its lease at 2100 Clarendon Blvd for another 15 years, a move the county says will save $1.6 million annually in rent. “This is a great deal for Arlington taxpayers,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a press release. “The County will stay in this prime Courthouse location, home to County Government since 1989, at a savings of millions of dollars over the term of the extension.” [Arlington County]
Homeownership Still a Dream for Many Millennials — The Millennial generation is a major force in Arlington’s population and economy, but homeownership remains out of reach for many, including the older portion of the generation that’s getting married and having kids. Contributing to the problem: there is a significant shortage of homes for sale, particularly affordable starter homes, and the new houses that are being built are often higher-end luxury properties. [Washington Post, CNBC]
Photo courtesy Donna Gouse
Vornado Scraps Development Proposals — Ahead of the closing of its merger with JBG, Vornado has indefinitely put on hold a number of development proposals, including: all but one building of its proposed RiverHouse development in Pentagon City; a revamp of the shops at 1750 Crystal Drive that was to include a new 12-screen multiplex; and a pair of retail pavilions at 2101 and 2201 Crystal Drive. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington a ‘Best City’ to Go Car-Free — According to a new list in Forbes, Arlington County is one of the top 25 U.S. cities for one to live without a car. Arlington was also one of nine places whose walkable neighborhoods were profiled in the magazine. [Forbes]
Video of Apartment Fire — The weekend fire at the Serrano apartments on Columbia Pike was caught on video. The dramatic video shows firefighters arriving and starting to douse the flames with water. [Statter 911]
‘Taming of the Shrew’ Review — A review of Synetic Theater’s new production of Taming of the Shrew says the physical theater performance “speaks colorful volumes” despite the lack of dialogue. [Broadway World]
Leadership Change at Community Foundation — Arlington Community Foundation Executive Director Wanda Pierce is stepping down next month after eight years of leading the local nonprofit.
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
The website SmartAsset ranked localities by factors like hours spent in traffic per year, rate of motor vehicle theft, number of parking garages per driver and “the non-driving options a resident has for getting around.”
At the top of the list — the alleged worst city to own a car — was Newark, New Jersey, followed by San Francisco and D.C.
Here’s the explanation for why Arlington was No. 5:
As previously mentioned, the Washington, D.C. metro area has the worst traffic in the country. Unfortunately for the residents of Arlington, they are a part of that metro area. They face the same brutal 82 hours per year spent in traffic, on average. It costs Arlington residents $1,834 per year, on average, waiting in that traffic. For residents of Arlington, a car is more of a necessity than it is for people living in D.C., which is why it ranks lower in our study.
Graphic via SmartAsset
Beyer Opposes ‘Holman Rule’ — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has joined other local legislators in opposing the proposed reinstatement of the “Holman Rule,” which would allow a legislator to offer an amendment that would “reduce the salary of any federal employee, or eliminate a federal employee’s position without hearings, testimony, or due process.” [Federal News Radio, House of Representatives]
Ray’s Hell Burger Still Among the Best — Rosslyn-based Ray’s Hell Burger is on Food & Wine’s list of the best burgers in the United States. [Food & Wine]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
APS Receives Top Ranking — Arlington Public Schools is the top school division in Virginia and in the D.C. area, according to new rankings from Niche.com. All three comprehensive high schools in Arlington ranked in the top 10 in Virginia, according to the website. [Arlington Public Schools]
Alleged Racial Confrontation at Metro Station — A local man says a trio of older white men confronted him last week in the Courthouse Metro station, a few days after the election, and told him “good thing you’ll all be gone soon” — an apparent racially-motivated comment — and “it’ll be great again soon.” [Patch]
Remy Releases Post-Election Song — Arlington’s best-known libertarian comedian/musician, Remy, has released a new original song on the topic of Donald Trump’s election. [Twitter]
‘Isolated’ Schools in Arlington — Two schools in Arlington County, and 136 schools statewide, are considered “racially and economically isolated,” according to a new report from a liberal Richmond-based think tank. [Washington Post]
No Name Change Push for JD Hwy — Seeking a name change for Jefferson Davis Highway, the formal name of Route 1 in Arlington County, is not part of the county’s recently-approved legislative agenda. The chance of the Republican-dominated state legislature allowing the name change in its upcoming 2017 session was “all but nil.” [InsideNova]
Joint Meeting of N. Va. Jurisdictions — County Board and city council members from Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church held a joint meeting last night, in which they discussed ways to cooperate and save money. Together, the three inside-the-Beltway jurisdictions have about 500,000 residents, as compared to Fairfax County’s population of 1.1 million. [Washington Post]