That’s according to the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties, which gave Arlington high marks for its tech related to “open government, transparency, citizen engagement, security and operations.”
This is the first time Arlington has achieved the honor.
“We’re proud of this award and for the work that was done this year to help create a more streamlined, responsive and inclusive government using technology,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a press release (below). “Arlington will continue to innovate and explore new technology tools with the goal of creating the best possible experience for residents and businesses when they interact with the County.”
The county is ahead of the curve in tech in a number of ways. In the past couple of years Arlington has launched a dark fiber network that’s open to businesses, a data-driven smartphone app, online streaming of commission meetings and an “open data portal.”
The full press release from Arlington County, after the jump.
In the latest rankings, Arlington received high marks for the number of millennial residents, job opportunities and access to bars and restaurants. It was dinged only for a high cost of living.
Tech and education hub Cambridge, Mass. ranked No. 1 while Arlington’s neighbor Alexandria ranked No. 3. D.C. ranked No. 9.
The top 10 localities for millennials in 2016, according to Niche, are:
- Cambridge, Mass.
- Arlington, Va.
- Alexandria, Va.
- San Francisco
- Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Washington, D.C.
- Austin, Texas
The report used eight categories to rank 196 cities, including cost of living, crime rate, walkability, wellbeing, taxes, health care, weather and culture.
Arlington was ranked highly in most of the categories, with low crime and tax rates complementing “great” ratings in walkability, culture, healthcare and well-being.
Arlington’s main drawback was the high cost of living. Another negative: the weather only receiving an “average” rating.
“We found that smaller cities and suburbs fared the best,” said Bankrate.com analyst Jill Cornfield. “Most seniors prefer to live in these types of communities because they offer access to big-city amenities without as much hustle, bustle and crime.”
Four of the top 10 cities on the list are located in the D.C. area with Alexandria, Silver Spring and Rockville all receiving high marks as well.
The top 10 cities in Bankrate.com’s rankings are:
- Arlington, VA
- Alexandria, VA
- Franklin, TN
- Silver Spring, MD
- West Des Moines, IA
- Nashville, TN
- Sarasota, FL
- Rockville, MD
- Des Moines, IA
- Murfreesboro, TN
Flickr pool photo by Alex Erkiletian
Arlington County is the “Best City to Live in America,” according to the website Niche.com, as of last week.
But, according to Niche, Arlington didn’t rank quite as well on its new list of the “Best Suburbs to Live in America.”
Arlington is No. 7 on the list, behind McNair in Fairfax County (No. 6); Park City, Utah (No. 4) and Merrifield, also in Fairfax County (No. 2). Superior, a town near Boulder, Colorado, topped the list at No. 1.
The “Best Suburbs” list is “based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities.”
Some Developers Are Pessimistic About the Pike — “The mood is not good,” Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization chairman John Murphy said of developers. “Some of them made big investments, big bets based on the county saying we’re going to do the streetcar. They feel betrayed, they’re not happy at all.” [Bisnow]
Board to Buy Bungalow to Bolster Benjamin Banneker — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve the purchase of a $637,500 property on 17th Street N. in order to expand Benjamin Banneker Park, near the East Falls Church Metro station. [InsideNova]
DCA Flight Path Changes — The Federal Aviation Administration is considering changes to flight paths for planes departing Reagan National Airport, in response to complaints from D.C. residents. Meanwhile, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is organizing a community meeting to discuss “recent changes to departure procedures for aircraft taking off to the south of the airport.” [WTOP, Rep. Don Beyer]
Chaplain at DCA Mourns Son — Rev. Nace Lanier, the chaplain at Reagan National Airport, is mourning the loss of his 10-year-old son to a brain tumor. [Washington Post]
Sehkraft Makes ‘Hottest New Bars’ List — Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon is one of the 10 hottest new bars in the D.C. area, according to Zagat, which writes: “This sprawling, pulsating Arlington brewhouse, gastropub, butcher shop, beer garden and live-music venue is powered by the brilliantly colored art on the walls, robust smoked and grilled American fare and curated craft beers.” [Zagat]
Free Smoothies Today — Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which has a location at 3811 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square, is celebrating National Flip Flop Day by raising money for charity and giving out some free smoothies. The store will offer free smoothies to customers wearing flip flops from 2-7 p.m. [Tropical Smoothie Cafe]
Photo courtesy @rydaka
Arlington County has topped a new list of the “Best Cities to Live in America.”
Arlington received high marks for education, health and fitness, nightlife, family amenities, outdoor activities, length of commute and diversity, according to Niche.com.
“It has very high home values, very high rent costs, and very low unemployment levels,” the website said. “Its citizens generally have very high education levels and very high income levels.”
Arlington bested cities like Cambridge, Massachusetts and Columbia, Maryland for the top spot on the list.
“These new rankings explore 224 cities to find the best places to live in the U.S. based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities,” said a Niche spokeswoman. “Our team of data scientists analyzed data from the U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, CDC, and other sources to calculate these rankings.”
The top 15 in Niche’s new rankings are:
- Arlington, VA
- Cambridge, MA
- Columbia, MD
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Plano, TX
- Overland Park, KS
- Boulder, CO
- Berkeley, CA
- Rochester, MN
- Bellevue, WA
- Irvine, CA
- Sunnyvale, CA
- Alexandria, VA
- San Francisco, CA
- Round Rock, TX
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Unsettled Weather This Weekend — Expect rain today, Saturday and Sunday, says the National Weather Service. On Sunday there’s a good chance of severe storms. [Twitter]
Rosslyn Outdoor Movie Fest Starts Tonight — Weather permitting, Rosslyn’s outdoor movie festival starts tonight with a showing of “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.” This year’s Rosslyn movie theme is “Incredible Journeys.” [Rosslyn]
Fisette Mum on Reelection — Jay Fisette, the longest-serving current County Board member, says he will wait until the end of the year before deciding whether to run for reelection in 2017. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington ranked just below No. 3 Washington, D.C. and the top two cities for parks: Minneapolis (No. 1) and Saint Paul (No. 2). The county received high marks for having parks within easy waking distance of the vast majority of residents.
“Arlington scored even better for park access, with 98% of residents living with a 10-minute walk of a park,” noted a press release. “However, its overall score was hurt because Arlington reserves only 11.2% of city area for parks. That is still above the national ParkScore average of 8.9%, but considerably behind the Twin Cities and Washington, D.C.”
An excerpt from the press release from the Trust for Public Land, including the top 10 ranked jurisdictions, is below.
Washington, DC, earned 5 “park benches” on The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® index, ranking 3rd among the 100 largest U.S. cities. Washington also placed 3rd in 2015. Neighboring Arlington ranked 4th, earning 4.5 park benches and finishing as the highest-ranking debut city in 2016, as the ParkScore index expanded to 100 cities, up from 75 last year.
“Every American deserves to live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and ParkScore helps us measure which cities are meeting that mark,” said Will Rogers, President of the Trust for Public Land.
ParkScores are based on three factors: Park Access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately ½-mile); Park Size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and Facilities and Investment, which combines park spending per resident with the availability of four popular park amenities: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, and recreation & senior centers.
According to ParkScore, 97% of District residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Washington’s score was also helped by high marks for spending per resident ($287) and percentage of city area reserved for parks (21.9%). Arlington scored even better for park access, with 98% of residents living with a 10-minute walk of a park. However, its overall score was hurt because Arlington reserves only 11.2% of city area for parks. That is still above the national ParkScore average of 8.9%, but considerably behind the Twin Cities and Washington, DC.
Atop the ParkScore rankings Minneapolis narrowly edged out Saint Paul for first after the cross-town rivals shared the top spot in 2015. Fresno, California, also marked an important achievement for 2016, climbing out of last position for the first time in ParkScore history. The Central California city was buoyed by the opening of several new playgrounds and a dog park.
Nationally, The Trust for Public Land reported a trend toward increased investment in local park systems. Returning ParkScore cities increased spending on parks by an average of $1 per person in 2016, according to the organization.
“Cities are investing in park systems and that’s showing up on the ParkScore index. It is great news for public health, the environment, and local economies,” said Adrian Benepe, Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land. “Parks provide places for children and adults to get exercise, and they serve as community meeting places where friendships are built and a sense of community is strengthened,” he added.
According to The Trust for Public Land, the 10 highest-ranking park systems in the United States are:
- Minneapolis – 5.0 park benches
- Saint Paul – 5.0 park benches
- Washington, DC – 5.0 park benches
- Arlington, VA – 4.5 park benches (DEBUT YEAR)
- San Francisco – 4.5 park benches
- Portland, OR – 4.5 park benches
- New York – 4.5 park benches
- Irvine – 4.5 park benches (DEBUT YEAR)
- Boston – 4.5 park benches
- Cincinnati (tie) – 4.0 park benches
Madison, WI (tie) – 4.0 park benches (DEBUT YEAR)
An analysis by the firm Bay Alarm Medical looked at half a million geotagged tweets and found that Arlington sees about 265 sickness-related tweets per 100,000 residents. That puts Arlington No. 10 on a list of the “sickest cities” in the U.S.
New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta are No. 1-3 on the list, respectively.
The research also found:
- Sickness tweets reach their height in December and January.
- Sickness talk decreases as weather warms up.
- Sickness-related complaints peak on Tuesday instead of Monday.
Image courtesy Bay Alarm Medical
Here’s what the website had to say about Arlington and its No. 1 spot.
“If you’re looking to live near other educated people, this Washington, D.C., suburb is the place to be. A whopping 71.5% of Arlington’s 25-and-older population holds at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest percentage on our list. Arlington also is tops for the number of jobs in management, business, science or arts occupations, as well as for salaries.”
“Arlington, Virginia, stands out in our analysis because 67.1% of its workforce find jobs in management, business, science or the arts. These fields have the most jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or higher.”
“However, if you move here, be ready to give up a big chunk of your salary for housing. The median rent is one of the highest among the 100 cities in our analysis, and it would take up nearly a third (31.4%) of that paycheck.”
The report analyzed a number of data points, including:
- Percentage of population 25 and older with bachelor’s degree or higher
- Percentage of population ages 20 to 29
- Median earnings of residents 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree
- Jobs in management, business, science and arts occupations
- Rent as a percentage of income
- Unemployment rates
(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) For every dozen Millennial-led households in Arlington, one is making more than $350,000 per year.
That’s according to the real estate website Zillow, which just compiled a list of places that are home to the most affluent Millennials in the U.S.
“Not everyone in the 22-34 age group is scraping by,” Zillow says. “Whether they made their money lobbying lawmakers at the Capitol or cashed in on a tech IPO, rich millennials are clustered in cities where there are lots of high-paying professional jobs.”
Arlington topped the list, with 8.7 percent of Millennial-led households making more than $350,000. That’s even higher than the percentage of Arlington residents 55+ making more than $350,000, which is 7.9 percent.
(A “household” counts both singles and the combined income of a couple or group of people living in the same house or apartment.)
San Francisco, which has almost double the median home value and rent of Arlington, is second on the list with 7.8 percent of Millennial households making more than $350,000. Another California city, Huntington Beach, in the L.A. area, is third with 5 percent.
See the full top list from Zillow.
Arlington County is one of the healthiest places in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but doesn’t quite top the list.
That’s according to new 2016 rankings from countyhealthrankings.org, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Arlington ranks No. 3 in Virginia, with Fairfax County at No. 2 and Loudoun County at No. 1. Loudoun County received higher marks for Quality of Life and Length of Life, while Fairfax edged Arlington on Quality of Life and Healthy Behaviors.
Two healthy behaviors in particular for which Arlington did not compare favorably? Excessive drinking and sexually transmitted diseases.
Arlington has the highest rate of excessive drinking in the Commonwealth, according to the rankings. Fairfax and Loudoun both come in a few percentage points lower.
Arlington ranks more favorably for the rate of sexually transmitted disease — Arlington’s rate of chlamydia infection is lower than about 60 percent of Virginia jurisdictions, but still above that reported by Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
One healthy behavior in which Arlington has a decisive advantage over Fairfax and Loudoun: the rate of alcohol-impaired driving deaths.
Hat tip to James Breiling
Lawmakers Ask Gun Store Landlord to Reconsider — Seven state legislators who represent Arlington have written to the landlord of a planned gun store in Lyon Park, asking her to reconsider the lease. The letter cites Virginia’s 1990s reputation for being the “gun-running capital of the East Coast” and says the new store, which is located near a private preschool and daycare center, “could be the site for potentially nefarious and illegal activities.” [Washington Post]
Three Arlington Bars Make D.C. Dive List — The website UpOut has compiled a list of “10 Ridiculously Cool Dive Bars in Washington D.C.” Among them are three Arlington favorites: Galaxy Hut, Cowboy Cafe and L.A. Bar and Grill. [UpOut]
More Millennials Coming to Arlington? — In Arlington, 35-40 percent of the population is of the Millennial generation. That makes Arlington one of the most Millennial-heavy places in the country. But the county’s demographer doesn’t think the county’s Millennial boom has peaked yet. “Whether Millennials choose to stay or leave Arlington could have a major impact on schools, since the bulk of that population group has not yet embarked on creating families,” notes the Sun Gazette. [InsideNova]
Memorial Bridge May Close in Five Years — After years of deferred maintenance, the 84-year-old Memorial Bridge is in such bad shape that the National Park Service could be forced to close it by 2021 unless it can get funding for a $250 million complete reconstruction. [Associated Press, Twitter]
Where You Might Bump into an Arlington Trump Voter — Chris Slatt has again compiled some interesting Arlington election data into map form. Slatt’s maps show Democratic turnout by precinct, Republican turnout by precinct and the population density of Donald Trump voters — the highest concentration of which are along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Separately, another sage election watcher, Carrie Johnson, estimates that 5,500-6,000 voters who usually vote Democratic in Arlington voted Republican in Tuesday’s presidential primary, thus in part explaining why John Kasich and Marco Rubio outperformed here compared to the rest of the state. [InsideNova]
New Rosslyn-Based Online Publication — Rosslyn continues to cement its reputation as Arlington’s media hub. ABC 7 (WJLA) parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group is launching “D.C. Refined,” a new online-only local culture magazine. The publication will “fall under the umbrella” of Rosslyn-based WJLA. [Washington Business Journal]
In a press release, the county said that it received perfect marks for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender protections, but was held back on overall rankings due to restrictive state laws.
From Arlington County:
The County received a score of 87 out of 100 in this year’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) issued by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group. The annual report card graded 408 localities across the nation, measuring the effectiveness of state and local laws in achieving inclusivity.
Arlington won perfect scores for ensuring that LGBT constituents receive the fullest measure of County services, law enforcement efforts and outreach. It also received bonus points for having openly LGBT officials and for being “pro-equality despite restrictive state laws.”
County Board member Jay Fisette says Arlington’s high score in the MEI “validates us as a community that not only espouses a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, but applies those values in real ways that make a difference in people’s lives.” The index also shows, however, “that there’s still plenty of work to do to protect each and every Virginian.”
Although 47 jurisdictions in the United States achieved overall perfect scores, Virginia can claim none. Arlington and the eight other participating local governments in the Commonwealth were held back by a lack of state protections in areas such as transgender benefits for employees.
The so-called Dillon Rule prevents localities in Virginia from acting on those issues in which authority is not expressly granted by the General Assembly.
Fisette was the first openly gay elected official in state history.
There are currently no statewide laws in the Commonwealth that prevent discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
At least one ranking of political allegiances suggests the answer is no.
The political data startup Crowdpac recently ranked nearly 5,000 cities in the U.S. with a population over 6,000, based on political donations of residents. Each locale received a ranking of how liberal or conservative it was, based on those donations.
The “People’s Republic of Arlington,” it turns out, is only the 985th most liberal place in the U.S., with a score of “2.0L.” The most liberal place in the D.C. area, meanwhile, was Takoma Park, Md., with a score of 7.4L.
Parts of Arlington, particularly those in the far northern reaches of the county near McLean, tend to vote more conservatively, though the vast majority of the county is reliably blue on election day. One notable exception was the 2014 election of John Vihstadt, the first non-Democrat elected to the County Board since 1983.
Screenshot via Crowdpac.com