Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

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]

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Ever wondered why Arlington County gets scooped up in “cityrankings so often, despite being technically a county? Turns out it’s by design.

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.

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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:

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Madison, WI
  3. Washington, DC
  4. Bloomington, IN
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. Arlington, VA
  7. Minneapolis, MN
  8. Boston, MA
  9. Pittsburgh, PA
  10. 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

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Morning Notes

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 ThereUpdated 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

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Arlington Public Schools has been named the top school system in Virginia for the second year in a row.

Ranking site Niche recently released its new 2020 Best Schools list and APS topped all others in the Commonwealth with an A+ ranking. Falls Church City Public Schools was No. 2, Loudoun County Public Schools was No. 4 and Fairfax County Public Schools was No. 6.

APS received an A or A+ grade in the six major categories evaluated by Niche: academics, teachers, clubs and activities, diversity, college prep, and health and safety.

User reviews also gave APS high marks. One recent review, which Niche says was posted by a high school senior:

I have grown up in Arlington my entire life. This small town has taught me how to love home football games and holiday-themed parades. Every school, elementary, middle, and high school, has provided me with tools to grow as a student. The faculty has laid down the stepping stones for me to become a successful woman, and I cannot thank them enough.

Among individual high schools, Fairfax County schools dominated the top 10 in the state, while Arlington’s Washington-Liberty ranked No. 13, Yorktown ranked No. 17 and Wakefield ranked No. 51.

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Morning Notes

Feds Looking for Facility for Migrants — The federal government “has kicked off a search for a site in Northern Virginia to host one of several planned shelters for unaccompanied minors, part of the Trump administration’s answer to the ongoing immigration challenge playing out along the nation’s southern border.” While Arlington is among the jurisdictions included in the search, it’s unclear if the county has any site that would suit the requirements, which include 2 acres of recreation space. [Washington Business Journal]

Verizon Launches 5G in Crystal City — Last week Verizon launched 5G “Ultra Wideband” wireless service in parts of D.C. and Arlington, including Crystal City and Reagan National Airport. [Verizon]

Arlington Among Best Places for Young Pros — The website SmartAsset just ranked Arlington the No. 15 “city” for young professionals, ahead of D.C. (#21) but well behind Sioux Falls, S.D. (#1). [Thrillist, SmartAsset]

Water Main Break Near Crystal City — S. Eads Street was closed between 31st Street S. and S. Glebe Road last night for a water main break. The break affected a 12-inch main near the bus depot. [Twitter, Twitter]]

ACPD to Mix and Mingle in Clarendon — “Arlington County Police Department’s Restaurant Liaison Unit invites members of the public to join us for Conversation with a Cop in Clarendon on August 29, 2019 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Arlington ranks high for lots of things — parks, fitness, bike friendliness, livability — but not so much when it comes to safe driving.

Allstate’s just-released 15th annual America’s Best Drivers Report ranks Arlington No. 168 out of 200 cities studied.

According to the insurance company, drivers in the county go an average of 7.4 years between car insurance claims (compared to a national average of 10.57 years) and have an average of 25.3 “hard-braking events” per 1,000 miles (compared to the national average of 19).

The good news: Arlington drivers are getting safer. The county’s 2019 ranking is an improvement over 2013, when it was ranked 10th worst in the country.

Arlington also ranks better than other nearby cities. Washington, D.C. ranks No. 199 and Baltimore is dead last at No. 200. Alexandria, meanwhile, slots in at No. 192.

In Alexandria, Route 1 (Richmond Highway) was said to be the most “risky road” to drive on. In D.C., I-295 was the riskiest road, according to Allstate’s data.

Top on the list this year: drivers in Brownsville, Texas ranked No. 1, going 14.9 years between crashes on average.

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On the heels of being named the fittest “city” in America, Arlington has also earned a fourth-place ranking in parks from the Trust for Public Land (TPL).

The national ranking has been fairly consistent for Arlington, while neighbor D.C. surpassed Minneapolis to take the first place spot. The “ParkScore” rankings rank the quality of the park system of the top 100 cities in the United States, including Arlington.

Arlington scored in the top percentiles for access, investment and amenities, though it scored fairly low in overall acreage.

The TPL noted in its report that 98 percent of Arlington residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park — exceeding the national average of 54 percent — and that park access was consistent across all income levels.

“Parks build community. Our mission is to promote wellness and vitality through dynamic programs and attractive public spaces. And it looks like we are right on track,” Jane Rudolph, Director of Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, said in a statement. “Our public spaces, which include parks, playgrounds, trails, fields and nature and community centers, bestow a unique and irreplaceable benefit to everyone in Arlington. Our public spaces make us happier and healthier.”

The assessment noted that Arlington has a particularly high amount of basketball hoops — 7.8 per 10,000 people — and playgrounds — 4.4 per 10,000 people.

Arlington was commended for the amount the county spends on parks: $267.23 per resident.

But with 11 percent of Arlington’s land used for parks and recreation, the TPL noted this as being below the national median of 15 percent and D.C.’s 21 percent.

The TPL also pointed to locations across Arlington in need of a new park, mainly locations around the northwest periphery of the county.

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Arlington County is ranked the fittest “city” in America, according to a new report by the American College of Sports Medicine.

“Arlington, VA’s balance of both healthy behaviors and community infrastructure earned them the #1 overall rank,” reads the 29-page American Fitness Index report released today (Tuesday)

The American Fitness Index scored the nearby District of Columbia at No. 6.

Arlington ranked as high as it did in part because 92.6 percent of adults reported exercising in the last 30 days. By comparison, 75.7 adults in D.C. reported exercising in the last 30 days.

Arlingtonians also ranked the highest in terms of health, with 71.4 percent of people recorded as being of “excellent” or very good health.

Other specific data helped improve Arlington’s ranking, including the low number of smokers (6.5 percent), and a low pedestrian fatality rate of less than one fatality per 100,000 people.

Pedestrian fatalities is a new variable for the study, which this year also added criteria to the ranking based on bicycling, air quality, and street infrastructure.

The study was funded by a grant from the Anthem Foundation.

Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief

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Arlington County rode ahead of D.C. in a newly-released bike friendliness rating.

The county was ranked No. 5 nationally for best urban area to bicycle, in rankings compiled by Colorado-based PeopleForBikes. The District of Columbia ranked No. 15. Boulder, Colorado was No. 1.

Arlington achieved its ranking in part due to a strong safety record, said spokesman Alex Showerman. Arlington ranked first in the U.S. for bicycle safety, according to the organization.

PeopleForBikes used data in five categories to rank each location: ridership, safety, network, acceleration, and reach.

Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services took to social media Tuesday morning to tout the results.

The county recently updated its bike master plan for future cycling infrastructure after advocates shared the need for more safe routes.

PeopleForBikes studied cities nationwide based in part from data via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The organization is planning to host a webinar with more details about the rankings and the data behind them next Tuesday, from 3-5 p.m.

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Arlington County is the “best city for runners” again, according to the results of an annual study.

The county was also the top-ranked place for runners in last year’s list, compiled by the number crunchers at the website SmartAsset.

“Arlington has more races per 10,000 residents than any other city in our study,” SmartAsset wrote. “And residents who want to participate in races have places to train. Almost all residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park. If you prefer to run indoors, the city also offers the third-highest number of gyms per 10,000 residents.”

“Beyond being a great locale for running, Arlington is also a very livable city,” the website added. “It ranked ninth in the study for lowest housing costs as a percentage of income and 16th for walkability.”

Upcoming races in Arlington include Crystal City’s 5K Fridays, which take place during the month of April, and the Arlington Bunny Hop Charity 5K, which is set for next weekend.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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