Arlington, VA

Arlington County has ranked No. 3 nationally on a list of localities “where women are most successful.”

The new rankings, from the website SmartAsset, analyzed the “percentage of women with a bachelor’s degree, median earnings for women working full-time, percentage of business owners who are women, housing costs as a percentage of women’s earnings and the percentage of full-time working women earning $75,000 or more.”

Arlington ranked behind D.C. at No. 2 and Cary, North Carolina at No. 1. Nearby Alexandria ranked No. 13.

Here’s what SmartAsset said about Arlington’s third-place ranking:

Like last year, Arlington, Virginia ranks as the third city in the U.S. where women are most successful. It leads the metric measuring bachelor’s degrees, as 76.19% of women in Arlington have at least a bachelor’s degree. Arlington also comes in second place in the median earnings metric. The median income for a woman working a full-time job in Arlington is $80,892. The city falls behind on one metric: housing costs as a percentage of women’s earnings. In 2018, median annual housing costs, across both renters and owners, made up more than 30% of average women’s earnings.

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A ranking of park systems in cities across the country (yes, we know Arlington is not a city) placed Arlington’s fourth, not far behind neighboring D.C.

The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore index ranked the top 100 localities on their parks, based on access, acreage, amenities and investment.

Arlington ranked 100 out of 100 for investment, meaning the amount spent on parks per resident. It also ranked 99 out of 100 on access to parks (the portion of residents within a ten-minute walk to a park) and 89 out of 100 on amenities (features like basketball hoops, playgrounds and dog parks). A press release noted that the park access score had inched up from 98% last year and exceeded D.C. in both access and amenities.

At 38 out of 100, Arlington scored lowest on acreage — the median park size and percent of area dedicated to parks.

“Arlington fell behind on park acreage,” a press release noted. “The [county] reserves 11 percent of city area for parks, compared to the District’s 24 percent. The nonprofit organization reported overall progress for parks this year but warned that city park systems have reached a critical tipping point, as widening inequities [in] park access and COVID-related budget cuts risk irreversible damage in 2020 and beyond.”

This is the third year in a row that Arlington has been ranked fourth, recovering from a sixth-place ranking in 2017.

“We are proud to be recognized again this year for our outstanding park and recreation system,” Jane Rudolph, Director of Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said in a county press release. “The County’s ongoing commitment coupled with the involvement and support of our residents make Arlington’s park and recreation system what it is today – a valued resource for our diverse community. And though our parks are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, our great park system is one that can be used long into the future.”

The top three locations on the ranking were Minneapolis, D.C. and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

“When stay-at-home orders permitted, people increasingly turned to parks, trails, and public open spaces to connect with nature, exercise, and enhance their mental and physical health,” said Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, in a press release. “Residents deeply value parks, but continued inequity and the risk of future budget cuts threaten severe damage to the park systems that make many cities so livable.”

Trails in Arlington’s parks have remained open and busy during the pandemic, while the parks themselves are closed to everything other than those walking to and from trails.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Arlington has the highest proportion of residents who can work from home in the U.S., according to a new study.

That’s according to financial website SmartAsset, which ranked the 200 largest U.S. cities by the estimated percentage of the workforce that can work remotely.

“A large percentage of the workforce in Arlington, Virginia is involved in two white-collar occupations: management, business & financial operations and professional & related job,” SmartAsset wrote. “According to [Bureau of Labor Statistics] data, 60% of management, business & financial operations workers and more than 42% of all professional & related workers can work from home, so many Arlington workers have that ability. We estimated that 39.23% of the total Arlington, Virginia workforce can work from home, the highest percentage for this metric across the 200 largest U.S. cities.”

That could be an underestimate. A recent ARLnow poll, though unscientific, found that 80% of respondents reported working at home (of given leave) with full pay.

Arlington was No. 1 in SmartAsset’s rankings, with Frisco, Texas; Bellevue, Washington; Irvine, California; and Washington, D.C. rounding out the top 5. Neighboring Alexandria ranked No. 14.

If much of the Arlington population is working from home and still getting paid during the current crisis, that’s good news for the local economy, suggesting a swifter return of consumer spending once stay-at-home orders are relaxed. Also good news: last month SmartAsset ranked Arlington among the most recession-resistant places in the U.S.

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Arlington County is an affluent place. So affluent, in fact, that according to one analysis we are expected to get the second-lowest percentage of coronavirus stimulus checks in the U.S.

The study by the financial website SmartAsset ranked the 200 largest U.S. cities by the predicted percentage of residents who will receive the means-tested checks from Uncle Sam.

Here’s how the IRS describes who’s getting what:

Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child.

SmartAsset used 2018 Census data to figure out which places will get the highest and lowest percentage of checks.

Arlington, Alexandria and D.C. all ranked in the top 10, as did four San Francisco Bay Area cities. Arlington ranked No. 2 on the “fewest” checks list.

In terms of cities getting the most checks, the top three are: 1. Hialeah, Florida; 2. Sunrise Manor, Nevada; and 3. Brownsville, Texas.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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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.

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.”

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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.

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Morning Notes

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

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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.”

She continued:

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.

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Not only has Arlington County ranked as fittest city and best place to live in the country, according to a new study we’re now also the most handsome in all the land.

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

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Morning Notes

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]

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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.

Meanwhile, Arlington now gets to claim Sloppy Mama’s — which opened earlier this year at Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd) and in a standalone restaurant space (5731 Lee Highway) — as its own.

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).”

D.C. barbecue joints claimed spots No. 2, 3, 4 and 8 on the list, while Falls Church’s Liberty Barbecue (370 W. Broad Street) ranked as No. 9.

Other Arlington barbecue spots not in the top 10 list include Smoking Kow (2910 N. Sycamore Street), Epic Smokehouse (1330 S. Fern Street) and Rocklands (3471 Washington Blvd).

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