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]
Earthquake Drill Today — Virginia and a handful of other states will be participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake drill today at 10:20 a.m. [ShakeOut.org]
Sobering News on Office Vacancies — County officials are warning that Arlington’s office vacancy rate will remain relatively high for the foreseeable future. Optimistically, economic development officials believe that by “slowly and steadily” winning lease renewals and new tenants, the vacancy rate could decline to just past 15 percent, from the current 20 percent, within a few years. [InsideNova]
Arlington No. 8 on Marathon Training Rankings — Arlington County has ranked No. 8 on a list of the best places to train for a marathon. The county earned high marks for its parks, its walkability and its climate. [Competitor]
Most Popular College Applications — The three top schools in terms of the number of applications from the high school class of 2016 in Arlington were: 1. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2. University of Virginia and 3. Virginia Tech. [Arlington Magazine]
Arlington’s Commuter Efforts Lauded — “Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) is being recognized for weaving mobility into broader efforts to improve local quality of life and economic competitiveness. ACCS was named by the Association for Commuter Transportation as having the best transportation demand management (TDM) program among all large municipalities in the United States.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Katie Pyzyk
Arlington Named No. 11 Best Place in America — The same folks who named Arlington the best city to live in America earlier this summer have named it the 11th “best place to live in America.” Los Alamos, New Mexico topped the list and locally Merrifield, Virginia placed fourth. [Niche]
APS Schools Earn State Accreditation — All Arlington public schools, save one that is still being considered, have earned state accreditation. The final school is expected to be accredited later this fall, school officials say. “I want to congratulate all of our dedicated teachers and school leaders as well as our students and families on achieving full accreditation in all of our schools once again,” Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy said in a statement. [InsideNova, Arlington Public Schools]
Park(ing) Day Returns Tomorrow — The annual Park(ing) Day event in Arlington will be held tomorrow (Friday). At least five metered parking spaces around Arlington will be blocked off and converted into pop-up parks, “to elicit a reconsideration of the designation of public space.” [Arlington County]
The financial website SmartAsset has Arlington ranked No. 1 on its list of the “hardest-working cities in America.” The website ranked 113 U.S. cities by labor market data on the average number of hours worked in a week and the average number of weeks worked per year.
The four hardest-working cities after Arlington were Anchorage, Alaska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Plano, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Detroit ranked last on the list
People in Arlington work an average of 41.5 hours per week and 40.15 weeks per year, according to SmartAsset. The company said that Arlington benefitted from steady employment at the Pentagon and other federal government offices.
Thanks in part to a large federal government presence, the Arlington, VA economy is largely immune to the economic shocks which sometimes rock the rest of the country. Government agencies like the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security are headquartered here. In fact, the Pentagon where the Department of Defense is headquartered is the largest office building in the world.
In Arlington people work an average of 41.5 hours per week. This figure is the highest in the country and a big reason Arlington comes in as the hardest-working city in America.
The largest private companies (in terms of employees) in the city are Deloitte and Accenture. Other large private companies owe their presence to the nearby Department of Defense, like Lockheed Martin. All in all, workers in Arlington work an average of 1,431 hours per year.
But there’s a big asterisk to that fact, says an APS spokesman.
As opposed to 2010, when all APS high schools were included in the top 500, for the past couple of years the school system hasn’t even applied to be ranked by Newsweek.
“Unlike the Niche, Great Schools and many other ‘school rankings; which are compiled by outside sources who access data from readily available sources like the VDOE and the US Department of Education, Newsweek is one of about a dozen or so rankings that ask school divisions to complete detailed forms and provide additional data to them,” said Frank Bellavia.
“As a result, for the past few years, APS (and many other school districts in Virginia and the U.S.) have chosen to not participate in the Newsweek list,” Bellavia said. “It is a time consuming endeavor that takes away time away from providing instructional and other supports to our students and families. Consequently, while interesting, the list is not scientifically valid since it does not report using data from all eligible school divisions.”
Bellavia said APS’ participation in the Newsweek rankings ended after 2010, when Newsweek was sold by its then-owner, the Washington Post.
“2010 was the last time Newsweek partnered with the Washington Post on the Challenge Index,” Bellavia said. “We continue to participate in the Post’s Challenge Index because it our local ‘hometown paper.'”
In the 2016 Challenge Index rankings, Arlington’s Washington-Lee High School was on the rise, ranking No. 5 in the D.C. area, while H-B Woodlawn, Yorktown and Wakefield were all down, ranking No. 8, 11 and 84 respectively.
Arlington has been named among the nation’s healthiest places to live.
The county was called the “third healthiest city in America” by Niche.com, the rankings site that previously called Arlington the No. 2 “Best City for Millennials,” “Best City to Live in America” and the No. 7 Suburb to Live in America.
The categories surveyed to determine the healthiest city included physical activity rate, obesity rate, access to doctors, access to recreation and fitness facilities and percentage of smokers.
Arlington received an ‘A’ grade in access to doctors, mental health providers and recreation and fitness facilities. With over 150 listed parks in the county and 13 recreation centers along with privately owned gyms, Arlington has many options for residents to stay healthy.
The county’s obesity rate of 17.5 percent is more than 17 percentage points lower than the national average of 34.9 percent and its physical inactivity rate of 13.9 percent is lower than the state rate of 23.5 percent of Virginians reported as physically inactive.
Arlington’s percentage of smokers is 10.1 percent of the population, lower than the national rate of 16.8 percent.
Topping the “healthiest cities” list were Boulder, Colo., and San Francisco. Arlington beat out a long list of such other health paragons as Provo, Utah; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Berkeley, Calif. Neighboring Alexandria ranked No. 18 on that list.
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.