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Old 09-16-2010, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,850 posts, read 35,964,685 times
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First off, the place seems interesting on some levels...proximity to DC, and most importantly...THE DENSITY.

Moderator cut: Competing site Most of the Arlington zip codes have VERY HIGH densities...like DC density...almost the same levels.

However, when I view photos of Arlington...why does it appear so bland...and lifeless? I hear that it isn't, but it certainly appears to be...on google maps as well...street views.

Do most people live in high-rises...and have their cars parked in the garages below? Is that why the density is high, and the streets appear so lifeless and dull?

I've also heard that there are a lot of street things...and many people centered around the train stations. Yet, that doesn't really come across in photos either...at least not to someone who has attraction to 'urban' environments.

So, while Arlington SEEMS to have the density of a city...when I read about it, it gets described in ways that make it sound like it has density - i.e. lots of young people everywhere barhopping and going to restaurants. Why doesn't it appear to be like that at all from photos or google map views?

Just trying to figure this place out...'Arlington'!

Last edited by bmwguydc; 10-15-2011 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:28 AM
 
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You aren't seeing photos at night, taken at noon, or on the weekends. During the weekdays, everyone is either working downtown or in their office towers in Arlington getting their work done. If a couple is earning enough that one can stay home, those folks are less likely to be living in the high density corridors in Arlington, so the "at home" half of the couple is also less likely to be in the urban corridors during the day.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:44 AM
 
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Here's my take on Arlington, specific to North Arlington, Orange Line Metro corridor (which is the part most people talk about).

Historically, it was an area of multiple neighborhoods of single family houses, mixed with garden apartments and townhouses. There were separate shopping areas in Ballston (Parkington), Clarendon (site of many Vietnamese businesses at one time), and other business clusters going down Wilson to Rosslyn.

Around the late 1980's, the county started on a plan to create higher density along Wilson Blvd, to be a stretch of high rises and shopping. A few bars opened up with live music and Arlington starting having a cool factor.

Now that it's been built up, there is a lot more foot traffic to more businesses, and a lot more high rises, particularly around Courthouse and Ballston. There are more stores and hangouts interesting to younger people. A lot more places to eat now. But still, the density is long but narrow (or not deep), along Wilson and Clarendon Blvds. Go back a block or two from these streets, and it's single family houses on lots around a 10th of an acre, on a grid street layout.

And the density doesn't yet go non-stop from Ballston to Rosslyn. There are stretches between Virginia Square and Clarendon, Clarendon and Courthouse, and Courthouse to Rosslyn where the businesses are single or two-story, no high rise condos or apartments, and things like used car lots.

The dense parts of Arlington are nothing like Manhattan or the downtown of a true city like Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, SF (I'm thinking of places I've been). It is a popular place, though, and while it may look bland, I'd say it's teeming.

I'm reminded of when I visited Buckhead in Atlanta (granted, I didn't see much of it). A lot of nightlife, a variety of shopping, but not really a "wow" factor to it. Still, my opinion is that Arlington is a fun place in which to live or visit.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,850 posts, read 35,964,685 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbobobbo View Post
Here's my take on Arlington, specific to North Arlington, Orange Line Metro corridor (which is the part most people talk about).

Historically, it was an area of multiple neighborhoods of single family houses, mixed with garden apartments and townhouses. There were separate shopping areas in Ballston (Parkington), Clarendon (site of many Vietnamese businesses at one time), and other business clusters going down Wilson to Rosslyn.

Around the late 1980's, the county started on a plan to create higher density along Wilson Blvd, to be a stretch of high rises and shopping. A few bars opened up with live music and Arlington starting having a cool factor.

Now that it's been built up, there is a lot more foot traffic to more businesses, and a lot more high rises, particularly around Courthouse and Ballston. There are more stores and hangouts interesting to younger people. A lot more places to eat now. But still, the density is long but narrow (or not deep), along Wilson and Clarendon Blvds. Go back a block or two from these streets, and it's single family houses on lots around a 10th of an acre, on a grid street layout.

And the density doesn't yet go non-stop from Ballston to Rosslyn. There are stretches between Virginia Square and Clarendon, Clarendon and Courthouse, and Courthouse to Rosslyn where the businesses are single or two-story, no high rise condos or apartments, and things like used car lots.

The dense parts of Arlington are nothing like Manhattan or the downtown of a true city like Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, SF (I'm thinking of places I've been). It is a popular place, though, and while it may look bland, I'd say it's teeming.

I'm reminded of when I visited Buckhead in Atlanta (granted, I didn't see much of it). A lot of nightlife, a variety of shopping, but not really a "wow" factor to it. Still, my opinion is that it is a fun place in which to live or visit.
Thanks for the great description...well-written and makes a lot of sense to understanding Arlington.

By the way, the Vietnamese in Clarendon...were the priced out? Did they just move over to Falls Church? Seems like I read somewhere that Falls Church was a popular Vietnamese destination...
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,795,499 times
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TigerBeer, I don't mean to be rude but I don't understand why you're even looking at Northern Virginia. It's very clear that you want to be in DC. We get it, you don't like suburban areas, so this is not the place for you. Yes, you might find some relatively dense sections of Northern Virginia, but it's still suburban.

If you want a dense city neighborhood, focus on DC. Don't waste your time on Nova if you don't like suburbs. That's like someone looking at Minneapolis and then saying "I notice you have a lot of snow there. I don't like snow." Or looking at Salt Lake City and saying "I see you have a lot of mountains there. I don't like mountains."
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,850 posts, read 35,964,685 times
Reputation: 9428
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
TigerBeer, I don't mean to be rude but I don't understand why you're even looking at Northern Virginia. It's very clear that you want to be in DC. We get it, you don't like suburban areas, so this is not the place for you. Yes, you might find some relatively dense sections of Northern Virginia, but it's still suburban.

If you want a dense city neighborhood, focus on DC. Don't waste your time on Nova if you don't like suburbs. That's like someone looking at Minneapolis and then saying "I notice you have a lot of snow there. I don't like snow." Or looking at Salt Lake City and saying "I see you have a lot of mountains there. I don't like mountains."
Got a wife and kid...so can't exactly slum it in the city in my situation...well, not in a city like DC anyways.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,795,499 times
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If that's the case, then what I recommend is getting a place as close to your job as possible so you can spend time with the wife and kids. Being close to the job is really what you want, anyway. Tell us where your job is, and then we might be able to help you find a place you'll like.

If you don't have a job and thus can live anywhere, I recommend Maryland.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:33 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,743 posts, read 10,655,194 times
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1. google street views tend to be taken in less busy times, to make it easier for the Google van to get through. It probably underestimates streeet life in lots of places

2. yes, n arlington is dense in spots, but still affluent suburbia. Lots of folks who live there have cars, and the street life isnt exactly like Manhattan. Even DC isnt like Manhattan though

3. If you work in DC, and like density and walkability, and have no kids, you can probably find DC nabes that work better.

N Arlington is preferable where someone A. Has at least one household member working in NOVA B. Needs good public schools C. Gets the willies from crime in even the better DC nabes D. Likes something a bit less gritty
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:34 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,743 posts, read 10,655,194 times
Reputation: 2479
"If you don't have a job and thus can live anywhere, I recommend Maryland."

are we talking classic N Arlington vs bethesda dilemma? Cause I dont think theres anywhere else in MD (I have NOT been to Silver Spring lately) that compares.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:36 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,743 posts, read 10,655,194 times
Reputation: 2479
"By the way, the Vietnamese in Clarendon...were the priced out? Did they just move over to Falls Church? Seems like I read somewhere that Falls Church was a popular Vietnamese destination..."

more a natural movement further out to cheaper bigger houses as they got affluent enough to want to leave old apt complexes, more than a gentrification displacement story. AFAICT.
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