Who needs public transit anyway?
Despite its lack of buses, trains and other transportation options, Arlington has been named by Money magazine as one of the six best cities in the United States to enjoy urban living “at a price you can afford.”
The publication, which is known for its municipal rankings, sought to identify cities in metro areas where residents can enjoy the benefits of big-city living and experience strong job growth, affordable housing, low crime, good schools and access to transportation and green space.
As Arlington’s population has more than doubled since 1980, the city has made an effort to contain sprawl, investing in transportation alternatives like bike lanes and exploring a high-speed rail line linking Arlington to Dallas and Fort Worth.
Arlington won “Best City in the South” honors. Cities in other regions to make the distinguished list were: Boston; Raleigh, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Portland, Ore.
The article touts Arlington as the “Entertainment Capital of Texas, and for good reason. It’s home to four professional sports teams — Dallas Cowboys football, Texas Rangers baseball, Dallas Wings basketball and Dallas Charge softball — theme parks, music venues, comedy clubs and not least the International Bowling Hall of Fame.”
Money also cited the city’s major employers, including General Motors and Texas Health Resources, as well as access to other workplaces such as American Airlines in Fort Worth and AT&T in Dallas. Arlington was also declared a “sweet spot for parents looking for affordable homes and top-ranked schools, including standout public charter school Uplift Summit International Preparatory, named one of the top 20 most challenging high schools in the U.S. by The Washington Post.”
381,597 Arlington’s population
But perhaps more curiously to those who actually live in North Texas, the magazine touted Arlington’s mobility attributes. Locally, Arlington is often criticized for its lack of transit options. The city doesn’t belong to either Dallas Area Rapid Transit or the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, and efforts to raise a sales tax for transit have been rejected by voters in three elections since the 1980s.
Yet, Money credits the city for showing interest in a proposed high-speed rail line connecting Fort Worth and Dallas — a project that is being studied at the state and federal level. But even if it is approved, it is unlikely to be built for many years.
The median price of an Arlington home is $168,688, according to Money.
“As Arlington’s population has more than doubled since 1980, the city has made an effort to contain sprawl, investing in transportation alternatives like bike lanes and exploring a high-speed rail line linking Arlington to Dallas and Fort Worth,” says the article, which was first published Saturday. “The downtown has also been getting a makeover: Here residents can enjoy some of the old, such as the circa-1949 Arlington Music Hall, alongside the new, like the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, an outdoor venue that plays host to more than 50 free outdoor concerts a year.”
The city’s master-planned Viridian neighborhood is cited for its access to bike paths and the River Legacy Parks nature preserve.