WASHINGTON — For residents of D.C. and Arlington, you have a new reason to be proud of where you live: your parks are top-notch! Given that socially distanced walks in the park are one of the few safe activities left these days, we're appreciating outdoor time even more.
The Trust for Public Land recently evaluated the quality of parks in 100 U.S. cities, and the DMV region made a strong showing in the 2020 ParkScore. D.C. parks were rated the second-best in the country, with Arlington parks not far behind at number four.
The Trust looked at four factors: access, investment, acreage, and amenities. Each factor was given a grade out of 100. D.C. scored well-above average in terms of park spending per resident (100) and portion of residents within a 10-minute walk of a park (98). But median park size and percent of the city dedicated to parks was only given a 55 score. Park features like basketball hoops, playgrounds and dog parks was given an 80.
Arlington parks scored similarly, given a 100 for investment, 99 for access, 89 for amenities and a 38 for acreage.
With 631 parks, D.C. uses 24% of its city land for parks and recreation; the national average is 15%. Arlington has far fewer parks with 181 and 11% of land used for recreation. D.C. ranked in the 97th percentile for recreation and senior centers, while Arlington was in the 92nd percentile for dog parks.
According to the study, "100 million Americans don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of home" making their data surrounding park access crucial to pinpoint where parks are needed most, underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read the full study and ratings here.