After years of talking about it, Reston Town Center will soon be going to a paid parking garage system.
Later this year — most likely by August — RTC garages will start using an app-based system called Park RTC, says RTC spokeswoman Marion Myers.
Myers says there is already evidence that people are parking at Town Center and taking shuttles to Dulles International Airport or Whiele-Reston East’s Metro station and leaving cars for hours or even overnight.
With a Reston Town Center Metro station coming in 2020, there needs to be a new system in place, she said.
“We are looking for some solutions to protect parking for office [employees] and store customers,” said Myers.
Reston Town Center has 7,000 parking spaces spread over seven garages.
What RTC has decided on is a “virtual system,” she said. There will be no gates or tickets and no towing.
Drivers will download an app and connect it to a credit or debit card. Cameras in the RTC garages will scan license plates and charge your card — similar to the way EZPass works.
There will also be information kiosks installed, where drivers could get more info, get parking validation and pay in cash, said Myers. Out-of-towners and occasional visitors to RTC may not have the app so there has to be an alternative way to pay.
Myers added there will be many opportunities for validation discounts from stores and restaurants.
Parking will be free on weekends, holidays and for special events, she said.
The cost the rest of the time is $2 per hour, with a maximum of $12.
The app will also be able to tell you when you drive in the garage where available spaces are located.
Myers said the garage cameras will also add an additional layer of security.
She said the new system has been generally well-received by Town Center merchants.
“They know something is going to happen when the Metro comes here,” she said. “We have not heard negative feedback.”