Reston Town Center’s Pay Parking System Will Also Charge Employees

by Karen Goff March 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm 56 Comments

Garage at RTC1Reston Town Center employees can expect to pay a monthly parking charge when the center goes to a pay parking system this summer.

The town center announced earlier this week it is in the process of installing a paid parking system for its seven garages. The system, which will be rolled out gradually, will likely go into effect late this summer, RTC officials said.

That has led to frustration by many merchants and outrage from many customers, who say they will no longer visit RTC if they have to pay to park.

“Horrible stupid idea,” said one commenter on Reston Now. “Penalize everyone for the misdeeds of a few. … What they don’t get is that the majority of those going to the restaurants during the week are usually business related and folks from out of town. Imagine trying to tell your business client that you have to download an app in order park, so that you can drink your $8 beer? We don’t need to get used to it because we have choices.”

Here is what the employees will now have to pay to park:

Corporate employees — A spectrum of free to up to $70 a month (depending on if there is an office subsidy; the town center cannot speak for individual offices).

Retail owners/leaseholder — $70 a month

Retail employees — $50 a month. Part time workers can share an account, however.

Public monthly — a pass can be purchased for $70 a month

Maximum 24-hour charge — $24

Reston Town Center officials said earlier this week that the new system will cut down on commuter parking, which they said is already happening as some people are parking at RTC and then taking a shuttle bus to Wiehle-Reston East.

The system, called RTC Park, will be app based, says RTC spokeswoman Marion Myers. App users will have their license plate info in the system and will be automatically monitored and charged.

But if you don’t have the app? You will have to go to a kiosk and register your car — potentially adding time and hassle to an otherwise quick trip to RTC.

“You don’t have to use the app, there will be kiosks where you can pay by cash or credit card,” said Myers. “If you go into the garage and park without registering your license, an orange light will flash overhead and security will be alerted. You’ll have 15 or so minutes to get to the kiosk and register. If you don’t, security will put a warning and info on how the system works on your windshield.”

Claude Anderson, corporate operations manager at Clyde’s of Reston, says he is confused and angry at a “total disregard for our guests and our employees through this disguised money grab.”

“With a Reston Town Center [Metro] station not coming until 2020, it seems that they could have thought through a better plan to accomplish their aim of stopping commuter abuse,” said Anderson.

Anderson said he has discussed employee parking with RTC management.

“While [$50 a month] is definitely a discount to the proposed maximum guest charge of $24/day, I don’t know of any Northern Virginia shopping center charging their employees for daily parking,” he said.

There will likely be opportunities for validation, but if that is subsidized by merchants, it will a severe hit to their bottom line, said Anderson.

Meanwhile, Tysons Corner Center has more than 11,000 free parking spots and is built adjacent to a Metro station with no public parking. The mall has no plans to charge money for parking, a Tysons Corner spokeswoman said.

Tysons installed a security system designed by Sentry Control Systems several years ago, said Vijay Thapa, Assistant Manager, Property Management for Tysons Corner.

The system tells motorists how many spaces are available on a given level as they look for a spot, a similar feature of the plans for Reston Town Center.

Tysons has also taken measures to cut down on commuter parking, she added.

“Garage gates only open at 9.30 a.m. during weekdays [mall employees have access cards], thus preventing morning commuter parking,” Thapa said in an email. “Additionally, security team monitors parking with the help of Indect Lighting System in the garages.”

  • Nate_VA

    I think it’s a plot to drive out the middle class, and turn RTC into a gated shopping district for the rich.

  • Steve

    Please stay on this story. When Clyde’s reacts that strongly, it tells us that clearly this was not well thought out. Since the town center opened in 1991, Clyde’s has been a loyal anchor, even when other tenants came and went. Like the rest of us, they know how consumers will behave when given a choice between free parking everywhere else in Northern Virginia and a charge at Reston Town Center. I don’t get why the town center management doesn’t just charge on weekdays until 5 p.m.

  • Ralar

    So now commuters will have to pay $70/month to park at RTC. I don’t see that as much of a disincentive to parking there since parking at the Wiehle Avenue garages is about $100 per month. Come 2020, when there is a Metro station across from RTC, people are going to love the discounted “legal” Metro parking available at RTC. The parking plan is simply a money grab that is going to backfire.

    • Objective Observer

      It seems that Boston Properties doesn’t want to discourage commuter parking, but wants to profit from it.

      • Ming the Merciless

        Which is not wrong, and nobody should have a problem with it so long as they cut RTC employees and shoppers a break.

        • Marc Lieberman

          Except when there aren’t enough spaces for employees and shoppers.

          • Ming the Merciless

            Why wouldn’t there be?

  • Bill2298

    Can’t they just invest in a parking permit for employees and a guy with a piece of technology that monitors the rest of the folks who are staying past their welcome? It’s called parking enforcement, no need to charge for parking. Leverage the guy/girl-and-a-tablet-investment on those who break the rules with the fines. There are way better solutions out there.

    I go to Town Center several times a week for food, but I will stop that as soon as this begins. I won’t make my friends pay to meet me there either. Period. We’ll go to Fairfax, Tysons, or Herndon. Forget this.

    • Terry Maynard

      Try a restaurant in one of Reston’s Village Centers, say, Red’s Table or Cafesano in SLVC. PARKING IS FREE!

  • PK

    If they are so concerned about metro commuter parking then put a limit to the park time – free 3 hours with validation. This is all another ploy to make money. Hate Stresston.

  • RestonRed

    Charging for parking will definitely mean we won’t be going there during the week for coffee/lunch/errands, which we currently do at least 1-2 per week. I live in Reston and it is frustrating that we cannot enjoy our own town because people are abusing parking!
    I am very tech-savvy, but I am not wasting memory on my phone for some RTC parking app that demands I give them my credit card. Nor do I wish to have RTC seemingly tracking my every move when I come to the town center just so they can get their money on parking. Next thing they will want permission to link the app with the location on my phone and if I walk on the W & OD or off to The Container Store, etc., they will charge me double or zap me like an electric dog collar. Technology is great, but this is overuse and a violation of privacy.
    Stay on the story RestonNow!

    • Sam

      And similar to the ParkMobile app used in DC, the app itself will charge a fee just for using it.

  • MilfHunter

    The Milfs that go to Jacksons on the weekend and leaver there cars in the town center over night are not going to be happy about this.

  • east297

    Just put up gates and open at 9:45am…eliminates commuters. Nix the charge for others visiting RTC. If commuters really are the problem.

  • LOLA

    I have worked in the RTC for 12 years now for a restaurant which I will NOT name. I believe this is a guaranteed way to push people away from RTC (clearly by the comments on several of these stories now) and push businesses to relocate elsewhere. The RTC is “dated” (despite the improvements they are making), it is already congested (as the buildings get higher and the streets do not change, the rent is skyrocketing, a possible new food tax! Boston Properties is clueless to what is good for this area… it’s all about $$$ for them. There are so many new options popping up all around us (with FREE parking!!!) and unfortunately I don’t believe any of them are going to listen to the merchants, the RTC employees or customers. Go ahead and sit up in your tower looking down on the rest of us and keep digging the RTC grave…

  • Terry Maynard

    The day that Reston Town Center was identified as Metro station stop more than a decade ago was the day that pay parking in its garages was a foregone conclusion to keep out Metro parking moochers, not to mention that Boston Properties would like to earn something from their significant investment in this parking. That said, BP is handling this sensitive issue about as poorly as a corporation can, disregarding legitimate parking needs of shoppers, diners, other visitors, and employees.

    There are any number way that BP can handle this more intelligently, including a number of ideas offered up here, such as:
    –a limited number of hours free (to help shoppers) and then charge, say, 3-4 hours, that would cover most shoppers.
    –store validation of parking that gets the use free parking.
    –no charges on weekends (when Metro use is very limited).
    –parking passes of some sort for employees (which raises a risk of abuse, but NTL employees really won’t be a major source of BP revenue AND certainly retail workers are not well paid).
    –and there are many others.

    Apparently, Boston Properties just doesn’t care. There approach is very unfriendly, inconsiderate, and un-Reston.

    • Nyla J.

      This is VERY Reston! Not old school friendly and considerate Reston you’re referring to, but the new profit driven, sell-out, over-crowded Reston that we live in now.

  • Bill

    The simple solution… only charge for parking for vehicles entering the garage between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., Mon-Fri. Make it possible for employees of businesses at the Town Center to park for free within designated areas with a parking permit.

    • JoeInReston

      I worked in one of the Reston Town Center offices up through 2012. By 2012, they had a system that was similar to what you describe. Reston Town Center employees (including commuters to offices in Reston Town Center) were given badges/passes. At key garages, guards were stationed at garage entrances in the mornings to ensure that only those with badges were allowed through. Lower rungs of the parking garages were roped off so that retail customers would have premium spots when retail stores opened. At the time I left, they were about to transition to an electronic system that didn’t require guards.

      There was a garage or two designated for bus commuters.

      So I am not quite sure why there is a problem. They had what appeared to be an effective solution.

  • Liz Thatcher

    I have created a petition to combat this ludicrous propsal. It’s not right to expect employees and casual patrons to be penalized for the sins of a few. Tyson’s was able to fix it … why can’t RTC? http://www.standunited.org/petition/dont-charge-visitors-and-employees-to-park

  • Greg

    We won’t be parking at Reston Town Center with those rates. And we will be spending much less than when parking was free.

  • LesAnn620

    I was mostly ok with this until seeing this update. It’s ridiculous to charge the people who work in RTC to pay to be able to go to work and do their job. And what happened to the $12 maximum originally mentioned? *sigh* I’m glad I live a couple blocks away and don’t need to park in RTC, but I know once I move away this will decrease the likelihood of visiting. I’ll just head to One Loudoun to hang out with friends or the Dulles mall to go shopping.

  • Why do you bother?

    Gee, if only there were other places where I could shop instead and park for free.
    Oh, wait…

  • Bardicvoice

    For crying out loud: these are downtown DC parking prices! To go from free to this would be obscene. RTC is making a fatal error here. I WILL NOT drive my car and park at RTC once this pricing goes into effect. If the weather’s fine, I might walk the 2.25 miles from my house to see a matinee film or eat lunch, but drive? Nope. Not happening.

    • Aubrey Stokes

      It’s actually cheaper to park in DC. The max daily charge at my building is $17

  • Michael

    Here’s what Westfield does to address controlled parking in retail. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6ufXsxPOerw

  • Nanuchka

    Used to live in Reston and glad now I’m out and living with the free. My opinion: best view of Reston is in the rear view mirror

  • UStifosi .

    Funny how we haven’t heard anything directly from the head of the RTCA about this issue. If it’s such a great idea how about showing up and defending it. Quit hiding behind a spokesperson. The truth of the matter is this isn’t about commuter parking it’s a money grab aimed at soaking the rich when in fact it hurts all the mainstream restaurant workers and deters customers. $840 a year to park at the Towncenter….are you kidding me. I want to meet the person that thought this was a good idea.

    • Karen Goff

      The RTCA represents residential owners, so they did not want to comment.

      • Guest

        The RTCA President, Robert Goudie, is a mouthpiece for the Boston Properties and doesn’t represent the owners. In fact, RTCA Board is dominated by developers, not residents.

  • cRAzy

    Unfortunately, Boston Properties decision will spread like the Zika virus.

    First, people who have parked for free at RTC will try to park for free in the shopping centers to the north, Best Buy block and the Harris Teeter block, and walk to RTC. In response, those areas will have to charge to park there or see their parking overwhelmed with RTC shoppers, workers, and others. The problem could then spread to Plaza America to the east or the YMCA/Target area to the west. Pretty soon, all Reston’s main shopping areas are likely to become paid parking.

    It sucks. The only good thing about it is that it may help re-vitalize our village centers.

    • Dilbert Net

      Nah. Businesses will lose customers. They no longer will be able to or want to pay premium rates for leasing at RTC. They will leave and then Boston properties can covert the shopping center into a huge parking garage. Moolah!

  • John Farrell

    So Mort Zuckerman needs to take $840 per year out of the paychecks of the baristas at Starbucks, the staff at CVS, and the waiters at Clydes, Rio Grand and Jacksons.

    Way to go Morty!

    And we wonder how income inequality has gotten so out of whack in this country.

    • Joe Neighbor

      You mean $50 x 12 = $600
      But still yea $50 from people making at or around minimum wage is way to much.

  • RTCSucks

    This isn’t about anything but greed– if you calculate the number of spaces times the amount being charged it’s clear that this is only about the money. If it weren’t they’d allow for free validation for workers, etc.

  • El Southie

    Meanwhile others will continue to slink in via Silver Line undisturbed by this.

  • susie

    Bet it doesn’t last

  • Mark
  • Poor me

    That’s never going to fly away too poor for that. Anyone want to go sailing instead just respond to this thread. Thx

  • FreeParkingFreePizza

    It is time for all of those that are complaining to telephone and email the businesses in RTC to ask about parking rates and if they validate or not. Let them know that they may very well be losing business. Do not wait…

    Morton’s 703-796-0128
    Ted’s Bulletin 703.956.9510
    Barcelona 703.689.0700
    RTC-Boston Properties 703) 579-6720
    CrunchFitness 571-267-5000
    Pottery Barn (703) 437-6001
    Potbelly 703-481-5080

    http://www.restontowncenter.com/directory/ for additional businesses to contact.

  • Dilbert Net

    Sorry RTC, you lost my business. There are other businesses around to go to and spend money on rather than throw it away on parking. Good Luck.

  • June Smith

    Tysons Corner offers free partking to patorns and does not plan to charge for parking. To work around commuter parking abuse, Tryons opens the garages to the public at 9:30a (1/2 hour before the stores open – but an hour after most commuters leave for work) – with parking passes for leaseholders’ employees who need to come to work earlier. Tysons Corner management said this has worked very well.

    NOTE: If RTC and Boston Properties had made this public before last week, there would have been time for Reston residents and people who work at the RTC to provide input at earlier hearings. Boston Properties intended to spring this on the community with the community at the last minute – hoping to avoid push back by the community.

    Had Reston Patch and Reston Nown not published an article about this – BP would have gotten away with it.

    • Karen Goff

      This isn’t a public hearing issue. That is only for when the county government is involved. This is a private business on private property and they do not have to ask the community. They are NOT asking the community at this meeting, they are explaining how the system will work and who is going to validate parking.

      • June Smith

        It has become public … even if BP doesn’t want it to be.

  • Brooks Davis

    Heck, RTC doesn’t have a monopoly on shopping. Tyson’s and One Loudoun are great alternatives for shoppers. I can easily see RTC changing their minds a few years down the line when the terrible “over-parking by commuters” issue passes. From the ashes of shut-down businesses and empty store-fronts someone new will be elected to the board who will nix the pay-to-park issue.

  • herndonguy

    I’m not going to pay for parking to go to Reston. I can go eat at the same chain establishments somewhere else and park for free.

  • dbncoold

    Something is fundamentally wrong when several government agencies such as Fairfax County, WMATA, MW Airports Authority, and others conspire to build a multi-billion dollar metro project funded by taxpayer money, and by commuters being robbed on the Dulles Toll Road, whereas all we actually really needed was proper maintenance and widening of the already existing free roads such as Route 7, I-66, and Route 286. They have let the free roads become dysfunctional, and turned their attention only to profit-making. And now they are helping their friends at Boston Properties become richer by bringing metro right into their property. Without the help of this corrupt government Boston Properties would never have been able to secure a real estate investment that is guaranteed to be so profitable for decades. The same goes for E-ZPass, Transurban, Dulles Greenway, and the rest of Washington’s high profile thieves.

  • Lisa

    I am boycotting RTC even though I can easily afford the parking fees. As someone wrote to me, “There is NOOTHING at RTC that you can’t find elsewhere”. What’s
    particularly disgusting and disturbing to me, is that even retail and restaurant EMPLOYEES (who probably make minimum wage) must pay!! Retail employees: $50 a month. Part time workers can share an account.”

    • Karen Goff

      This has been changed since this story was published. Retail and restaurant workers are now getting free parking.

  • Kim-Marie Mullin

    Moved here from NY to get away from this and Reston is no Westchester…not even close, so it looks like we will be shopping online and dining elsewhere going forward.

  • Why live and/or work outside DC in Reston when you have to start paying for parking like you’re in DC, Arlington, or Bethesda?

    Please sign the petition to stop parking fees in Reston: https://www.change.org/p/parking-restontowncenter-com-stop-new-parking-garage-fees-at-reston-town-center/sponsors/new

  • I posted this up on my website to get some feedback – most people said it’d be the end of their “going to Reston” – my thought it this. Most of us have to drive past free Tysons Corner to get there. There’s only so many restaurants. Beyond that, a few miles and you’re at Loudoun 1.

    All in all – a bad idea for Reston me thinks.

  • mike connor

    Reston is an overrated sheet hole. I never go there unless I have to.

  • mike moore

    So, why don’t the tenants get together and pay the Town Center owner what the owner wants. They could calculate a fee based on square footage and all tenants would pay their fair share. End of dispute.

  • mike connor

    Check the security permissions you are asked to give in order to use their mobile parking app. In addition to having to pay to park, you risk your private data being compromised and tracked everywhere you go.

  • Raymond

    The only thing Boston Properties understands is money. Their job is to reach into your purse or back pocket and extract as much cash as they can. As a consumer, the only thing greedy capitalists understand is to deny them the thing they love the most, money. The decision is simple. If they want to make this a test of wills, do not go there. Do not pay the parking fee. When the sales drop at the merchants and the lawsuits prevail in Boston Properties getting sued, the free market will win again.


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