Paid parking at Reston Town Center is a done deal. Representatives of Boston Properties and the Reston Town Center Association explained why at a community meeting at the Hyatt Regency Reston on Thursday.
“We are an elite destination location,” RTCA Executive Director Robert Goudie said, reiterating that Boston Properties is “not a non profit location.”
As Reston Now has previously reported, Reston Town Center will go to a paid parking system this summer. Goudie and representatives of Boston Properties, which owns the town center, said the plan to install a paid system has been in the works since the town center opened 25 years ago.
Goudie told the crowd of merchants and citizens that in the original town center master plan, there was a proffer agreement that the developer would have to eventually do “transportation demand procedures.” Part of that control would be paid parking. That is a common element of transit-oriented design, he said.
However, a Fairfax County land use attorney told Reston Now that those procedures included services such as carpooling and ridesharing and not paid parking.
Reston Town Center representatives said last month that the paid system is necessary because they are already seeing parking abuse at town center’s seven garages. Commuters are parking all day for free while they catch a bus to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro stop, a factor that is sure to get worse when the Reston Parkway Silver Line station opens in 2020.
There is also resident misuse, too. As more condos and apartments have been built, residents who may be paying for one parking space are commonly parking a second car in town center’s garage.
Parking is set to be $2 an hour and can be paid by an app, RTC Park. Employees at stores and offices will have to pay too, but can purchase monthly passes for $50-70 a month.
Street parking will also cost money, too: $3 an hour for a maximum of two hours.
Parking will be free on weekends and for major community events, RTC officials said. Boston Properties will be charging for weeknight parking, a representative said, because there is evidence that travelers are parking at RTC and hopping on the Hyatt Regency Reston shuttle to Dulles International Airport.
Officials said Thursday there will be validation, but it will not be a universal system — meaning stores and businesses can choose whether and how much to validate.
The validation coming out of a store’s profits — on top of paying already high rents — has many smaller business owners concerned. Many town center visitors have also said in Reston Now’s comments section and Facebook feed that they will no longer visit the center if they have to pay to park.
Thousands of area residents have also signed petitions against the paid system.