Reston Town Center Paid Parking Begins Sept. 12

Parking garage at Reston Town Center

Reston Town Center’s paid parking system for visitors and some employees will go into effect on Sept. 12, Boston Properties officials said on Tuesday.

RTC Parking signBoston Properties is encouraging visitors to download the ParkRTC App and familiarize themselves with the system now in order to make a smooth transition next month.

When the system goes into effect, visitors will pay $2 an hour (maximum $24 daily) in RTC’s seven garages and street rates of $3 an hour (free on Sundays). There will be many opportunities for validation from retailers, but that is still being finalized. Retailers who have confirmed they will offer validation include:

  • Bow Tie Cinemas
  • Crunch Fitness
  • Barcelona Wine Bar
  • Bartaco
  • Community Canteen
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Mon Ami Gabi
  • Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge
  • PassionFish

Garage parking will be free on weekends and during special events.

“We realize moving from a free to a paid parking model gives some pause,” Peter Johnston, BP’s Executive Vice President for the DC Region, said in a statement. “However, Reston Town Center leadership continually focuses on strategies to enhance customer convenience, safety and the overall quality of life. The technological integration is an enormous step in advancing both of these historical and very worthwhile goals.”

The app, which is free to download from iTunes or Google Play, will enable visitors to see available spaces, pay for a parking session, extend a parking session, and receive discounts from retailers.

If you download the app between now and Oct. 1, you will be entered into a raffle to win one of 10 $500 RTC shopping sprees.

Boston Properties has also teamed with LiveSafe, a mobile safety system that is currently being used on more than 100 college campuses, as well as other business areas.

Visitors can access LiveSafe from the ParkRTC app. Through it, they can report suspicious activity or issues (i.e., found items, trash situations, light outages) to the RTC security office, which will monitor messages in real time.

LiveSafe can also communicate messages about an emergency situation, says LiveSafe Director of Partnerships Anne Cynamon. For instance, if there were a tornado warning during a weekend festival at RTC, visitors with the app in a certain radius would get an emergency message with instructions.

LiveSafe will have the option to report suspicious or criminal activity anonymously. Rob Weinhold, an RTC spokesman for the parking rollout, says security officials “won’t engage in profiling. But if they get more information and tips, they will be able to triage information to determine what warrants a response.”

Users can also access 911 or the RTC Security office on speed dial (or speed texting), as well as contact a friend for a virtual escort or RTC security for an actual escort back to their car.

RTC officials said a user’s location will only be used by security personnel if a user accesses one of the emergency options buttons.

RTC announced several months ago it would go to a paid system this summer in order to cut down on abuse by commuters, who are leaving cars there all day and hopping a shuttle to the Silver Line’s Wiehle-Retson East station.

The move has been met with considerable backlash from the community, as well as from some retailers who say they cannot afford validation to come out of their own bottom line.

Laura McNulty, a BP  Senior Vice President Property, said BP had 405 meetings with tenants in the last several months. BP has since offered free parking to retail employees. Office tenants will also have a ticketless system to add visitors’ license plates (say a client or someone coming to the office for a meeting) temporarily to the tenant’s paid parking list.

“Right now, [complaints] are about the principal of going to paid parking,” she said. “Our hope is that since we are not charging on key event days and holidays, we are hoping at a minimum people [who say they will stay away] will still come to Reston Town Center on non-paid days, and maybe someday will be comfortable with the application and validation.”

Watch for upcoming posts on Reston Now on how validation and enforcement will work.

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