Reston Town Center Paid Parking Begins Sept. 12

by Karen Goff August 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm 73 Comments

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.

  • North Restonian

    I will not download it. I will not pay.

    • Why do you bother?

      I will not do it! NOT, I say!

      • North Restonian

        Thanks, Sam!

        • Why do you bother?

          I am!

  • May

    RTC spokeswoman Marion Myers previously said the following: There will be no gates or tickets and no towing.

    The signs now warn that cars are subject to being immobilized, i.e. booted.

    • Karen Goff

      correct. I will have a post tomorrow outlining enforcement.

      • Wheatie

        So I would have to buy a smart phone to park in the Reston Town Center? Is this correct????

        • Lochness Mobster

          I’d guess any telephone (smart or not so smart) can call the phone number on the sign, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll supply you a phone to use if you don’t have your own.

        • rtfm

          you do not need a phone, you can pay at the pay station, see above.

  • AlliD

    How does validation work with an app?

    • Karen Goff

      several ways. Story forthcoming explaining them.

    • Guest

      According to the validation system’s website, the essential link between car and billing app is a camera reading your car’s license plate. It might even be able to recognize the make and model. Just more ways for Boston Properties to make money off of you. They can sell it to marketers, make it available to government, and hand out your transportation history and habits to … well, anyone, really.

      • meh

        Best part will be when they require your GPS to be on the whole time and start to determine which shops you visit for how long. Then they’ll require you to opt-in for messages (data rates may apply) so they can ping you when you walk past an establishment and try to get you in the door.

        No thanks

      • ah

        thats scary. didnt realize these apps sell your info. we are never safe!

        • Larry

          Yes that App will be a source of revenue for BP and will collect all kinds of personal information and that information is not limited to when you are at RTC. The app will run 24×7 on your smartphone collecting and allowing BP to monetize you personal information.

  • meh

    Why does the app require so much information from my phone? I cannot understand why it requires permissions for contact list, call history, bluetooth, camera and other functionality.

    Quite a shame. I guess it’s off to Lake Anne

    • qwerty

      If you read the article you can figure that out – it allows you to report problems, contact friends, call 911, etc. I’d hope you can still use the app to pay for parking without giving access to those things though.

      • meh

        I have a phone that can dial 911. I have a phone with a contact list already. The app needs to do one thing and one thing only. Allow me to pay for a parking spot.

        It should be simple. enter a code in front of space (or scan QR code if you allow camera) Bring up the parking spot # and pay for a defined period of time allowing me to increase the time from the phone if I see fit.

        No need to have any of the other information that they plan on selling to 3rd parties

      • John

        You can not use the app without giving BP access to all of your personal information so that they can monetize your personal information by selling it to others.

    • vdiv

      Or to One Loudoun, the Gloucester Parkway/Nokes Boulevard connector is now open making it easier to get there. They are building a Barnes and Noble as we speak.

    • cRAzy

      The answer is that the app owner intends to sell all the info to others–and that makes it cheaper (maybe free) for BP.

    • June Smith

      The more permissions you grant, the more opportunities to hack your phone …. Careful!

  • Carmen S Leon

    When downloading the app, I was ask to enter the zone number, which appears to be ###,,,,
    why is it?

    • justme4you

      The picture above says ZONE 700

      • Karen Goff

        The zone no is posted on signs depending on where you are parked at rtc. The picture I took yesterday, zone 700, was in the yellow garage at rtc. That is something you will type in each time.

  • johnQPublic

    Nice to see an end date on when I will stop driving to the clown center. I refuse to pay for parking , its actually a blessing they are implementing this, I think it will really hurt business there. People are sick of getting nickled & dimed around this area.

    • ah

      well it says its free on weekends. they should only have ppl pay 6am-7pm during the week (to get commuters).

  • Chuck Morningwood

    I’m done with RTC.

  • JoeInReston

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

    Will parking be free on Friday evenings?

    freedictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/weekend) defines weekend as, “The last part of the week, typically from Friday evening through Sunday evening, but sometimes including other adjacent days, especially when seen as a time of leisure or recreation”.

    By that definition, Friday should be free.

    • Karen Goff

      No. BP definition is Sat and Sun.

      • Guest

        Has Boston Properties explained why they’ll charge for evening parking, if this is primarily meant to cut down on commuters?

        • meh

          Because $$$$$ That’s why

    • ah

      yeah it should really start being free starting at 5pm on friday.

  • Evey Hammond

    If the Lerner – owned Spectrum gets a move on and redevelops with free parking and many of the amenities of RTC along with its own cinema, it could drain business from RTC and force a return to free parking. At any rate, I take the bus to RTC.

    • Kris Rehberg

      The owners of Reston Town Center already plan to redevelop the entire area all the way to Baron Cameron Ave. The Spectrum and the other shopping centers will be demolished and redeveloped. It’s just been delayed.

      • Evey Hammond

        Are you saying that Lerner no longer owns The Spectrum, and that BP took it over? From what I read, it is Lerner doing the Spectrum redevelopment, not BP.

        • Karen Goff

          Lerner owns Spectrum. BP owns RTC. Lerner has plans for Spectrum redevelopment, but they are still a few years away.

  • Wheatie

    And these people really think that I should pay $3.00 to them so I can go to my bank to cash a $10.00 check? I’m done with the Reston Town Center.

    • Guest

      Don’t be silly. Bank visitors have short term street parking available. If you can find a spot large enough to fit a car. And it hasn’t been blocked off with a temporary handicap or event parking sign.

      It’s a good day to ask your bank whether they plan to validate garage parking.

      • Wheatie

        I’m changing banks. And will no longer patronize RCT restaurants and shops. Enough is enough.

    • Lochness Mobster

      With these numbers I agree, a 30% surcharge (in the form of parking) would sting quite a bit. Perhaps waiting until you’ve been paid by multiple people would decrease this hit.

      For instance, if you receive payment of $10/instance, three times a week; Instead of driving to RTC, parking, and depositing each time for a gross deposit of $30 (net deposit of $21), you could wait until you’ve received the third check and then make one trip for a total gross deposit of $30 (net deposit of $27) for a savings of $6 (or %20 respectively).

      • Wheatie

        I am not taking any “hit” just to drive to the bank.

        • Lochness Mobster

          Understood, nobody should have to pay to bank these days. Perhaps using the no fee drive through ATM for deposits is the best choice in your situation. The deposits are instant and you never have to leave the car. Quite convenient.

          • Wheatie

            There is no drive through ATM for deposits at my bank at RTC. But thanks for the suggestions of how I can best accommodate Boston Properties.

  • Wheatie

    So now I need to pay Reston Town Center $3.00 to go to my bank and cash a $10.00 check? I think not.

    • ah

      which bank do you have?

    • dent

      Who is writing you $10 checks and why? Even with free parking, you’re probably running up $10 in gas and car maintenance costs on the drive. Also, there’s probably an app to let you deposit those low-value checks without physically going anywhere (I think PNC has a limit of $2500 for online deposits).

      • Wheatie

        Trust me, it does not take $10.00 in gas for me to drive to the Reston Town Center, which is 1 mile away.
        Do you rip up smaller checks? Interesting.

  • Tom

    Screw you BP. You’re not getting a dime from me.

  • Robert Mowbray

    What do I do if I don’t own a mobile phone or other mobile device? Where do I park to donate blood?

    • Mel

      Not sure about blood donations, but the movie theater will validate. Also, if you have any cell phone, you can call to park.

      • ah

        are the gonna have someone sitting at the front of the garage to check validations?

      • Robert Mowbray

        Will the theater validate for free senior movies?

    • rtfm

      you don’t need the app the pay, you can pay at a pay station with exact change. you don’t need the app to pay, you can pay with credit card at a pay station. you don’t need to download the app to park. you don’t need the app. the app is something you do not need to have. it is possible to park without the app. you don’t need your phone to park because you don’t need the app to park or pay. paying is possible without the app because you don’t need the app to pay for parking. paying with the app is not the only way to pay. paying with your phone is not the only way to pay. only paying with the app is not a fact since you do not have to have the app to pay.

    • dent

      It is unsafe for seniors to drive anywhere anyway.

    • KB

      The posting says that Bow Tie will validate parking, and for our family – we won’t go to any place in Reston now that wont validate – not giving them any more of my money. Already overpriced!

  • Arielle in NoVA


  • Why do you bother?

    Thanks for the warning.

  • Sasme36

    What about employees of the resturaunts? Will they have to pay every day or what? Also, what about those who would pay on coins?

    • ah

      i think most jobs will validate bc at those stores/restaurants dont make a lot of money.

  • GrumpyOldMan

    I don’t intend to use any of the 3 methods of payment BP is offering. If they can’t even put in a gate machine that uses a time ticket that takes a credit card or cash, I absolutely won’t go there. I don’t need to find another way to pay for anything.

    And that doesn’t even address the stupidity of BP charging for parking at all.

  • Greg

    It’s OK to let RA steal millions of your dollars for dubious things (like lake houses and pony barns and hideously ugly “art” and then hire cover-up consultants to validate the theft) but you have a hissy fit over a few dollars for parking?

    • Nate_VA

      You’re assuming that a lot with that post.

  • Nate_VA

    I’m not using their personal info sucking app, so paying for parking adds a hassle factor, which will be weighed in my decision in where to spend my time and money.

  • Joe Heflin

    So…..people will now park at the $5.00 a day Metro lot and ride a bus to Town Center which costs $24.00 a day.

  • Joe Heflin

    In truth the mere mention of an “app” for parking will eliminate a significant % of people from even coming near Town Center. (“I don’t have one,” “don’t know how to use it,” “not aware of another way to pay or, if there even is another way to pay.” etc. I simply cannot imagine this will be more efficient than parking at, say, Dulles which has its own 10,000 spaces and must feel pretty comfortable that their “model” is more efficient and less intimidating. And, by the way, how does a retailer reimurse someone who is paying with an app? Wouldn’t stamping a parking ticket be less complicated?

  • jgr3rd

    My days of going to RTC are over!!! Thanks BP for chasing me and many others away. I hope you come to your greedy senses some day and realize screwing you tennents was incredibly stupid!!! Bye Bye

  • DogPark

    It is way past time to start tweeting Boston Properties and let them know how you feel. Twitter account for Boston Properties where all the opinions below can go to — https://twitter.com/BXP_NYC

    • Kris Rehberg

      That account has been dormant for 3 years. Are you sure?

  • justme4you

    Has it ever occurred to BP that some people may not have a smartphone to download the app? Every 3rd Wed of the month Bow Tie has a senior citizen free movie and they fill 3 theaters. I seem to remember that most of them drive and most of them don’t have smartphones.

  • KB

    Well that solves it for us, we will choose to go and eat/play elsewhere, Reston is becoming to overpriced any way – If we do happen to go to Reston, it will only be to the places that validate parking!

    Get a clue folks

  • Jack

    I will not pay for parking at RTC. Period. Plenty of options available elsewhere.

  • Michael

    If a prime purpose of the parking fees is to prevent Silver Line passengers from parking here for free, why can’t the fees be imposed to be friendly to local residents? Tyson’s Corner Center blocks parking up to 10:00 am and then parking is free. Why can’t fee parking be addressed that way? Why is the fee so high (maximum $24.00) which matches downtown DC? Why is it imposed on a 24 hour basis? Why does it apply on Friday nights, or on any nights for that matter? Why is street parking only free on Sunday’s, and why is that fee $3.00 per hour at all times versus $2.00 in the lots? I live in the Town Center but now will have to pay for my personal trainer who needs to park during the week, or a cleaning service to deal with my apartment. If I have mid-week or Friday guests, they have to pay as well. What’s going to happen with the Reston Hospital Center parking, or the lots at Best Buy and Office Depot? Why isn’t parking for people with physical disabilities free, as it is in, for example, DC and Bethesda? Maybe we should have some massive parking lot somewhere (maybe where a new Redskins stadium might be planned) to shuttle people into the RTC.

    I don’t object to paid parking here ultimately because, as the Reston Town Center becomes more and more popular, and more and more people are going to be moving here, parking is going to be at a premium. It already is a problem at some of the residential complexes in the RTC, where exiting residents don’t have enough space to park. But, here, it seems as if very little study was make about what is happening in the DC area, making the decision to impose fees seems like a money grab. Maybe it is, but I hope that if this system ends up discouraging people from shopping here, eating here, or living here in the RTC that some changes will be made.

    I have lived here for 45 years and have seen a lot of changes, mostly for the better. This is not in that category.


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