Reston Town Center will go to a paid parking system on Sept. 12. However, chances are, you may only pay a portion (or none) of the $2-an-hour weekday fee due to the cyberspace-based validation system that is also forthcoming, Boston Properties officials say.
Stores will be outfitted with validation Bluetooth-enabled beacons. It is up to the stores to determine what they are offering for validation, says BP Property Manager Matt Bonifant.
For instance, one store or restaurant might give you two hours free if you purchase something. Another might give you an hour just for walking in the door. Still another may offer validation if you spend 15 minutes in the store or enter a dressing room.
In any case, the beacons will work in two ways if you download the ParkRTC App to your phone and have your Bluetooth enabled.
Some will work by proximity, meaning you walk into a store and instantly get a notification to your phone that your parking has been validated by the business you’re visiting.
The reach of the beacon will be about 1,500 square feet, says Bonifant.
In other stores, beacons will work by tapping. There will be a small device, most likely at the hostess station or the checkout counter, where you wave your phone. Any validation offers will then register to the App.
The list of retailers confirming this week they will validate: Crunch Fitness; Bow Tie Cinemas; Barcelona Wine Bar; Bartaco; Community Canteen; CVS Pharmacy; Mon Ami Gabi; Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge; and PassionFish. Many more are expected to join the list, BP officials said.
Meanwhile, many offices will participate in a program where office tenants can add visitors to their account. The visitor gives their license plate number to the receptionist or other employee, who will enter it into the office account. The system will charge the visitor for the time in the garage, BP says.
“The goal is to make this eventually completely hands-free, like E-ZPass,” says Laura McNulty, BP Senior Vice President.
Offices can also hand out a card with a numeric code that App users can tap into their phone to get up to $4 off their parking stay.
If you do not have the App, validation gets more complicated.
A retailer will give you a code that you can use at one of the payment kiosks located in four of the RTC garages or by calling 571-485-7790 to pay by phone.
The code is valid for your next visit, however, and not the current visit. That technically makes it a coupon for a future visit and not a validation.
Photo: Screenshot of ParkRTC App.