Reston Town Center Parking Petition Unlikely to Have Effect

by Karen Goff August 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm 37 Comments

Reston Town Center

Reston Town Center is going to paid parking next month, and more than 6,000 signatures protesting that development are very unlikely to change that at this point.

ParkRTC AppMore than 6,600 people have signed a Change.org petition organized by Reston’s Suzanne Zurn. The petition is titled “Stop Paid Parking at Reston Town Center.”

Rob Weinhold, Boston Properties’ spokesperson for mobile pay parking and mobile safety communications programs, says he is aware of the pushback and welcomes feedback, but the $2-an-hour system is a done deal beginning Sept. 12.

Boston Properties deeply respects the various perspectives of those who passionately care about this issue,” Weinhold said in an email. “The Reston Town Center management team is listening; in fact, several policies were enacted based, in part, on customer feedback:  free weekend and holiday parking, free parking for retailers and a soft touch approach to enforcement.”

However, Boston Properties, which owns Reston Town Center, is not bending on paid parking in general. A significant investment has already been made in developing the app-based system, putting signs in place, and installing electronic garage signs and pay kiosks, Weinhold said.

“Beginning on Monday, Sept. 12, those who patronize the Reston Town Center will experience two state-of-the-art technologies accessible through free downloadable apps to enhance their living, working and shopping experiences,” Weinhold said.

“Both technologies were thoroughly researched, investments have been made and the systems will be put into operation on Sept. 12.”

Reston Town Center announced in March that paid parking was coming this summer in order to cut down on commuters who are using the garages as parking for the Wiehle-Reston East Metro.

Parking will be $2 an hour, with a maximum of $24 a day. Many retailers will offer validation. Parking fees are in effect on weekdays. Parking remains free on Saturdays and Sundays, and for special events.

There has been significant negative reaction in Reston Now’s comments section and on Reston Now’s Facebook page from would-be patrons, many of whom say they will no longer visit RTC if they have to pay. Others say they are bothered by privacy issues with the ParkRTC app and the Bluetooth-enabled validation system.

But Weinhold said Boston Properties has also received complaints that it is often difficult to find a parking space. Putting in controls will making it a fairer fight to find a place to park, as well as reinforce that RTC is a urban environment and not a suburban shopping mall.

“Reston Town Center operates as an urban mixed use environment. This is also known as ‘Second City,’ ” he said. “In order to preserve the parking rights of visitors, and at the same time enhance RTC’s world-class customer experience, Boston Properties extensively researched all options and identified the ParkRTC model as the optimal paid parking model.”

“With the arrival of the Metro’s Wiehle-Reston East station, there has been an increased use of commuters using Reston Town Center’s garages,” he added. “Boston Properties wants to do everything possible to enhance customer convenience, safety and overall experience through mobile paid parking and safety applications.”



  • John

    Vote with your feet and wallet and shop elsewhere. RTC is not listening to you. They are just paying you lip service via a paid employee. The parking app has major privacy concerns and will use bluetooth technology to track and record your exact location all over RTC. This data can be monetized (sold) by BP to the highest bidder.

    • meh

      You mean, will be sold by BP to all bidders. When an app requires permissions to all aspects of my phone and I have no trust in the data storage, it’s a no thank you from me.

      Can not wait to see all the plebs try parking across the street at Best Buy only to be dismayed when the tow-truck rolls on through and takes them out one at a time.

      • JoeInReston

        More likely there won’t be any space. That is a horrible parking lot. That lot and Plaza Americana lot compete daily for worst parking lot in Reston.

  • Mjr. Bullschitt

    “to enhance their living, working and shopping experiences”

    “RTC is a urban environment and not a suburban shopping mall”

    • Why do you bother?

      “”to enhance their living, working and shopping experiences”

      Yeah, because paying for the privilege of spending my money is so life-enhancing….

      • Edward Calvert

        What is happening to rtc ? Fees to park ?? Is,rtc going to be ruined ? I used to enjoy good times there lol

  • At A Loss

    I don’t know who can’t find a space. I have never had a problem finding a space on the second floor of any garage at anytime of day or specifically on Friday or Saturday evenings.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Its not about the space – its about the $$$$

    • John

      The finding space would be called PR spin. There is a reason BP has a paid PR person providing spin to the local media about the introduction of paid parking.

    • Why do you bother?

      The entire argument is a straw man.

  • Ming the Merciless

    Nothing enhances your living, working and shopping experience like getting nickel-and-dimed for parking.

    • John

      BP is hoping by download the app and linking it to your credit card that you will not notice the nickel and dimed experience as it will probably be more like tens of dollars that are hidden in a much larger credit card bill of hundred of thousands of dollars. Also since the system is completely automated with cameras taking pictures to calculate time spent and charged for most people will have no way to actually validate to make sure they are not being overcharged. I could very easily see BP “accidentally” overcharging by say 15 minutes and no one noticing the difference. Would be a huge boost to the BP bottom line. Just what you need when you are a few hundred thousand short of meeting the quarters numbers.

  • 30yearsinreston

    BP thank you for interest and we will respond by putting the petition in the trash receptacle
    We thank you for your continuing custom

  • meh

    Fantastic, glad to see Boston Properties is listening to those that will be impacted the most. In a few months time when quarterly earnings statements come out and retailer workers are dismayed over a loss of hours, no one will be to blame but Boston Properties.

    As mentioned several times over in a multitude of posts, there are a significant number of places in the surrounding area where I can get my jollies. Whether it be Fairfax Commons, Tysons Corner, Lake Anne, or other locations – Reston Town Center needs me a lot more than I need it.

    • John

      BP is betting the extra say $30 a month people will pay will be buried in credit card statements that are in the hundred if not thousands of dollars. In this way it will appear almost as a rounding error. Although there are quite a few people complaining via the petition and online forums like this what do they number about 8,000 at most. That is a tiny portion of the people that go to RTC on a daily basis. Time will tell if BP made a good bet or not. If this works out well for BP I’m almost sure others like the Lerners that own Tysons Corner will not be far behind. Think of paid parking like airline baggage fees. Everyone complains but then just pays up and continues flying. This is the BP strategy.

  • Alice

    It’s not difficult to stop commuter parking; other shopping centers manage it.

    Reston isn’t urban; it’s in the suburbs, regardless of BP’s assertion
    . With so much free parking, shopping and dining everywhere else in the suburbs, why bother with Reston?

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”
    (Through the Looking Glass)

  • EliteinReston

    The “significant negative reaction” on this site and Facebook is one thing. Wait until the reaction when this starts and people realize that Boston Properties now will charge for something that historically has been free not only in Reston but most suburban town centers around the country. We expect to pay for parking in downtown Washington or close-in, transit friendly suburbs like Arlington and Bethesda. We don’t expect it in Reston. There’s going to be a huge backlash to this hastily planned policy, not only from the town center’s most loyal patrons, but from unsuspecting parkers who live outside Reston and have not heard about the fee. Instead of downloading another app, they’ll offload Reston Town Center for Tysons and Dulles or limit their Reston trips. There is a compromise: Charge the fee during weekdays only, when commuter parking is the issue. Make it free on weeknights, ensuring that the town center is a welcoming place as it has been for 25 years.

    • John

      RTC is not a suburban town center it is an “urban core” like downtown DC and should have parking fees that go along with that according to the latest BP spin.

      • Guest

        Tysons Corner is not a suburban town center it is an “urban core” like downtown DC and should have parking fees that — oh, wait.

  • Robert Mowbray

    I learned yesterday that INOVA, which operates the Blood Mobile at RTC on the fourth Wednesday of every month was not aware of BP’s plans to charge for parking at RTC. This will create problems for donors and Blood Mobile staff. The INOVA person I talked with said they will discuss this with BP.

    I’m surprised that BP did not bother to inform INOVA of this change.

    • Why do you bother?

      I’m NOT surprised that BP did not bother to inform INOVA of this change.

      Fixed that for ya

  • Why do you bother?

    That petition was a well-intentioned but naive exercise in futility. If BP cared what residents wanted, paid parking would have been off the table long ago. This is purely a business decision. It was foolish to think that a petition would have any effect. The only thing the company cares about is money, and the only thing that would change the policy would be a dramatic loss of revenue.

  • Bill

    In anticipation of the enevitable, I down loaded it aded the app. Doesn’t work and the help message is that they are not set up. Last minute will result in an Affordable Care Look-Alike. I think the retailers and tenants should pool thier pennies and tie Boston Properties in court until 2021

  • Evey Hammond

    This all kind of reminds me of BP’s behavior at the time RTC opened. One of the promises they made was that RTC would be a hub for locally owned businesses. At first there were many wonderful businesses owned by Restonians in RTC. But, as soon as RTC became a popular shopping destination, BP hiked up the rents so that the local businesses were driven out and replaced by shopping mall chain stores and restaurants. BP has never really cared about the local community, only about the bottom line.

  • Louis D.

    The BP responses are just funny. Need to solve for commuters parking in the lot? Implement a traditional ticket based parking system with the first 4 hours free and make hour 5-7 $2 each and hours 8+ $10 each. Provide each merchant unlimited parking passes for employees. Shoppers don’t stay 8 hours and commuters don’t stay 4. No tracking software, expensive kiosks or apologies needed.

  • JoeInReston

    Hopefully this move will be as successful and celebrated as the introduction of New Coke.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    More BS from BP.

  • Val in Reston

    I agree about voting with your wallet – I will not pay for parking there so will simply not go there. Maybe weekends if it’s free, but prefer Lake Anne and other venues anyway. Would never consider downloading their app.

  • What it burn

    I can’t wait to see how this plays out! Consumers rise up!

  • Rational Reston

    The only thing a change.org petition is successful for doing is adding people to change.org’s mailing list and data mining operations.

  • Noneofmybusiness

    I ve never seen a place put themselves out of business with such persistence, its almost unamerican.

  • GKid

    As a daily commuter, who takes the direct 505 Fairfax Connector Bus from RTC to the Whiele-Reston Metro Station, Boston Properties main argument is false. The 505 buses are not even half full in the morning during “rush hour.” I usually take the bus at either 727am or 737am.

    However, as I suspected, they’ve revealed their true motive: to reinforce that RTC is an urban environment. In other words, to try to keep RTC exclusive.

    Paid parking is a gate between the haves (RTC residents/ Boston Properties) and the have nots (the rest of Reston). RTC residents want their space all for themselves and Boston Properties keep their units “luxurious” and thus charge higher fees.

  • Ed Cacciapaglia

    One way BP loses on this is when the merchants have less revenue BP loses some rental income. Typically retail leases have clauses that require the merchant to pay a percentage of the gross revenues above a certain dollar threshold. Unfortunately, the merchants and restaurants will lose, too.

  • Patrick Ohara

    what do our elected officials have to say about this?Did,nt anyone set up a town hall on whether the residents cared about this?This was implemented back in March,and i heard nothing of these changes(poor communication with the residents.and as a democracy should,nt we be able to vote for changes in our community that will effect us(for example the raising of tolls on toll road)People should “push-Back” more,and stand up to big business..(The Reston South Golf course fiasco comes to mind)

    • Why do you bother?

      It isn’t up for a vote. RTC is private property. The owner can do whatever he wants to.

  • Nancy

    Parking should be free on Thursday and Friday nights, as well as all day on Sat, Sun and all Federal or Virginia holidays.

  • cosmic93

    There are still only 10 retailers offering validation. This was the case two weeks ago, when I wrote personally and was given direct assurances that more would be coming up in the next couple of weeks. Some “listening”!!!!!


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