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RTC Parking: A Primer on What Happens Starting Sept. 12

by Karen Goff September 1, 2016 at 11:30 am 18 Comments

Parking garage at Reston Town CenterIt’s Sept. 1. That means free parking at Reston Town Center will soon be a thing of the past.

In case you have been out of town this summer, Reston Now will fill you in the details.

Boston Properties says it needs to discourage commuter parking in Reston Town Center’s seven parking garage. It will begin charging $2 an hour on weekdays (and nights) starting Monday, Sept. 12.

Saturdays, Sundays and special events will remain free.

Parking will be a with a gateless and ticketless system. Visitors must download the ParkRTC app to automatically pay by credit card. If a visitor does not want the app, he or she can pay at a credit card kiosk located in four of the garages.

Here are more details on everything you need to know:

How the app works

Why Boston Properties calls this an enhancement

How validation works

What will happen if I don’t pay

What may happen in the longterm

Citizens are still working on a petition in protest of the move

  • cRAzy

    Here’s my primer on RTC parking: Don’t go there except on weekends and then only if you have to. There’s nothing there you can’t get somewhere else nearly as easily.

    And, BTW, don’t park in nearby free parking and go to RTC during workdays and screw up other businesses that are providing FREE parking. That’s selfish and injures those who are not responsible for BP’s stupidity.

    • Group Organizer

      As someone with dinner booking responsibilities at their job I don’t want to fool with the idea of sending a party of staff or our of town visitors to RTC. Paid parking is an embarrassment and I will send our people to Loudoun One instead. We were also told the list of validation places would grow. Not a single retailer has signed on! Wonder why that is! People in my office joked that this will create the ability to find parking but even that is laughable since the garages with CC machines will be the most popular!

  • zaphod

    I made a disqus account just to go on record, I’m not going to the Reston Town Center on weekdays for sure now, or weekends most likely. I hope you fools at Boston Properties are reading these comments and respect them. You’re not the only game in town so get over yourselves, I will go elsewhere. You could have saved yourself the headache and put in a simple meter system and given people the first 3 hours free, I could accept that. But I WILL NOT get your app and on principal will not go to your center.

    I’ve been going to the RTC since opening and spent loads of money with friends and family. Boston Properties should cater to people who have spent loads of money over the years at the RTC, but guess what, I’ll spend it elsewhere. I feel bad for the businesses at the RTC who don’t support this idiocy, I apologize to them that I will not be going to eat or shop there anymore.

    • Generic User

      They may be trolling these comment boards, but I doubt they care. The only thing that will change their mind is when Sept, Oct, etc. roll around and the shops report to them that their business is down 30%+ and smaller shops start failing. Only when that revenue stream starts being affected will they reconsider.

  • EliteinReston

    Consider how two Reston property owners adjacent to Metro stations have dealt with the legitimate concern of commuter parking. The first is the high-rise office and medical building at 11440 Commerce Park Drive adjacent to the Wiehle Avenue Metro station. It is owned by Cesc Commerce Executive Park. When the Metro station opened, Cesc installed gates where parkers grab a ticket allowing them access to the building garage. If you are going to the office building, you simply get the ticket validated by a tenant and exit the garage without a fee. If you want to park there for Metro, you pay $25 a day. As a result, there’s no problem with commuter parking. Cesc’s focus was on commuter parking, not in creating a new revenue source.
    Now consider how Boston Properties decided to tackle commuter parking at Reston Town Center–years before the town center station actually opened. Boston chose to charge a $2-an-hour parking fee on weekdays. Instead of limiting the parking fee to the hours when commuters are most likely to park, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Boston will charge town center patrons at all hours on weekdays, creating a new revenue source for the company that penalizes Reston residents who want to eat, shop, stroll or see movies on weeknights. The goal of weeknight parking fees is not to limit commuter parking. It is to generate revenue for Boston Properties. Here are a few practical effects: Clyde’s is advertising a $16.95 Maine lobster special during September. A year from now, that’s a $18.95 lobster special once you tack on the parking fee. Tack on $4 to a two-hour Bowtie movie theater admission on weeknights as well. Up to now, Boston has declined to drop the fee on weeknights. If deterring commuter parking really was the goal here, why wouldn’t Boston do what Cesc did with the parking gates at its Commerce Park building? Otherwise it looks like Boston is going after revenue while needlessly antagonizing the community.

    • Generic User

      That Maine lobster is really $20.95. When is that last time you ate dinner at Clyde’s (or any of the sit down restaurants in RTC) and parked, got to the restaurant, seated, ordered, ate, paid, and got back to your car in an hour (unless you were rushing)? Meals always take over an hour, so the parking will be $4. Nice comparison, BP is greedy.

      • EliteinReston

        Good point, thanks. As much as BP contributes to our community, I don’t understand why you would enact a policy in which people will sit down at Clyde’s or someplace else and resent you and criticize you. All they had to do was work out a compromise with the community in the first place.

  • BJW

    Until recently, I went to the Town Center twice a week to eat. No more. Even on weekends, I will not let their ridiculous system follow my comings and goings.

    • JoeInReston

      Curious if the ‘paid parking on weekdays, free parking on weekends’ policy will have the effect of overcrowding the restaurants on weekends, as if they weren’t crowded enough.

  • BooBots

    I patronized RTC a lot over years, but note the past tense in this sentence.

  • vdiv

    This will be good for Lake Anne and the other village centers. It’s time to rediscover what they have to offer and they have quite a bit.

    • cRAzy

      Maybe the Tall Oaks decision to convert to residential should be revisited.

  • Generic User

    I would be curious to know how many of the Reston Association board members will actually pay for RTC parking. I wouldn’t be surprised that they have been given a pass card by BP to the garages. I have no knowledge or proof that that has happened, but I am curious.

    • EliteinReston

      This is not really a matter for the RA board. The county government oversees redevelopment and proffer issues at the town center. This would have been a great opportunity for our supervisor and planning board member to stand behind the community and work with the folks at Boston Properties on a compromise. Otherwise, it gives an opportunity for a future challenger to accuse the incumbent of standing on the sidelines while the fee was implemented. BP has got away with saying that the parking fee was in the original proffer. In fact, it was one of several proposed transportation demand management options aimed at mitigating traffic congestion. The documents are vague about the fee.

      • Wheatie

        You forget that our representative is Cathy Hudgins, who never met a developer she didn’t like.

  • No name


  • No name

    They have it all planned out. People are upset about the $2 for the garage and $3 for the street. A month (or few from now) they may see a decline in people coming. They won’t get rid of the paid parking, instead they may make the ALL the parking (garage and street) for $1. That will make people think “Oh $1 isn’t bad” or “Hey, that’s a great deal!”, etc.

    If they were to charge $1 from the start, people would be irritated. So they hit you with a high charge (causing the same anger), then propose a lower charge to make you fell 1) they “listen” the the community” and 2) you subconsciously don’t feel ripped off.

    Basically charge high, then bring the cost down to make you feel like you’re getting a deal. Jewelry stores and Khol’s (in general) do the same thing. 50% off for something that’s $300 full price. The next place, no sale and the same thing is $150.

    Subconscious manipulation. Just a thought.

  • Mike

    One thing that’s not clearly written anywhere on the RTC website – many employees at RTC whose employer is paying for the parking should NOT install/use the ParkRTC app. Instead, the company will manage a monthly account attached to the employee license plates.


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