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Bike Lane Looking to Leave Town Center Over Parking Situation

by Dave Emke — January 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm 45 Comments

The Bike Lane has been serving its customers in Reston Town Center for going on nine years.

Now, the owners of the store say they are actively seeking to leave because of the Town Center’s new paid-parking initiative.

In a recent Facebook post, The Bike Lane said its customers should not be forced to pay to shop there — and because that is now the case, they want to set up shop elsewhere.

“We believe in providing our customers with an amazing shopping experience and we do not agree with charging for parking. We are actively looking to relocate The Bike Lane in or around Reston and we will keep you updated about our future plans as they progress.”

Todd Mader owns the shop along with his wife, Anne. He tells Reston Now they only have a little over a year left on a 10-year lease and they have every intention of leaving early.

“This is not the experience we want our customers to have, to come in here during the week and battle with a parking app,” Mader said. “They come in here to buy a $10 inner tube and now they’re paying $12.”

The store is offering customers in-store credits and gift cards to compensate them for weekday parking. But Mader said in the long run, the hassle isn’t worth it when the store can just relocate.

We were hoping parking wouldn’t be a big deal,” he said. “But if given the opportunity to move sooner rather than later, we’d do that.”

Mader said the parking situation has never been ideal for many of his customers, who may have bicycles attached to the roof or the back of their vehicle and may therefore find parking garages difficult to navigate. Now that it costs by the hour as well, he’s had enough.

“Having a space that’s more traditional, open-air shopping… that’s more what we’re looking for,” Mader said.

Social media backlash has been heavy on Reston Town Center and its owner, Boston Properties, because of the new parking fees, with many people threatening a “boycott.” However, Mader said the result of that hurts businesses such as his more than anyone.

“That’s not hurting [the Town Center and Boston Properties], not directly anyway. That’s hurting the merchant — big and small,” he said. “There is a noticeable drop in the plaza during the week. Friday night was dead, in the restaurants and in foot traffic.”

Mader said his hope is to relocate the store within a mile of its current location, so it can continue to serve its loyal patrons.

“We’re overwhelmed by the support of our customers,” he said. “We want to make it very convenient for people to find us and continue to shop with us.”

  • Mike M

    These guys were what I thought of as being in line with what RTC wanted to become. Increasing I am asking myself, what and whom does RTC think it wants to be.

    • Greg

      The Reston that none of who live in the real Reston. No section 8 housing in RTC, is there?

    • The Constitutionalist

      They want to be a premium community where everyone shops except for those who live in the community.

      Just remember BP’s famous words! Premium experiences come at a premium.

      • Robert E. Simon

        Yup and all you poor people complaining make it even better because now that the riff raff is not going to be at RTC anymore , the people that actually live there can enjoy it more and not have to mix with the smelly common folk. Besides, the fact that all of you are crying about it makes it even better. Hey guys guess what, at the top of my apartment building is a pool.

        • Greg

          How’s the water temperature in that pool today?

          • Robert E. Simon

            Dont know it was closed, but the hot tube is always nice on a cold say

          • LC

            ewww hot tube….that sounds disguting

          • Robert E. Simon

            Yeah sorry for the typo, parking on my next time you visit RTC.

        • The Constitutionalist

          You live in an apartment. Need I say more?

          • Spell

            He lives in an apartment in the suburbs–beyond the beltway. Congrats, or something.

          • Robert E. Simon

            Lol RTC isn’t the only place I have that I can live in.

        • RTCResident

          What apartment building at the town center has a pool on the roof? Or am I misunderstanding?

          • Robert E. Simon

            Haha you really don’t know?

  • Parking in the TC has become more and more complicated and it is not surprising that some of the businesses will be hit hard. I heard that one third of the small businesses in the TC are border line in profits etc and this may be the straw that breaks a lot of camels backs.

    • Jerry Lynn

      RTC has every right to charge to park. If these businesses can’t handle this, then tough this is America baby capitalism is what we are built on. So many people complaining about this it’s laughable.

      • Wm Nix

        And I have every right to not shop at RTC. And I won’t. It’s not laughable at all.

      • The Constitutionalist

        What’s truly laughable is your advanced understanding of economics paired with your business sense.

        • Jerry Lynn

          Haha you can’t afford to park at RTC

          • The Constitutionalist

            If only you knew. 🙂

          • CBDS

            Look kids a troll.

          • Adrian Havill

            Donald Trump, is that you?

      • Why do you bother?

        Just as we have every right to eschew greedy, money-grubbing companies whose only interest is mo money at the expense of their customers – the businesses in RTC.

      • Sure Boston Properties have every right to shut the Town Center down and make it a bus stop or something. They are going down some path and only time will tell.

        • Micheal Scott

          Wow don’t be so serious guy….. it’s not going to be a bus stop

  • JCJ Bike

    So if the RTC is now charging for parking, are they using those profits to cut rent?

    • JoeInReston

      I have been curious if the increased revenues brought about by the new parking fees will be offset by the rent decreases. When I say rent decreases, I mean the opportunity cost difference between what the rent would be without parking fee minus the what the rent would be with parking fees. I can’t help wonder if this whole thing will be unprofitable for Boston Properties. One can only hope.

  • Tom H

    Kills me to see the few family owned shops having to move out of the TC because of the property management decisions by Boston Properties…

  • cRAzy

    Just wonder how many hours of parking it takes to equal a month’s retail rent.

    • John Higgins

      Interesting question. Siri tells me there are 7,000 spaces in the garages. In theory, up to $14,000 per hour of revenue. $168,000 per 12-hour business day. Assume only 20% average occupancy, $33,600 per day. Don’t have info on $/sq.ft. retail space, if someone else does, we can complete the math.

      • vdiv

        The arithmetic is a bit more complex. That parking system was not cheap to install and maintain.

        • John Higgins

          Indeed, vdiv. I read the question was a scope-type enquiry: gross revenue compared with gross retail rent. Frankly, I don’t know how the answer could be used to make any intelligent statement. Perhaps it was rhetorical and should have been left alone.

  • Scrooge Full Effect

    I will follow this bike shop to wherever they go, love their crew – jobs well done.

  • Steven Conn

    It would be great to have a bike shop on Lake Anne Plaza.

    • LC

      that’s actually a great location…nice space to test ride and easy access to paths.

    • Jefferson

      The old pharmacy location would be a perfect spot

    • Lake Anne Resident

      Always welcome at Lake Anne Plaza!

  • CBDS

    Cancelled my rtc crunch gym membership today.

    • Jim J. Jiblets

      Ok I will let them know

      • CBDS

        Why would you let them know? At least try to make sense.

      • CBDS

        All good. You can stay in your basement.

  • Hank from Reston

    Schwab is leaving too. Just received a communication from them. We’ll be left with many empty stores and plain vanilla chain stores.

    • vdiv

      Yikes! A small family owned shop leaving is one thing, a giant money grabbing investment firm leaving is quite another. And the Boston Properties people are still not getting it?

  • Randall Stevens

    Is this Facebook news? Be honest Todd, it sounds like you were leaving Town Center anyway, even if there was still free parking. Makes sense, you can probably get cheaper rent and “more traditional” space better suited for a bike shop nearby. Sounds like good business to me. But you’re leaving to save me $2 when you charge $100 for a bike helmet? Hmmm. Everyone’s out to make a buck. I’m paying $6 for popcorn at the movies, $8 for a drink afterwards, and don’t even get me started on how much it cost for the “protective case” on the phone I’m using right now. A business complaining about another business overcharging is somewhat humorous. If, however, you’re the one business that’s not trying to take my money, I stand corrected. Either way, best of luck ! You do have a great store and I hope you stay in the Reston area.

    • RTCResident

      They do a lot of free bike rides during the week. Also, local bike clubs and triathlon groups hold meetings there. All these people would have to pay for parking just to attend their monthly meeting or group ride. Its disappointing.

  • Wes

    Could it be that putting a price on parking is actually GOOD for bicycle retail? Think about it, if people have to pay to park their automobiles, will some people decide to bike instead? Moreover, “free” parking isn’t actually free… Check out these articles: http://www.vox.com/2014/6/27/5849280/why-free-parking-is-bad-for-everyone and http://www.citylab.com/work/2012/11/4-reasons-retailers-dont-need-free-parking-thrive/3978/ or

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