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Online Call for Protest of Town Center Paid Parking Draws Interest

by Dave Emke — February 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm 22 Comments

Sign inside Reston Town Center Green Garage

More than 150 people say they will attend a protest of Reston Town Center’s paid parking, and that number is growing.

The scores of potential demonstrators have signaled their intention on a Facebook page titled Park Free RTC (Protest). The group’s organizers are planning the event for Saturday, March 4.

As of noon Monday, 155 people had indicated they would be attending. That number has nearly doubled since Friday. Nearly 400 more had marked that they are “interested” in the event.

Guarang Shah, a Town Center resident, is one of the organizers. He said he expects about 300 people to participate in the “peaceful protest.”

According to the event details listed on the page, which went live last week:

“It’s been almost a month since RTC and Boston Properties has started Paid Parking and nobody is happy about that. Also it is most expensive parking in Northern Virginia compare to any other malls and shopping centers. Now, Reston Town Center looks empty all restaurants, bars and local businesses are down. Reston town center parking been free for years and it should be forever.” [sic]

Dozens of comments from followers of the page detail their frustrations with and anger about the paid parking system, which went into effect Jan. 3.

Reston Town Center merchants have announced they are considering a lawsuit against property owner Boston Properties because of the paid parking, which they say has caused them a large chunk of their sales. Shah said merchants he’s spoken with have shared those concerns.

Shah said he organizes regular social meetups in the Town Center. He said turnout for an annual January charity event he hosts at Vapiano was down by half from last year — and many who came left early.

“Every weekend we have something, and we [would] bring a lot of crowds around the Town Center,” he said. “Right now, nobody wants to go to Town Center. I have events in Herndon and Tysons and Ashburn — we try to stay away from the Town Center.”

Shah said his group of concerned citizens has been holding meetings and plans to fight until paid parking is rescinded.

“We just want to get rid of this [paid] parking,” he said. “It’s been free for 25 years, and this is causing a lot of trouble.”

  • EliteinReston

    Throughout this parking fee saga, it is striking how Reston’s elected officials– Cathy Hudgins, Ken Plum and Janet Howell– have stayed silent on what has now become a huge community issue. I realize that Boston Properties is legally allowed to charge parking fees, and that there may be little the elected officials can do about it. What I don’t get is why they have not even tried on our behalf. The three of them are experienced in politics and compromise, and they are connected to the community’s business leaders. Why can’t they say to Boston Properties, “We can live with your right to charge parking. Can you live with dropping the fee on weeknights?”

    • Why do you bother?

      RA has no dominion over RTC. Why should they waste their effort? They have other big problems to further screw up.

      • Richard

        Nobody mentioned RA. Please learn your elected officials. I would say that Ken Plum has politely suggested that something change, but I agree these elected officials should be more vocal.

        • Why do you bother?

          OK.

          How do you know they haven’t?

    • Arielle in NoVA

      I agree with the first part, but not that last bit.

      I suggest they say: “We are not at all happy about you charging parking, as Reston is supposed to be open and accessible to all residents, regardless of income. While there may be nothing we can do about it legally, we are making it public and clear that we do not appreciate your efforts to divide our community. To show good faith towards the residents of Reston and the vicinity, and to show that you mean what you said about instituting the paid parking to avoid having commuters park in your lots, we have some changes you need to make. You should at least make the first 3[4,5,6] hours of parking free, with validation at any store good in any garage, and with Friday 4pm through Monday 6am free. You need to simplify the system such that it’s a simple access/egress procedure, without being invasive of privacy or requiring cell phones that some of our residents and visiting guests do not have. You need consistency for times and days.”

    • RestonRed

      You make a good point. Those three have stayed silent over a huge local issue that directly impacts all of us. But they have time to write columns or newsletters (Ken Plum mostly) about far off issues not impacting us right now.

      Someone file to run against each of them on the issue of paid parking and they will quickly get into action. Republican, Democrat, Green, Independent, whoever! I will vote for anyone who brings common sense to Boston Properties (free 3 hrs) and wants to reform Reston Association. Let’s do this!

      • 30yearsinreston

        Plum waffles about billshe sponsor s that are dead on arrival
        He just showboat s

    • 30yearsinreston

      They are shills for developers
      Time to drain the swamp
      They know who butters their bread

    • AllTalkNoAction

      155 people have signed up, not really indicative of a HUGE issue.

  • Why do you bother?

    Protest all you like, but BP doesn’t give a spit. The only thing that will affect this moneygrab is money…or lack thereof. If we don’t go to RTC, BP doesn’t get its parking extortion. If shops’ revenue drops, they’ll leave RTC. That’s the only “protest’ that will have an effect.

    • LeftPolitico

      A number of shops have already closed and the remaining ones (other than the Hyatt) are deciding on how they can get BP to rescind.

  • prmisencik sr

    The most effective protest is to stop going to the RTC.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Not paying – not going

    • Precisely! You’re giving them too much air time with all this noise!

      • Ken Perkal

        Power to the people! Good noise.

  • cosmo

    Whoever organized this loses a lot of credibility in my book with their poor grammar and spelling. It’s just not very professional and won’t win you a lot of respect. At least proofread your published materials or get someone else to.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Who appointed you to the grammar police

    • Ken Perkal

      Cosmo: F*ck you. (How’s that spelling) tapping on electronic keyboards on small phones w spell check happens and get over the grammar. The point of view is what counts. This isn’t a op-ed in the NYTimes. Lol.

  • Greendayer

    A protest march makes the marchers feel good about themselves, but really doesn’t accomplish anything. Just stay away from the Town Center, publicize the problems, and do not download the app.

    • Ken Perkal

      If people want to protest it’s their god given right to do so. You don’t agre? Sit home and watch your tv.

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