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Friday Morning Notes

by Dave Emke — March 3, 2017 at 9:00 am 25 Comments

Morning Notes - Winter

Local Meeting on County Budget is Saturday — Residents of the Hunter Mill District will have their chance to weigh in on the proposed Fairfax County FY2018 budget from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Frying Pan Farm Park visitor center. [Reston Now]

‘Monsters’ to Be on Stage at Herndon HS — The Herndon High School Drama Boosters will present “From the Mouths of Monsters,” a Kennedy Center Production inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” March 17-19. [Herndon High School Theatre]

Wolf Trap Summer Lineup Features Big Names — Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp and Sheryl Crow are just a few of the many top acts who will perform this year at Wolf Trap. Mary J. Blige will kick off the summer season with a show May 25, followed two days later by Fifth Harmony. [Wolf Trap]

Reston Association Elections About to Begin — Ballots can be cast starting Monday in this year’s Reston Association Board of Directors election. Eleven candidates in total are vying for four seats on the nine-member board. No incumbents are running. [Reston Association]

  • Anonymous Poster

    I like how with Boston Properties’s silly letter comments are disabled. Oh how kind that you ‘reversed course’ and allowed free parking on weekends!

    Absolute silliness.

    Also, comparing year to year January makes sense, but you also have to look at the expected trend, which I really doubt is where it needs to be. Even worse, you only talk about revenues, but you’re taking more of a cut via the paid parking of the employees or validation efforts, causing a de facto increase in rent for each business. So even if revenues are flat, the profit margin necessarily decreases because of the increased cost here.

    If commuters really were the problem, there were other options like paying after some number of hours or working with the Fairfax Connector system to eliminate a direct route to Wiehle Reston’s metro stop and providing a private bus for residents to take to the metro stop. You had less costly options that don’t ostracize the community that would have made an hour or two trip there, but now simply it doesn’t make economic sense.

    For example, I used to go to the Chipotle there if I’m working from home from time to time, but it’s now a 20% increase on my bill for the honor of parking at the town center. I no longer will pick up a flower for my wife from Mayflowers simply because it’s another 20-30% increase to park on a week night. I cannot go to Paper Source and pick up a spontaneous card to write to my wife that I love her, because it’s an increase of 30% to buy the card because of parking costs.

    As any MBA can tell you, while in absolute terms it may not really look like much, people think proportionally. Boost the price of something by 50%, regardless of if that translates into 50 cents or 50 dollars, people notice and get pissed. It’s even worse in your case because it’s obvious and onerous with an extra app and rigmarole to pay, that most people simply don’t understand because it’s poorly executed and explained.

    Boston Properties, you are absolutely silly. You should be ashamed of your pitiful PR efforts, it makes Uber look like a gleaming example of good publicity practices.

  • BJ

    That idiot letter from Boston Properties is a piece of work. They are really a bunch of true boy scouts, aren’t they? Love how you can’t leave comments.

    They are “committed to paid parking”? Great. I am committed to boycotting.

  • AndyR

    No way to leave comments on Boston Properties pronouncement. I guess this is what it’s come to. Why is a publicly traded corporation allowed to destroy Reston? Please explain this to me.

    • Reston Now

      Just to clarify, we do not allow comments on any promoted post.

      • Reston Resident

        Why not?

      • This is Wrong.

        So you’re allowing rich corporations to stifle the free speech of your readers?

      • JoeInReston

        I agree that this is ill-advised. This is not Joe Grocer advertising the daily special. This is an opinion piece by a partisan on one of the hottest topics in Reston. I am not sure why Boston Properties had to pay to promote it. Would Reston Now not have posted the open letter for free had they asked?

      • Adrian Havill

        Not true, unless this is a new rule. For instance, just two days ago there were several comments on Eve Thompson’s real estate paid column. Much of the “promoted” content get comments. Did BP have to pay a premium to slide by without criticism?

        • Reston Now

          Regular columns such as Reston Real Estate, Pet of the Week, Legal Insider and In The Design Studio are not “promoted posts.”

          • Adrian Havill

            Wrong again, Reston Now. One only needs to go back to February 7th and February 8th of this year. Content by Westmoore and Bright Horizons are both described as a “Promoted Post” and both contain comments. There are many more such examples.

          • They shouldn’t have had comments so we’ve removed them, thank you for pointing that out. If comments were enabled on any other promoted post, that was the result of a training oversight.

            Reston Now is a business and we accept advertising from businesses such as Reston Town Center. We rely on the revenue generated from advertising to be able to pay our employees and keep the site running.

            We have been reporting extensively on the parking issue for many months and continue to allow comments on it on other articles — like this one.

            We will continue to report on RTC parking and would welcome the perspective of the RTC merchants on the site, either in op-ed or promoted post form.

  • Paul

    Boston Properties: We’ll make you pay to shop, take your data and sell it, endanger you, but one day per year we will give you a s’more if you come early and we don’t run out. Jeez Louise. They don’t exactly hire the best and the brightest, do they?

  • Protest 3/4/17 RTC

    Great double speech and alternative facts from BP. A real slap in the face that shows how little they care about the community affected by this act of greed.

    They say: “Passport and Boston Properties will never sell or distribute ParkRTC user information to third parties.” BUT… in the ToS it allows them to sell or distribute your info to “business partners!”

    “No retailers have closed as a result of paid parking. Not a single retailer has vacated due to paid parking.” FALSE. Cosi and some others specifically cited paid parking as their reason for closing.

    Here’s another contradiction: first they say that they did it to reduce commuter parking and prevent residents from taking customers’ spots, saying that “Since converting to paid parking, we are already seeing significant improvement, allowing for more RTC visitors to conveniently utilize the garages.” Then they say “When analyzing parking occupancy levels in our garages, we found January’s occupancy to be virtually identical to last November’s occupancy.” How can they be getting rid of commuter parkers if the occupancy rates of garages are the exact same?!

    And then they have the gall to shut down the protest the day before and cover it up with their own event. Bet there won’t be anybody from the company there today. Cowards.

  • local yokel

    I moved to Reston late last year from Falls Church, where I lived for 20+ years, and I have never been to RTC. I have no intention of paying to park in order to shop or eat in my own town — that personally offends me. And I’m certainly not going to download an app for that privilege! In downtown DC, yes, I would do that — in my own suburban town, less than 2 miles from my home, I won’t. I find BP’s statements in defense of paid parking unconvincing, and their tone condescending. I have multiple (often, better) options for eating, shopping and movies nearby that don’t want to eke an extra $5 or $10 out of me while I patronize their businesses. I’ll go there. It’s not a hard decision.

    I feel sorry for the retailers and restaurateurs who are caught in the middle, but I can’t figure out all the hand wringing and argument about this that I’ve read over the past 6 months on the part of consumers. Perhaps I don’t know what I’m missing at RTC, but a town center that wants to tax local residents for their patronage doesn’t seem like a community asset to me. It simply astounds me that BP thinks RTC offers something so unique that it’s worth charging me for the privilege of eating/watching/buying it. They say they’re committed to this business model — we’ll see how well that works for them in the long run.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      You should probably just go back to falls church

    • Greg

      Reston is not a town. Falls Church is a city. Reston is taxed and run by the county, but Falls Church has its own government and taxes.

      BP can’t tax anyone and it isn’t doing so. It’s charging for parking. Ironically, it’s not part of Reston Association.

      Since we have ever more biking options, including a bike-sharing service, perhaps that will be more to your liking in checking out or patronizing some of the merchants at Reston Town Center.

      • God help us!

        Biking to and from a restaurant after dark with my family in winter is not an option Greg.

        • Anonymous Poster

          Yeah, the W&OD near RTC is a great place to get mugged after dark.

  • Why do you bother?

    Shame on you, Reston Now.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Why ?

      • Why do you bother?

        Not allowing comments on the alternate reality “article” by Boston Props about how special it is to be charged for parking.

  • ClusTerp

    1. While it was cowardly of BP not to offer an “open letter” that could actually receive the public input they claim to value, I certainly understand why they did it – the comments would be decidedly negative and that does nothing to advance their narrative. I also don’t blame Reston Now for accepting a fee in exchange for a one-sided “sponsored” post – they’ve got to earn a living and are still very much more of a community resource than a paid shill for BP, so no-harm, no-foul on them. Just be aware that the community may need to occasionally hijack unrelated posts to let everyone know that we aren’t buying their #$%@ and we aren’t downloading their stupid app.

    2. Lake Anne. Mosaic District. Downtown Herndon. Fairfax Corner. One Loudoun. All are a short drive away, walkable, with nice shops & restaurants & people-watching and without invasive apps, inane payment/validation schemes and overpriced parking. Vote with your feet!

  • JoeInReston

    Boston Properties is replaying all their greatest hits.

    “Paid parking will help manage unwarranted commuter parking” – As will any of hundred other solutions that doesn’t require paid parking

    “Paid parking is not having the adverse impact that has been reported” – If there were no adverse impact… then why bother writing an open letter? And why bother hiring a PR firm?

    “Each retailer chooses whether and where to validate parking .. what validation terms to incorporate within their unique business model” – This is evil in several ways:
    a) Boston Properties has redefined the concept of parking validation to allow for validation tickets that won’t work on all parking garages in the same shopping center
    b) Boston Properties has foisted this horrible concept on retailers – likely by requiring retailers to pay extra for “full” garage coverage
    c) Attempting to divert customer outrage over this awful concept by pointing the finger at retailers – their supposed business partners – “Each retailer chooses whether and where to validate parking”

    “Boston Properties remains dedicated to nonprofit fundraising” – As if nonprofit fundraising can only be done with a paid parking policy

    “Enhancing the parking experience of those tenants, visitors and patrons” – That was the complete bullet point, no part clipped. Apparently this is self evident as to not require additional explanation.

    “We look forward to continuing to have productive conversations” –
    By writing an post that doesn’t acknowledge or respond to any of the
    counter arguments repeatedly made by the community.

  • 30yearsinreston

    BP must be starting to notice if they are have to pay for spin doctors ads
    The ‘open’ letter is not only demeaning to residents, it’s lack of transparency and cherry picking ‘facts’ would do some others proud
    Still not paying!

  • 30yearsinreston

    BP apparatchiks aren’t the sharpest knves in the drawer

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