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Reston Association Leaders to Initiate Talks with Boston Properties About Town Center Parking

by Dave Emke July 28, 2017 at 10:15 am 30 Comments

After hearing concerns from the community, including more than 9,000 signatures on a petition about the issue, leaders of Reston Association will attempt to engage Boston Properties in conversation about paid parking at Reston Town Center.

RA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously at their Thursday meeting (video) to authorize CEO Cate Fulkerson, Board President Sherri Hebert and Board Vice President David Bobzien to pursue the talks. Hebert and Bobzien said it is important for RA members to know the Board is actively working toward a solution.

“This is the first step, [and] we think it’s an important step,” said Bobzien, who participated in the meeting by phone. “I think it’s very important that we engage with [Boston Properties].”

Suzanne Zurn, the organizer of the petition and the founder of the Keep Parking Free at RTC movement, addressed the Board during the meeting and encouraged them to take action.

“Your neighbors, your constituents, responded in large numbers to the petition opposing paid parking at RTC,” she said. “I encourage you to read their comments and consider how RA could add weight to their voices in this important community issue.”

Paid parking went into effect Jan. 3 at Reston Town Center, requiring $2-per-hour payment in garages all day Monday through Friday, and $3-per-hour payment for street parking Monday through Saturday. On June 5, parking became free in garages between 5 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., and one hour of free parking is also offered during the day.

Many merchants at RTC validate garage parking for customers, but which of the five garages is validated varies by business. Parking at the Town Center while paid parking is in effect requires the use of the ParkRTC app, though the Town Center announced earlier this week that parking sessions can be started without the app using newly updated kiosks. Parking in the Orange Garage at the Town Center is free for Jackson’s customers, without use of the app or any other method, thanks to an injunction in a lawsuit the business has against Boston Properties.

Zurn said all of the information one must know before visiting the Town Center and parking has only complicated matters and continues to keep potential customers away.

“I don’t know of any paid parking situations in our region that are this complicated,” she said to the Board. “Do you?”

Reston Town Center is not in the jurisdiction of Reston Association. However, Director Victoria White (Hunters Woods/Dogwood District) asked if the parking situation has resulted in disruption to surrounding streets. Zurn said it has, as workers constructing The Signature building at RTC have been seen parking on New Dominion Parkway, Temporary Road and North Shore Drive.

Paul Steidler, who also addressed the Board about the issue, said the Reston Town Center paid parking outrage is hurting the character and direction of the community.

“Are we going to become an area that’s an elitist, gated community with all the decadence that brings?” Steidler said. “Or are we going to go back to our core values of being inclusive of all, of having a place we can all come and go more freely and enjoy what Reston has to offer?”

Hebert said she is hopeful she and the other RA leaders can have productive conversations with Boston Properties and help them understand the community’s plight.

“We feel like we owe that to the folks that live in the Reston Association, to speak on your behalf to them,” she said.

  • Drip

    What’s the over/under that Fulkerson somehow finds a way to make things worse for anyone? I mean, really, she of the Tetra fiasco is going to lecture Boston Properties about, well, anything? Come on… If RA just had to do something on this issue (it doesn’t), it should do a full-court press on Cathy Hudgins to hold RTC parking over Boston Properties’ head with regard to future development in the county.

    • Scott

      Development = tax dollars to control.
      Hudgins loves development at the expense of her constituents.

      • Mike M

        Makes sense, but I have to believe there is more in it for her than that.

        • Scott

          Kickbacks? Feel free to theorize.

  • Dan Marvin

    This has been a major concern of residents since last fall. Why is she only now talking to Boston Properties?

    • cRAzy

      Fulkerson doesn’t go out and just talk to anyone on her own, she requires Board direction. This pro-community Board was just elected this Spring. There you have it.

      • Why do you bother?

        If you think that RA will have any effect on BP, I have some swampland in Nevada you might be interested in purchasing…

      • Greg

        Did Cate Fulkerson have that for Tetra and all its renovations?

  • 40yearsinreston

    maybe she is going to sell the lake white elephant to BP
    they could then turn it into a paid parking garage for Lake Anne

  • Scott

    RA really has no standing to do anything. RA is an HOA. Nothing more, nothing less. As for construction people parking on streets, these are the responsibility of the state and county and again, RA has no standing unless they are parking on RA members property such as a cluster parking lot, and then, they should be towed. BP doesn’t give a sh*t about RA, freezing cold protestors, or Suzanne Zurn. They care about profitability of their business. The only way to win this is to avoid RTC at all times until paid parking is abandoned. THAT.IS.ALL

    • Why do you bother?

      ^^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^

  • Southreston

    SOOO, this is a waste of time for a few reasons;
    1) Its not an HOA area
    2) More important things are out there (over development, transportation issues, Communication with BoS)
    3) Its not an HOA area (yeah said it twice)

  • Guest

    “Are we going to become an ELITIST GATED community with ALL THE DECADENCE that brings?”
    Hey, gimme some that “elitist decadence” any day, Paul Steidler! Jeez you sound like one of Chairman Mao’s Red Guard foot soldiers. Why don’t you just accuse RTC of being “capitalist running dog imperialists” while you are at it? Silly overblown left-wing baloney like this does NOT advance your cause.

  • Again but then

    We would not have this issue with RA properly representing us if we had opted for township.

    Instead we rely on federal agencies looking out for our best interests. Had we been a township we could have partnered with BXP in sharing their paid parking revenue stream. And also we could have engaged our own police to investigate the Lake house.

    And lastly, as a township we would be proud in sponsoring an unionized workforce! And that said, all p_iss breaks would be properly authorized and carefully carried out.

    Problem solved.

    • Why do you bother?

      And if pigs could fly, my Aunt Helen would be a trolley.

      Your point solves nothing. Try dealing with what IS, not what should have been.

      • Again but then

        Ok so maybe i got a few things wrong but I think we should have our own police force. There are suspicious airbnb and also for crowd control at Lake Anne, ad you know the place is very popular

        • Why do you bother?

          I don’t disagree – but none of that is relevant to THIS discussion.

          • Again but then

            Yes because there should only be one airbnb and that is the Lake house and paid parking to be resolved to the satisfaction of all constituents with refunds going to RCA

            So the big plan is coming to fruitition now if we could only havr a union workforce for the projects of significance.

            Have a nice weekend

          • Why do you bother?

            Enjoy your planet…

          • Scott

            The Democrat voting base ladies and gentlemen!

    • Scott

      None of that is accurate.

      • Again but then

        Lets not shoot ourselves in the foot here. Township would most accurately solve all ig not most of our problems.

    • Greg

      Exactly what we need: a unionized workforce… #smfh

  • dudewe

    The RA board should not spend their time on BP. What have they done about the Tetra acquisition? This should be their highest priority! And, please, don’t play footsie with Fulkerson. Fire her! (Yep, that is why we elected new members – listen to your members who pay for Fulkerson’s misdeeds).

  • Why do you bother?

    This is a colossal waste of Fulkerson’s time. RA has no standing in this matter. RTC is on private property that is not governed by RA.

    No one wants the great money grab to disappear more than I do, but BP isn’t going to acquiesce to a body that has no jurisdiction over it.

    This is just another example of bad judgement on RA’s part.

  • Greendayer

    Not RA’s issue. And too late anyway. The Town Center has become a ghost town. This is what happens when a company makes stupid mistakes.

  • Rational Reston

    I cannot think of an outcome of BP and RA talks result in something favorable for individual residents of Reston.

    • Why do you bother?

      “I cannot think of an outcome of BP and RA talks result in something”

      Fixed that for ya

      • Dale

        I can, but I look at things from a realist standpoint. That said, I cannot think of a positive outcome with the current board and Boston Properties talking. Boston Properties wants revenue! The board spends and or has given revenue freely.

        • Greg

          You may be right. After all, how effective has the RA board been in influencing Reston’s redevelopment, street lighting, metro access? I am sure there are many more….

          And, let’s not forget the DRB — which approved whatever the bizarre, uneven Lincoln Log apparatus is plastered aside the very visible concrete parking structure planted next to Popeyes.

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