Paid Parking Under Consideration for Reston, Tysons

by Catherine Douglas Moran December 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm 52 Comments

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is gearing up to study parking management options, which could add paid parking in Reston and Tysons.

FCDOT hopes to hire a professional parking consultant to explore parking management, which FCDOT says would fulfill the vision of the Comprehensive Plan for each area.

It would also reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions from drivers circling blocks to find free street parking and create a new revenue stream, FCDOT argues.

Henri Stein McCartney, a transportation planner for FCDOT, updated the county’s Transportation Committee yesterday (Dec. 11) on the proposal and gave examples of managed parking: pay for parking and time restricted parking.

The paid parking model can support different technologies — space occupancy sensors, space finding systems, smartphone apps, kiosks, etc. — that can help people find a spot, while also assisting enforcement, she said.

The other option is time restricted parking, which can limit parking during certain times of the days or set a certain allotted time for each car. While FCDOT expects the second option would pose more enforcement challenges, license plate readers, street cameras and space occupancy sensors can assist with policing the parking.

The consultant could measure existing on-street and off-street parking supply and demand in Reston and Tysons and then model future parking supply and demand. The consultant could also recommend appropriate strategies to the board and also put forward implementation and outreach plans.

McCartney highlighted one potential challenge: designing a parking plan that does not push cars into nearby neighborhoods with free parking. “That’s a scenario we want to avoid,” she said.

With the project in its “preliminary stages,” McCartney said the study — which FCDOT estimates will cost $100,000 — will help figure out what the projected revenue could be from paid parking and citations from parking tickets.

“I’m sure there will be interest in what kind of money it makes,” Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth said at the meeting. “We need to keep that in mind.”

Some of the supervisors raised concerns about the proposal.

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook cautioned against spending the money on the study without a “functional purpose we are clearly stating.”

“We need to be clear about why we want to do this,” he said, noting that urban areas may need parking management. “I don’t think you get the consultant to come up with the reason.”

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity stressed that parking availability and fees drive behavior, mentioning the “angst,” loss in revenue for businesses and the complexity surrounding Reston Town Center’s paid parking system.

“It does have an impact on businesses,” Herrity said, adding that he supports hiring a consultant to conduct the study. “You have some good ideas in here.”

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins responded by saying that the “problem in Reston” stemmed from unclear goals. “I think the mistakes that were made in the past can be a helpful learning process,” she said.

She stressed that the purpose of the “needed proposal” should not focus on collecting money, but instead on helping transportation in an urban setting, especially Tysons.

FCDOT plans to update and consult with the board as the process continues.

While the plan does not have a timeline yet, McCartney said FCDOT “would move fairly quickly” to hire a consultant for the study acquires funding.

After board approval, FCDOT would work with stakeholders — the Office of County Attorney, Fairfax County Police Department, the Office of Community Revitalization, the Department of Planning and Zoning, Land Development Services and others. Together, they would update ordinances, set meter rates, select vendors and begin outreach efforts to businesses and the community.

“The last thing you want is employees and Metro riders parking on the street during the day, but short term-term customers don’t have a place to park,” the board’s Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “I think we’re doing the right thing starting out with a study.”

  • watchthewingnuts

    I love how the RTC fiasco is mentioned multiple times, but totally ignored… to this day I haven’t set foot back in RTC since they implemented paid parking, and I will happily continue shifting my business towards One Loudoun and other venues not hellbent on scraping as much money out of people as they can. To say the goal isn’t revenue is LAUGHABLE from anyone that is part of the FFX County Govt.

  • Liz Anderson

    Because this worked out so well for RTC?

    There are probably around 10 empty spaces in RTC BEFORE Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn close in January. Stores and restaurants are closing faster than can be opened…. Now they want to kill all of Reston?

    • Annie P

      Are those stores really closing?

      • restonista


    • tattler

      Yet their quarterly meetings/reports say they’re at near 100% capacity. Either you’re lying or Boston Properties is lying. With all the shuttered store fronts with covered windows in the RTC I’m assuming the latter.

      • Greg

        Merchants don’t magically move out one day and a new one is in and operating the next. There is time involved in demolition, build out, mechanical systems, renovating, setting up the new location, inspections, staffing, training, and the like. That’s all accounted for in the reports.

        The only RTC building with available retail space today is in the new Signature tower: 1 space at 4600 square feet. The former M&S Grill location appears to be leased or in negotiations. All of the office space is leased.

        There’s retail space available at Lake Anne, Hunters Woods, Soapstone, Plaza America, and Reston Metro Plaza. There’s also some space left at the new Tall Oaks. Nothing in North Point or South Lakes or Fox Mill (which is not part of the Reston submarket).

        14 total retail totaling less than 40,000 (32,000 if the M&S Grill is deducted) square feet for rent in all of Reston. That’s a successful market.

        • tattler

          Yes, thanks for mansplaining that to me, Greg. I understand they don’t move out one day and a new tenant move in the next. However, if they are doing the sort of remodeling/construction you’re talking about then they need to have the county paperwork/license posted in the window so it can be seen from outside the business. This is not the case for most of these shuttered businesses.

          • Greg


            Who said that any of them are in the construction stage?

            The market is tight.

            Your sexist comment is childish.

        • Peanut

          Where are you getting that information? I suspect it’s not correct – there are a few additional spaces that I have heard no leasing information on (former Il Fornaio and BB&T, even though they are not BPX, and there are leasing signs next to Allen Edmunds, Talbots, and Potbelly). With Pottery Barn and Williams & Sonoma leaving, it’s starting to look a bit worse retail-wise.

          I think when they say at near 100% capacity, they are referring to their office space, in which many of their tenants are expanding and/or extending their leases. I hope they wisen up and take better care of their retail market.

          • Greg

            The information is correct. Contact any commercial broker for details.

          • Peanut

            I work with a commercial broker. I think you are making stuff up.

          • Greg

            Then stop posting your thoughts and suspicions and go verify the facts.

          • Peanut

            Sorry, I should have clarified: you’re wrong.

          • Greg

            Believe what you will; I will stick to facts.

  • Amy Sue

    Wait. I thought development was supposed to reduce our tax burden not increase it. The services in Reston are abysmal for the amount of taxes we pay. Instead of gouging us again with paid parking, how about reducing the amount of free housing the country provides or cutting spending in other areas?

    • cRAzy

      Silly girl! Our taxes will have to go up to even begin to provide the infrastructure needed to support the thousands of new residents.

    • Greg

      And dumping the small tax district and waste at the community centers. Not one, but two, including one that supports Lake Anne on the taxpayers’ backs.

  • cRAzy

    Given the streets in RTC are privately owned (and metered), it’s not clear at all how this might apply to other “grid of streets” that are privately owned–mostly in Reston’s TSAs. May be different in Tysons, but I don’t know and I don’t care.

    And always the “new revenue stream.” They don’t care about congestion, just $$$$.

  • Sam

    Where are there parking issues in Reston or Tysons? I live in Reston, work in Tysons. I never have trouble finding parking anywhere I go. These are still suburban areas, with designated parking lots aplenty. If your concern is Metro riders parking outside Metro lots, then perhaps you should’ve accommodated enough parking in Wiehle garage and/or installed a temporary one in Tysons (Spring Hill & Greensboro are kiss & ride only). There are no streets in Tysons that can accommodate street parking at this time. The “Grid of Streets” does not exist yet.

    Move this to the bottom of the priority list.

  • whew

    So glad I moved out of Reston when I did.

  • Nay & Nay

    If the system is correctly implemented one should get a ticket within 10 seconds of the meter expiring (eg Vancouver, BC). The question in my mind:

    Do you really want this kind of a government? Is this kind of government representative of who we are?

  • J

    Of course the goal of paid parking is to make profit, but I think when they mention RTC’s “unclear goal” they mean an unclear goal of their identity. They implemented the paid parking & built high end apartments stating they wanted to attract young professionals; their captive audience. However, almost all of the dining, retail and events are still geared towards families. Younger professionals aren’t going to pay for parking to shop at Chico’s & fine at Uncle Julio’s while dodging the kids riding the holiday choo choo train. RTC needs to decide what type of venue it wants to be. I wouldn’t mind paying if they had something desirable to offer. All the good shops are closing because their clientele is going to Tysons, Arlington & DC.

    • restonista

      all the shops and restaurants are leaving because people refuse to pay for parking and changed our habits. i am one of them!

      • Mike M

        The fascinating thing to me is not only the paid parking, but look at the madness in how they implemented it. The person who approved that should donate their brain to science.

        • cosmo

          Good point. I don’t necessarily disagree with paid parking at RTC but they could have implemented a much better system. They should have made the first two hours as well as evening parking free from the start. By the time they realized their mistake and went back to change things the damage was done. They should have also implemented an easier system that doesn’t require memorizing a license plate number or downloading an app specific to the one location. I personally think they should have used Parkmobile since a lot of people already use that app for parking in DC and other places. I hope whoever implemented this system got fired.

          • Peanut

            This is the most rational post on paid parking I’ve ever seen on this forum. The truth is, paid parking may not be necessary now, but certainly it will be when the metro is up and running (well, whenever that is), so I don’t necessarily disagree with getting a system in place earlier. However, they implemented it in a terrible way, with a confusing system and prices that are too high (I don’t agree that 24hr parking should be more than parking at the metro station or Dulles. It should be no more than $10 for a day.) Grace hours and evening hours free was the way to go from the start.

            Having an app/mobile site for parking is great – it allows for the convenience of paying parking ahead of time or if you are away from your car (a mobile site is preferred because who wants to download an app for parking in one area). But FORCING you to use it is not the way to go.

            I don’t understand what areas this article is referring to that would make sense to have paid parking.

  • Reston Resident

    Are these supervisors as stupid as they sound? They appear to have the IQ of a canned ham.

    • Mike M

      In the words of St Augustine about people who do evil, “They have their reasons.”

    • John B

      They’re not stupid at all. They know we’ll complain and vote for them anyway and the developers will write checks.

      Until somebody runs against Hudgins, nothing changes.

  • BJW

    To Pat Herrity and Cathy Hudgins: Time to stop this before you are tossed out on your collective cans.

    Please listen carefully: WE DO NOT WANT THIS AND WE WILL NOT PUT UP WITH IT.

    • RestonLost

      According to Wikipedia, Hudgins assumed office almost 19 years ago and Pat became supervisor 10 years ago.

      We absolutely will, and continue to, ‘PUT UP WITH IT’

      • Mike M

        And here we are, wondering wha’ happen’?

      • John B

        Sad, but true.

    • Conservative Senior

      Hard to believe Pat Herrity is in favor of this. Would he like this grid parking in Springfield? I think not!

  • Chkitout1

    Vote Democrat you get taxes, tolls, and fees.

    • Conservative Senior

      So true. Vote Republican–What have you got to lose?

      • no just no

        That’s the mentality that brought us Trump.

        • Conservative Senior

          Thankfully! The economy is booming, employment is up, unemployment is down. So much better than the previous administration!

  • Conservative Senior

    Why only Reston & Tysons for street parking fees? Why are we burdened with extra costs (Small tax district, transportation tax district, etc.) when the rest of the county is not. Yes, I know McLean has a small tax district (rate is 1/2 that of Reston) & there is another in South County, also less than Reston. Hudgins is lost in la la land & is not representing us. Stop voting for dems who have sent our taxes soaring.

    • John B

      If you vote for Hudgins, you deserve it. She’s hell bent on turning Reston into an urban city.

      Yes, the promise is increasing density will reduce our tax burden just like increasing taxes for metro will make it better. All lies, just a money grab.

  • Why do you bother?


  • Scott

    The article could have started and stopped with this paragraph

    “With the project in its “preliminary stages,” McCartney said the study — which FCDOT estimates will cost $100,000 — will help figure out what the projected revenue could be from paid parking and citations from parking tickets.”

    No meals tax? No problem. The sharks on the BoS will find a way to get their pounds of flesh from the unwashed masses.

  • Emory Miles

    Why not just build parking structures and provide free parking at the metro stations?

    • Del Mueller

      Because they didn’t want to pay for them. You are suppose to walk to the metro station or take a bus. What are they doing with all of that Dulles Toll money??

      They propose a $100,000 study on paid parking but have unclear goals? The goal is to raise revenue and to restrict parking. We have poor leadership in the County. Don’t see any paid parking out by the Government Center. But the residents of Reston who pays tolls will face paid parking in the near future. Reston is getting the short end of the stick. And we have no Rec center.

      • John B

        Not just the toll money. They raised the sales tax 20% (from 5% to 6%) to pay for trans infrastructure. And the special tax districts. And the property taxes.

        Reston has a clear goal… Simon’s.

        We don’t want to be West Arlington.

        • Conservative Senior

          Don’t forget the large “Grantors Tax” (paid by the seller at settlement) which was almost doubled. The funds supposedly going to transportation improvements. Haven’t seen any improvements.

  • “The problem in Reston stemmed from unclear goals.”

    What? If someone really thinks this then they have no business making decisions for us.

    The problems stemmed from it being a cash grab. we don’t need license plate cameras and fancy phone apps. Those are just ways to justify a higher fee (and margin) for parking. People immediately see through the BS. The revenue will come by attracting businesses and consumers. Not by exploiting them and chasing them away as quickly as possible.

  • Mike M

    Quick! Tax it before it moves!

  • Joann Miller

    So parking is a problem and yet the powers that be approve increase in population density for the same corridor! While I haven’t been to RTC (except to Jackson’s as they have free parking all the time) since the paid parking went into affect it actually isn’t because of it being a paid issue but a implimentation issue I’m against at RTC. It penalizes those who have ADA issues from getting the option of free street parking in the evening as that isn’t available to penalizing those who may not have smart phones or uses credit cards. As far as I see in this proposal the issue is how do we increase revenues! be honest and call it like it is….


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