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Businesses Continue to Leave Reston Town Center

by Catherine Douglas Moran December 27, 2018 at 12:05 pm 192 Comments

What a difference a year makes — for Reston Town Center’s retailers, that is.

While RTC has welcomed a number of new tenants this year, including HoneygrowBalducci’s, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, &pizza, and Lululemon, the closures outnumber the newcomers.

Businesses are closing twice as fast as they are opening in RTC. Several small businesses and restaurants that have been in the area for decades have pointed to dwindling numbers of customers due to paid parking as the main reason behind their closures.

The shift from free to the ParkRTC paid parking initiative at RTC began at the start of 2017. Then in June 2017, Boston Properties, RTC’s owner, changed its paid parking structure, which originally charged for weekday parking, following a major outcry from tenants and customers.

Still, some Restonians are boycotting RTC.

Red Velvet Cupcakery Owner Aaron Gordon previously told Reston Now that his decision to close the Reston location was driven by Boston Properties’ paid parking structure.

Employees at Busara Thai Restaurant, which served up authentic Thai cuisine in RTC for 13 years, and Obi Sushi Japanese Bistro, which recently closed after 14 years, said the paid parking drove customers away. 

When Appalachian Spring closed at the start of 2018, the store’s president told Reston Now that customer traffic dipped over the last few months and that customers often complained about the paid parking.

The handcrafted gifts and handmade jewelry store, one of the first tenants in RTC, opened its Reston location in 1990.

Reston Now reported on the following closures at RTC this year:

  • Dec. 30: Hen Penny set to close at 1820 Discovery Street
  • Dec. 26: Dawn Baby Price closed at 11985 Market Street
  • Dec. 22: Obi Sushi Japanese Bistro closed at 1771 Library Street
  • Aug. 28: Edibles Incredible Desserts closed at 11917 Freedom Drive
  • May 28: The Bike Lane closed at 11943 Democracy Drive
  • May 27: Red Velvet Cupcakery closed at 11939 Democracy Drive
  • May 19: Busara Thai Restaurant closed at 11964 Market Street
  • Jan. 24: Appalachian Spring closed at 1187 Market Street
  • January: Neyla Mediterranean Bistro closed at 11898 Market Street

While 2018 saw several small businesses and restaurants shutter their doors, large department stores are slated to close in RTC next year.

Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, which are both operated by Williams-Sonoma Inc, are set to close at RTC in January.

Pottery Barn (11937 Market Street) will close sometime around Jan. 21, a store employee told Reston Now. A specific closing date has not been announced yet for Williams-Sonoma (11897 Market Street).

File photo

  • meh

    If only someone from Boston Properties could come on to this message board and explain the benefits of the elite shopping experience one gets with paid parking. Perhaps that would be enough to sway the masses and convince them to come back?

    Or they could have a nice follow-up on why a cell-phone app (required to pay for parking) does so much data mining and follows my every move throughout the town center?

    I’d imagine once they go over these common misconceptions we all have, we’ll be all ready to go back to RTC. I for one cannot wait to be told how this has stopped people from using the lots as a commuter station. How the shopping experience has improved. And what great vendors/merchants will be moving in this upcoming year.

    • JoeInReston

      I presume they are holding out hope that in the interim future, the Silver Line expansion and the increased development will bring in more foot traffic.

      What I don’t understand is why don’t they simplify their paid parking process to a more conventional process. Its absurdly non-intuitive on first use and turns off the few customers will to pay for parking.

      • Why do you bother?

        No, they need to stop insisting on paid parking.

        THE BOYCOTT IS WORKING.

      • Mike M

        You may be right. I think there is some unhealthy pride in BP’s intransigence too. The 900 pound gorilla in the RTC Metro room is that the station is a haul from RTC. Half a mile? Also there are many amentities popping up closer to the station. I am not sure if RTC will ever be a major beneficiary of the new Metro station. Oh, and Metro is still Metro.

    • JoeInReston

      IIRC, Boston Properties did have a representative come on Reston Now. There was an interview and some responses in the comment section. It didn’t go well, aided by Boston Properties lack of honesty.

      • Why do you bother?

        Oh, you mean the condescending, arrogant cretin who insisted that we stupid sheep just don’t understand how paid parking makes Reston elite and important?

        How do you like us NOW, BP?

      • tony hudgins

        What lack of honesty? State the points.

        • Greg
        • Scott

          Tony Tony Tony, where have you been? BP built and doubled down on a flimsy justification that revolved around metro commuter parking. It was a lie then, given that metro was 4 years away from opening at RTC there were/are other means to prevent commuter parking that wouldn’t turn off shoppers and corporate tenants. It was a naked cash grab that BP somehow convinced themselves they could sell. It was ill-conceived and even more poorly implemented. Whoever was responsible for it should have been fired for the harm in reputation (and perhaps financial) at BP.

      • Edward Calvert

        When was the post ??

    • tony hudgins

      See above for explanation.

    • There is a ton of alternative neighborhoods in NoVA that do not require paid parking: Tysons, Mosaic, Fairfax Corner just to name a couple. The real issue here is that people can go to other venues without paid parking, and clearly that is what is happening. Consumers have choices.

    • Chkitout1

      The people at Boston Properties are plain stupid. In this age of shopping online, the brains at BP decide to implement paid parking at RTC. It is no wonder that businesses are leaving RTC. You bozo’s at BP will cause the ruin of RTC.

    • Chkitout1

      BP’s decision to implement paid parking at RTC was a really stupid decision. As stores struggle to compete against online shopping, RTC implements paid parking. Their argument about commuters using RTC parking is a fallacy. Tysons Corner Mall doesn’t have paid parking. Greed was the primary reason BP implemented paid parking. I’ll continue to shop other locations where parking is free.

  • lukeinva

    So then… WHY doesn’t Reston board of decision makers or whomever CANCEL the paid parking and GET RID OF IT. What. Are. They. Missing???

    • John

      Because the the Reston board doesn’t own RTC. RTC is owned by Boston Properties and they are free to charge for parking on their property. Just like shoppers are free to shop elsewhere.

    • Richard

      They make money off of paid parking, pure and simple. They don’t care about the retailers. Their big money comes from office tenants who have no choice but to pay for parking. They’ve obviously made the short-sighted decision that they make more money off paid parking than they lose from empty retail locations and ill will. It’s a sad situation, but their attitude surely keeps me motivated to stay away.

      • cRAzy

        “They” being Boston Properties.

        • Richard

          Of course. Boston Properties is the greedy culprit. RA has nothing to do with it. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors could have some influence over BP’s practices but they have thus far failed to put pressure on BP. Thanks for nothing, Cathy Hudgins.

      • Big Drop

        The character of Town Center, significant empty retail and condos that 13 and 14 years after construction have not appreciated in value influence office leasing. That will be next.

    • Rational Reston

      You should never make the assumption that RA is there for the people that live and/or work in Reston.

      • Richard

        RA has nothing to do with Boston Properties’ paid parking scheme at RTC. RTC isn’t part of Reston Association. BP thinks we Reston residents should feel privileged to be permitted access to their private RTC island.

      • CHUBB

        I agree. And I never do.

  • Mike M

    It’s nice to see summary and follow-up reporting here!

  • Thomas Day

    Kills me that so many people in Reston are too cheap to pay a few bucks for parking, to enjoy all that the Town Center had to offer. In what other nice city can you drive downtown (for which RTC is the equivalent) and not pay for parking?

    • Michael Shapiro

      Don’t think it is so much cheap, as the paid parking just kills foot traffic. If I am just gonna go and walk around without a destination, why would I pay to go to the Town Center? Why would I pay to go to what is basically a glorified shopping mall? Answer, I and many other don’t. Unless I have a specific reason to go there, I just don’t go because of the paid parking.

      • Thomas Day

        But if it’s just a “glorified shopping mall” to you, why did you go when it was free?

        • Just a thought

          Maybe because it was free?

        • Dorritt

          I think the point is that RTC used to feel like an actual town center – people strolling, kids laughing, dogs pulling at leashes, the happy noise of acquaintances running into each other. Now that parking fees have driven off this “undesirable” element, the place has started feeling like just another impersonal shopping mall, located in anywhere USA – a feeling which I suspect will be heightened when the last of the quirky shops move out, to be replaced by the same box stores you find in every other town. I miss that the “Reston” in RTC is now just a name, not an expression of community.

          • Big Drop

            This is an accurate and observant post. RTC simply has a different character today than it did before the app. And soon perhaps 10 or more (out of 60 or so) empty storefronts.

          • Richard

            Well said, Dorritt. That exactly expresses the dismay of so many of us.

          • TheKingJAK

            When I was a teenager RTC was one of a few spots where people would congregate from all over the area and hangout. Nowadays, it’s become more of a glorified yuppy spot for people who want to feel as if they live in a mini-Manhattan. The atmosphere is definitely not the same, although I’m not trashing everyone nor everything there (Just the management).

          • residentcynic

            When I was a teenager RTC was one of a few spots where people would congregate from all over the area and hangout. Nowadays, it’s become more of a glorified yuppy spot for people who want to feel as if they live in a mini-Manhattan.

            I’m baffled as to how you believe that simply driving to the location vs walking/busing to it represents a comprehensive shift in patron type or count.

            RTC was always meant to be exactly how you are bemoaning people are using it now. It was just also meant to include the type of activity you remember, and the only thing stopping it from doing so is the paid parking. RTC has all of the elements to serve both demographics perfectly well.

        • Joel Patterson

          For the same reason people go to the mall and never buy anything. It’s something to do and who knows — maybe you *will* find something. But if I’m getting dinged just to go, well, I’ve got better uses for my money because, as stated, it’s just a glorified shopping mall.

        • Why do you bother?

          Because it was an attractive shopping mall. With, you know, shopping.

        • Michael Shapiro

          Because it’s close. Tell me what is the draw besides food and shopping, and frankly the food is just ok. If I am just going someplace to hang out and walk around shops and restaurants, why do i want to pay for that?

    • JoeInReston

      Kills me that Boston Properties is instituting a deeply unpopular paid parking policy to obtain a few measly bucks. What other nearby shopping plaza charge for parking?

      Lake Anne – nope!
      Village Centers – nope!
      Dulles Town Center – nope!
      Tysons Mall – nope!
      Tysons Galleria – nope!
      Mosaic District in Merrifield – nope!
      Loudoun One – nope!
      Fairfax Towne Center – nope!

      • Walter Hadlock

        Add Worldgate in Herndon–nope

      • JMH

        Agreed the premise is stupid. However, it’s not fair to cite newer developments, which almost never charge for parking before they establish crowds. RTC went decades before charging parking. Tysons similarly has gone decades, but has installed the necessary machines and will inevitably start charging soon.

        • Big Drop

          Tyson’s will not have an app.

        • JoeInReston

          Of the items in my shopping plaza list, and Walter’s addition, only two would be considered ‘new’, those being Loudoun One and Mosaic District. The rest have been around for quite awhile and in their long life, they haven’t added paid parking.

    • Blair

      The charm of RTC was its attempt to be a community center. Sure, it was a high priced community gathering place with upscale stores and eateries, but that merely reflects the affluence of the area. Most everyone can afford to pay for parking, but RTC decided to start charging for a commodity that is available elsewhere for free (examples: Loudoun One, Tyson’s Corner, Fairfax Corner, Mosaic Center). People fled RTC when they recognized Boston Properties was trying to take advantage of them. Had they stuck to earning revenue from leasing and property management they would have been fine. But when they decided to double dip by going after the same wallets their renters are trying to attract RTC breached customer confidence and turned them off.

    • Joel Patterson

      Why, One Loudoun of course. And soon all the new shops/walkable areas in Tysons. And then all the new developments going on in Reston — how many do you think will have paid parking after watching RTC implode? Perception and marketing is an essential part of the process — Boston Properties continually fails to understand this. Amazon had major issues because people hated paying for shipping — even if the prices were a deal. Add unlimited shipping for $99 — the rest is history. BP is trying to shove a round peg in a square hole. It’s not working. What was the definition of insanity again?

      • JoeInReston

        As you allude to, their move is particularly foolish with the growing trend of online shopping putting brick and mortar retailers out of business. Boston Properties need to be doing everything in their power to get customers to visit the RTC. Adding parking fees does the exact opposite.

    • Scott

      Sorry, but RTC is not the “equivalent” of a downtown. Reston is the burbs and there is no reason to pay for parking in the burbs. If RTC was so desirable, people would be paying the fee. It is not. The market has spoken and there is no market for paid parking in Reston. There are plenty of other, more convenient options, not even taking into account the convoluted system. RTC is not worth the hassle.

      • Peanut

        Here’s the thing: the Reston TSA isn’t really suburban and is only becoming less-so. For the most part, RTC IS a valid downtown, and Thomas makes a good point – there WILL be a need for paid parking at some point (no, I do not think the time is now). However, there is never a need for paid parking in such a confusing and greedy manner. Daily rates far exceed that of the daily rate for Dulles and Wiehle-Reston East station. That makes no sense. Our only hope is that Brookfield, Comstock, and JBG (Halley Rise, Reston Station, and RTC West) learn from their mistakes and BPX learns from them, so that Reston’s “downtown” isn’t a place that everyone wants to avoid.

        • Why do you bother?

          “there WILL be a need for paid parking at some point”

          Whose “need”? Greedy developers!

          What constitutes a “need” for paid parking? NOTHING.

          • Peanut

            I believe the way they have implemented it has been somewhat greedy, yes, but if you think paid parking anywhere is due to greed then you are the one who is greedy. You have to realize how much the land value is worth that is just taken up by a parking garage that generates no income. With the metro coming eventually (sources needed), the parking could be crowded with commuters coming from the west that just stop at RTC to catch the metro – and that doesn’t benefit any of these retailers either.

            I don’t like paid parking and I think they did it wrong, but I’m just trying to be rational about it.

          • Richard

            The “rational” solution is three or four hours of free parking. That addresses the problem of Metro users. Nobody would be charged who is there for the retail stores, movie theaters and restaurants unless they stay an especially long time. But that would be the obvious solution only if Metro was genuinely BP’s concern. It’s not. BP’s just seeking a new pot of revenue at the expense of the community gathering space that Reston had once enjoyed.

          • Joel Patterson

            Completely agree — if the issue was to deal with “metro commuters” then that’s an easy and obvious solution. Since they *didn’t* implement it, I find it more likely that the supposed “easy money grab” was the likely reason.

          • Why do you bother?

            There are shopping centers all over with even larger parking areas – that don’t charge for parking. It IS pure greed, and BP is learning the hard way. You’re not being rational, you’re being an apologist for BP.

        • Scott

          Your post basically agrees with mine so this is not a challenge. Someday parking fees may be warranted but today is not the dday. That said, it’s not accurate to call RTC a down town.
          RTC is a property, owned by a single company. There are signs at the entrances and you enter and exit RTC. It is essentially…no it IS, an outdoor mall with some office buildings and a hotel. (Same as Pentagon City mall)
          No downtown in any city has a single property owner. Maybe one day, RTC will blend into other urban development and it will be a downtown, but RTC surrounded by strip malls and surface lots does not make a downtown. If it were an actual urban downtown, we wouldn’t be in year 3 of complaining about paid parking and RTCs occupancy rates wouldn’t be cratering in the county with the 2nd highest median income in the country(bordering the county with the highest.)

          • Why do you bother?

            Genuine question: what would make paid parking “warranted”?

          • aschoen

            Two things could justify it in my opinion:
            1. The existing parking was not enough, and people were often driving into RTC only to find that they were unable to find parking anywhere. These are the conditions that lead to paid parking in cities (and just to be clear: RTC is a mixed-use shopping center, not a city). Suburbs do not have this issue and RTC has never had this issue. One of RTCs garages used to fill up, but there was always parking available in other garages.
            2. When public municipalities have budgeting issues, paid parking is one way they can raise revenue. RTC is privately owned, so this condition cannot apply to RTC. If RTC switched to public ownership, then I could see this being invoked.

          • Why do you bother?

            Outstanding answer. Thank you.

    • JMH

      I think reputation/confusion more than the actual expense of parking is driving away customers at this point. The hours for paid parking are minimal and easy to work around without even using the app, provided you’re willing to return to the garage kiosk every hour.

      I never pay and I go there all the time. However, every time I go I see some confused person looking at the parking signs wondering wtf they’re supposed to do. It has to be the most poorly executed system in the history of parking garages.

      • Why do you bother?

        You are weakening the effect of the boycott. Only after its tenants abandon RTC will BP reconsider. You are diluting the effect.

        • Big Drop

          It’s no longer a boycott: nor is it even a consideration to go there.

          • Why do you bother?

            Of course it’s still a boycott. What else would you call avoiding a place on principle?

          • aschoen

            I would say it’s only a boycott if you’re avoiding RTC to make a political statement. There are a lot of people who feel that way in comments sections, but generally people I know in real life avoid RTC because they dont want to pay for parking or theyre confused by the parking system. Theyre not trying to take a stand or change anything, they just dont want to shop in RTC. That doesn’t count as a boycott to me, that’s just consumers having preferences.

          • Why do you bother?

            The statement doesn’t have to be political. Most of the people I know who are boycotting RTC are doing so to make a statement about arrogance and greed. There are enough non-paid parking hours that people who truly need to buy some overpriced object but somehow at the same time can’t afford the parking could shop RTC during those hours.

            No, this is precisely the definition of a boycott: avoiding a place on principle.

    • thargan

      Be happy to have to pay to spend my money? Sounds like you would enjoy the privilege of living in northern NJ. They have mastered the art of sticking it to you up there.

      • residentcynic

        More like Northern NJ knows how to develop land and get people to not choose cars. People around here might be right that One Loudoun, Tysons, etc, don’t have paid parking. But that’s largely to the demands of the local Type A Cheapskates — the same people, mind you, that:

        1) Refuse to fund any sort of meaningful secondary public transit (light rail, improved bus service, etc.),

        2) Believe they are entitled to travel I-66 as a solo traveler for free and that the tolls are reprehensible, so much so that they’ve got DEMOCRAT politicians complaining about congestion prices

        3) Dream of living where they work but refusing to let any sort of affordable housing be built in the business/enterprise hubs.

        Do you know how Northern NJ got people not to park in downtowns (or to accept paid parking)? Extensive light rail and heavy rail services to make it unnecessary to drive.

        • TheKingJAK

          “Affordable housing” is just code for low-income, and Reston already has more of it than anywhere else in Fairfax County (Along with Springfield/Mt. Vernon).

          Additionally, a lot of people have always traveled I-66 solo, so what? Why cram a ride full of people when it’s unnecessary?

          I see people talking about wanting to force people into not using cars, but that’s a load of authoritarian rubbish that dictates where you go and when you go there.

          North Jersey just has a better roadway system overall, and many of their trains have been around for an extremely long time. Not to mention how they still manage to keep wilderness alive, and even beautiful townships thriving.

          • Why do you bother?

            The tolls are implemented as an effort to get people out of cars on our ridiculously overcrowded roads. Why are they overcrowded? Because too many people in this area think that not building enough roads to accommodate the population is rational. They think “If we build it, they will come! Oh, noes!”

            Well guess what: We are already here and need to get where we’re going. This “no more roads” philosophy is an unmitigated disaster.

            And before you launch into your knee-jerk “TAKE METRO” comeback: First, not every worksite is accessible by Metro. Nor is every home. And with the appalling state of the rail system – overcrowding, equipment failure, extremely long commute times because all trains go to Metro Center and then back out to the burbs, using it is unappealing to a lot of people. When I commuted by Metro to three different jobs in three different areas, it was invariably 90 minutes each way. That is not a solution.

          • residentcynic

            Which is exactly why the NIMBYs should stop trying to block transit at every turn. Look at what MD is doing with the Purple Line. I could draw you 3-5 similar light rail lines through NoVA that would attract near-capacity service on day 1.

          • residentcynic

            “Affordable housing” is just code for low-income, and Reston already has more of it than anywhere else in Fairfax County (Along with Springfield/Mt. Vernon).

            If you don’t like that (and the only reason you wouldn’t is that “low-income” is your polite term for racism), complain to Fairfax County, which has decided to ignore its affordable housing targets for Tysons proper and instead attempt to shift the Tysons working class to Reston + Metro use. I would agree that this is a problem and the county should address. But EVERYWHERE in the region (particularly with Metro access) needs more affordable housing, even if they have a high amount already. Keep in mind that “affordable housing” typically refers to up to 120% median income.

            I see people talking about wanting to force people into not using cars, but that’s a load of authoritarian rubbish that dictates where you go and when you go there.

            No, supply and resource management is not authoritarian. A proper transit system doesn’t hinder anyone’s ability to get anywhere in any reasonable amount of time. Again, blame the local NIMBYs for preventing transit at every turn, rather than saying “we don’t need to address this non-problem” and being a liar.

            North Jersey just has a better roadway system overall, and many of their trains have been around for an extremely long time.

            This is laughable. Urban North Jersey’s road network is abysmal. Look at the Holland Tunnel access point as a prime example. It’s far worse than I-66 into DC, which at least allows you to access the city before hitting a traffic light.

            North Jersey just has a better roadway system overall, and many of their trains have been around for an extremely long time.

            Does that mean NoVA couldn’t have built their own system in all that time? That argument also ignores the less than 2 decade old Hudson Bergen Light Rail, a wild success that led to incredible revitalization of Hudson County.

      • TheKingJAK

        Except that a lot of North Jersey has maintained its size in many locales, and many townships have kept their charm.

    • Why do you bother?

      HAHAHAHAHA

      Your check’s in the mail. Signed, BP.

    • aschoen

      Reston is not a city

    • Big Drop

      The app is the difference for street parking. Not worth the 7 or 8 screens you go through and 3 minutes to do it. A meter and credit card is faster and easier and, for many, not intimidating.

    • TheKingJAK

      Rosslyn, for starters, where I often found free parking. Actually, I know a ton of beautiful cities where you can park downtown for free, and they have even more to offer overall.

    • Why do you bother?

      1. Reston isn’t a city. It isn’t even a town. It’s the suburbs.

      2. This has nothing to do with being able to afford to pay for parking.

  • Rational Reston

    There’s an effect, but correlation does not equal causality in most of these cases.

    Restaurants open and close quite frequently, and over-priced cupcakes were a fad whose time has been up for a long while.

    Overpriced goods for some of the stores that were probably marginal business cases before the parking issues, so the issues put them over the tipping point.

    The Bike Lane made the wise move and actually found a better location, with a more diverse business.

    I rarely went to RTC before the parking issues as none of the businesses appealed to me (or my budget) but I’m not convinced that RTC will become a ghost town as some predict, but it is evolving into something different.

    • iovw

      I work in RTC and I whole heartedly agree with this. My coworkers and me were tired of the restaurants and welcome a new batch. Operating a restaurant is difficult to sustain for many years without great reviews and/or sustained menu changes. Obi had mediocre reviews on Yelp and Busura was just ok. Not to mention there are two other Thai restaurants a couple of miles or less from RTC with better reviews and menus that probably took a lot of their business. This blame on paid parking is a cop out for a lack of innovation to reengage customers to visit their restaurants.

      The bike lane didn’t seem to cite paid parking as the main reason for leaving. They wanted a place they could sell coffee and beer which they couldn’t in RTC. The parking problem for them was to have parking that’s closer for people bringing bikes in and out. Paid parking was likely only a small additional factor in their decision to leave.

      • Mike M

        It seems they made a good move.

      • tony hudgins

        Thank GOD for someone rational. The current turnover is the natural result of a changing business climate.

      • residentcynic

        The bike lane didn’t seem to cite paid parking as the main reason for leaving. They wanted a place they could sell coffee and beer which they couldn’t in RTC.

        Thing is they could easily have come into one of the other vacated facilities (particularly restaurants) and easily gotten the permits for the food and beer. That they left RTC (by far the best location with respect to the W&OD connection), tells you that RTC is in fact part of the problem.

        • Spiff_in_DC

          Their new location is right on the W&OD, with easy ride-up bike parking and surface vehicle parking. By far easier than screwing around with a parking deck when you’re trying to bring your bike in.

      • Richard

        If you work at RTC, have you not spoken to any managers at the restaurants that have survived? Mon Ami? Clydes? Jackson’s? I have. Their business was decimated by paid parking. Sure, they were more profitable to begin with and have been able to weather the debacle, but to say that parking wasn’t the primary reason those departed businesses were forced out is simply wrong. They were profitable. Then they weren’t.

      • Richard

        If you work at RTC, have you not spoken to any managers at the restaurants that have survived? Mon Ami? Clydes? Jackson’s? I have. Their business was decimated by paid parking. Sure, they were more profitable to begin with and have been able to weather the debacle, but to say that parking wasn’t the primary reason those departed businesses were forced out is simply wrong. They were profitable. Then they weren’t.

        Furthermore, the Bike Lane specifically cited paid parking as the primary reason they left. Search the RestonNow archives for the Jan 9, 2017 article titled “Bike Lane Looking to Leave Town Center Over Parking Situation.”

        • TheKingJAK

          BP has been treating some of the restaurants horribly, and I’d know because a longtime acquaintance managed multiple locations for one of them (Including the one at RTC).

    • JoeInReston

      My lying eyes tells me there is a significant drop in the foot traffic at the RTC.

      My lying anecdotal experience saw coworkers refusing to eat lunch at the RTC because of the paid parking hassle even though the first hour is free and parking in the Jackson’s garage was effectively free (this was before the Jackson’s lawsuit was settled).

      My lying observation that the RTC is incurring a significant turnover of retail stores.

    • Mike M

      ” . . .stores that were probably marginal business cases before the parking issues, so the issues put them over the tipping point.”

      All businesses live and die by the “margins.” Many survive for years with just enough and then some. You can wreck many businesses by cutting their sales even 10%. What’s perverse about this is that BP is wrecking its clients because it can’t NOT reach around them directly into the pockets of their clients clients. The whole app thing and the enforcement has been bitter icing on the cake and a PR disaster for them and the end of some of their clients.

      • Pudintaine

        I must say that if you can’t afford to pay and park shop somewhere else. No one really cares about the whiny, crying anymore, it’s been over a year now, get over it and move on! BP isn’t going to change and in 5 years most folks that visit RTC wont ever know or care that parking used to be free! Go to any city and parking isn’t FREE!! You people don’t live in Hyattsville, Reston is supposed to be a little bit better place, so if the pay to park helps keep the poor scum out of your community why aren’t all you Restonian’s all for it???

        • Greg

          The grand irony is that there are no bigger supporters of Metro to Reston than Plum and Hudgins. Both keep getting re-elected, often unchallenged, and both have marginal, at best, records.

          Metro’s arrival helped get rid of the ugly Brutalist bunker, but left us with an enduring elevated eyesore in Tysons; blocks and towers of even uglier buildings popping up helter skelter like weeds in Reston; gobs of “workforce” housing; narrowed roads for rarely-seen bikes; and a “town center” metro station located far from the town center in the middle of ten lanes of expressways and with no parking.

          And, of course, the ever-higher tolls.

          • Bpsucks

            Welcome back to the village no nothing!

          • residentcynic

            The notion that elevated Metro in Tysons is an eyesore when it will ultimately sit between large towers is laughable.

            In fact, the Tysons Corner-McLean segment of the viaduct already provides a sense of wonder and awe at the transformation of the city…the dots of apartments and office life, the glow of the tree on the mall plaza, all a marvel to behold that would have been missed while wasting money burying the tracks.

            No one in NYC, Philadelphia or Chicago rants about their ELs.

          • CHUBB

            I agree, especially as a commuter. Tyson’s has always been ugly and the El gives me cell phone reception and if I’m lucky, some sunshine before I descend into the depths.
            At least there will be a little more mixed use, One of the new high rises is a retirement community being built by Splendido, which has developments in Tucson and elsewhere. I signed up as my dog and she gets updates on The Mather’s progress.

        • Mike M

          Hi sweety!. Coupla things:
          1) BP has already backed off a bit on their initial policy. They may overhaul it yet. And yes we’re are the suburbs.
          2) So long as people live here they can talk about incredibly stupid policies that changed their community. Maybe you should stop whining about that and not come in here if you can’t handle your neighbors’ opinions.

          Questions:
          1) How is RTC “better” now?
          2) Is it that people can’t afford to pay for parking? Or they see it as a a nuisance policy, implemented with unnecessary complexity, then then crudely enforced? (Can’t you afford to give me ten bucks a week? Or is there some principle in that?)

          BTW:
          I was responding to Rational about the suggestion that paid parking was not the reason businesses leave. Bottom line – it didn’t help.

          Have a Happy New Year.

        • Why do you bother?

          This has nothing to do with being unable to afford to pay for parking.

        • dima bilan

          We will just take our business elsewhere, if you want to be ripped off go ahead…

    • Why do you bother?

      I used to love to wander around RTC in the spring and summer. There were some shops I liked, and several restaurants. That said, there is nothing at RTC that I can’t find an equivalent for at other free-to-park centers.

    • tony hudgins

      Your assessment is spot on. Many of businesses that have closed, and are closing were not doing well in the first place. This parking issue merely exacerbated an existing problem. Which was poorly run businesses that had no long term future in yhe spaces they currently had.

    • Dan

      I and my wife ate at Reston Town Center regularly for over a decade. We’ve lived in Reston for 15 years. We’re a young couple and we’re a demographic Boston Properties needs. Obi Sushi was one of our favorites, but the paid parking killed it for us and we won’t be back until get rid of it.

      I’d say sorry Obi, but the original owners of Obi figured this pattern out last year. They quickly sold their place to new management with a complete staff change, though of course they may have had additional reasons.

      At the very least you would think Boston Properties would’ve figured out their fairly large miscalculation and have corrected it by now. They do appear to oddly attached, but perhaps we’re not seeing their problem. Maybe it is not a miscalculation. Perhaps Boston Properties banked on the parking fees, and new renters paying new higher rents on new contracts, to service their loan debt in buying Reston Town Center?

      In any case, we won’t be back until Boston Properties gets rid of paid parking hassles for us, Restonites / non-commuters.

    • TheKingJAK

      Pottery Barn is a longtime staple, so that speaks volumes about the situation. As for RTC evolving into something different, it already did that once when they decided to make everything yuppy boutique instead of what it had been.

      • CHUBB

        No kidding. One of the last original tenants, Williams-Sonoma, is leaving. RTC was always upscale, but the stores keep changing from useful (remember Eddie Bauer, anyone?) to ridiculous fluff like Blue Mercury and Anthropologie.

  • Aaron Hines

    Gotta upgrade to rival DC. Top chefs and awesome concepts to attract other more attractive clients to move in

    • Funny if true

      I’ve seen you post this sentiment on many other articles and I have to hope it is meant satirically.

  • Blair

    This is a well deserved loss of business. RTC made a stupid move which was perceived by the public as nothing more than a money grab. It’s no wonder people still boycott this place. Consumers are not stupid. They know when big businesses are trying to take advantage of them. It will be very hard for RTC to turn this public relations debacle all around.

    • tony hudgins

      Not a money grab! See my post above. It’s money recoup and prevention for commuting free loaders.

      • residentcynic

        How is one a commuting freeloader for using RTC exactly? And what happens when the Metro garages are inevitably full? There’s no infrastructure to get people to the stations otherwise, and why would you not want cars (when you have an overallocation of parking) using your facility? They can patronize your businesses and restaurants on the way home.

        Even at Tysons I the argument is nebulous at best. No one is going to drive into the heart of Tysons just to park for the Metro.

        • Greg

          There will be no metro garage at the Reston Town Center metro stop.

          The Reston Town Center stop — which, unlike most other Silver Line stations will have virtually no parking — will be built close to Reston’s urban core. It still won’t be “at” Reston Town Center, though.

          Other plans for the station, according to the county staff report:

          20 short-term parking spaces

          Six bike lockers

          Plantings including shrubs, perennials and more than 20 trees.

          • CHUBB

            To be honest, I’m dreading Phase 2. There’s been such a shortage of spaces at the Wiehle metro garage that even the Post covered it. Due to corporate greed, of course. Tons of empty reserved spaces at $15 a day, while people who only pay $4.95 have no place to park.
            I’m not surprised there won’t be spaces at the Town Center stop, but once it’s finished, it will just make the already bad Wiehle parking shortage worse.

          • 30yearsinreston

            Another Hudgins failure

          • Why do you bother?

            Parking at Wiehle should loosen up once the Loudoun County stations open. Yes, too far in the future, but one can hope.

            What Metro should do, however, is evaluate how much of the reserved parking it has sold – if there are a lot of unsold spaces, it should convert some of them to unreserved.

            But don’t be fooled into thinking that unoccupied = unsold. Most reserved spots at Metro stations are oversold because not all commuters commute every day. It’s like the airlines taking calculated risks by overselling seats and assuming some attrition.

          • 30yearsinreston

            Bikes!
            Hudgins solution to traffic woes

          • residentcynic

            Precisely, which only increases the inanity of the “RTC needs to protect against commuting freeloaders” argument. The notion that people will pay toll road rates to drive into Reston TC just to walk 1/2 a mile to the station and pay for Metro is laughable on its face.

          • Steve Patz

            So like the King Street Station in Alexandria

      • xtr657

        There is nothing to free load by commuting in a community designed for vehicles. It is plenty expensive enough. Placing an urban town center in the middle of suburbia doesn’t make it accessible to the masses of people needed to keep it profitable. I agree that in 10 years when Metro has long been in service, most patrons won’t care or even know that parking used to be free at RTC, but the way BP went about instituting parking in an area unaccustomed to it was a questionable business move by rich developers who are unaffected by the change and are, in some way, benefiting from it. There prerogative to do so and ours to go somewhere where parking is less stressful. BP could have started charging a nominal amount during certain hours and slowly increased from there. Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, where paid parking exists everywhere, has charged $1 for the first several hours for years and no one cared and no one would protest another dollar increase. Instead, BP went all in and suffered a lasting backlash. Eventually it will go away and no one will care but you can’t expect there wouldn’t be some complaining along the way.

      • Mike M

        Tony, read my refutation of your misguided post.

      • obxers

        Wrong, wrong, wrong. Simply a false cover or it wouldn’t have been implemented when or how it was. They’ve clearly been dishonest with us.

      • NOVAResident!23

        Tony, Tony, Tony, I was a resident of Reston for 11 years, now living in Oakton for the past 11 years and returning to Reston as an empty nester soon. I still frequented the RTC regularly until the implementation of paid parking. Now, I only frequent Jacksons at RTC on weekdays. Pay for parking to have a coffee at Starbucks? Why? I just go to the Starbucks in Plaza America instead when I’m in Reston! I feel this way about all of the other shops and restaurants at RTC on weekdays. I would rather drive to a mall or shopping center where parking is free than deal with the stupidity of paying for parking to shop. I refuse to even download the app — and I loved and was always a super fan of Reston! Boston Properties has greatly diminished my excitement to return to Reston as a resident. I will frequent Lake Anne and North Pointe and South Lake Shopping Centers instead when I return.

  • Jasper IN

    I don’t think that Boston Properties even cares. They manage thousands of properties and people leave all the time.

    The real problem is that the city of Reston has built their design around a property group that doesn’t care and totally disengaged in the outcome, and that’s a real danger for the future of the city, at least in regards to the town center and how Reston wants to view itself.

    • Greg

      Reston isn’t a city and RTC isn’t in Reston.

      • Jasper IN

        I feel confident that we’re both well aware of the layout of Reston. And at least for that portion of Reston- call it what you may- but they have invested a lot in high rise luxury condos, a metro stop that will be just blocks aways, and a sophisticated traffic system that can handle all that growth (ok, so I’m making that last one up). But either way, if RTC falls apart, the vision for that area falls apart too. Lots of people who bought very expensive condos in that area will lose big, and developers hoping for even more rich condo-seeking tenants will lose even more.

        A lot more is riding on this than in typical strip malls.

        • THX

          I live in the Reston Associaton covenant land and I can assure you that my life won’t fall apart if RTC fails.

          Also if you do some research into Bob Simon’s original vision, high priced retail wasn’t part of it. So you’re theory is garbage.

          • Jasper IN

            Then what are they building over there right now? More parts of Bob Simon’s vision?

            They just passed an ordinance that will lift the density cap for reston, so we can have more people living in more homes in the same amount of space. There is a new vision at work here- and it’s not his. Fortunately for me, I still live on the good side of Reston.

          • residentcynic

            Reston wanted a Metro. It got it, and now it needs the added density that comes with having direct transit access. Simple as.

          • TheKingJAK

            The problem with that notion is how how the Dulles Toll Road and likewise corridor all cut Reston in half. Many communities don’t have to deal with such an issue, but if the density around the Dulles Toll Road is increased too much Reston will eventually find itself officially becoming two separate communities one way or the other.

          • residentcynic

            Completely disagree. If anything, Reston is the best positioned town in the area to cope with the Metro density, thanks to the RIBS bus system. I could easily see an expansion of that service to maybe 8-9 lines from the existing 5, all in the name of getting people in the more suburban sections of the community into that core.

          • 30yearsinreston

            More twaddle
            How are the buses going to get around ?
            Fly ?

          • Mike M

            Define “need.”

          • Why do you bother?

            You’re stealing my lines, Mike!

          • Mike M

            Oh really? I’ve used that one many times.

          • residentcynic

            “Need” as in it needs a comprehensive increase in homes with direct access to the core public transit service in the area, to alleviate the sprawl and traffic areas that plague the region. That density cap lift allows Reston to achieve that increase.

          • 30yearsinreston

            Twaddle
            Traffic congestion cant be fixed by increasing density
            When in a hole, digging deeper is not a solution

          • CHUBB

            A friend who lives at the Savoy said that someone (Ken Plum, maybe?) addressed their group and said the quid pro quo for the Silver Line was Reston’s promise to develop the population density to support it. Of course she just moved here from
            Jersey to RTC so that doesn’t bother her.

          • Mike M

            We “needed” no increase in density, comrade. It’s not up to you and the commissariat to decide.

          • residentcynic

            Your inane communist implications never cease to amuse.

            The jobs are here. They are not leaving. The population is growing. They need places to live. You are not entitled to force them to drive from Haymarket because you were here first and you don’t like the increased density (even though it’s made homeowners free money). Deal with it.

          • Mike M

            So, I am a communist, and you are an intellectual? As a Conservative, nothing makes me sicker than seeing someone bollix Conservative logic. I find under-educated and young men do this lots.

            The jobs could leave here if the nations debtors start to force us into responsible expenditure levels. In fact, the jobs should be leaving by design. Believe it or not, there is a whole big giant real economy out there across this large nation.

            Actually, because I was here first I should have a say via the democratic process. No one forces anyone to drive from Haymarket. They can move to Florida or Texas if they like. Entitlement? You seem to like the word and use it poorly.

            One more thing, . . . property values are not on the sharp incline in these parts. It is mythology to believe that intense development is going to be good for home values. Increases in supply force prices downward, even if other factors push upward. There are other downward force as a direct result of over development.

            One of those downward pressures is higher interest rates. But then there are tax hikes and lower quality of life. You obviously didn’t notice but all this development has created a deficit of infrastructure from roads, to schools, and public safety. Some people peddled the lie that we would all benefit from this and taxes would drop. It was a lie proven false in Loudoun and many other places in the last two decades. The County is scrambling to find the revenue. Meals taxes and tolls seem to be their go-to grab.

          • residentcynic

            So, I am a communist, and you are an intellectual?

            So you implied I was a communist and your takeaway is that I think you’re one? That doesn’t even make any sense. That nonsense out of the way, let’s look at your points in order.

            In fact, the jobs should be leaving by design. Believe it or not, there is a whole big giant real economy out there across this large nation.

            Creative class/Technology jobs are not a “fake” economy. And if by ‘a giant real economy out there across this large nation’ you mean legacy manufacturing, fossil fuels production, and massive government farm subsidization, you’re missing the reality that those are dying industries.

            The US has had plenty of chances to address these problems, and has repeatedly failed to do so. Consider the loss of high tech manufacturing (an industry that would have been retrainable/easily transferrable for a decent portion of the US workforce), largely, to Switzerland.

            No one forces anyone to drive from Haymarket. They can move to Florida or Texas if they like.

            Or, we can add density in places that have the room for it instead of artificially depressing housing stocks to be able to provide absurd returns that the real estate market will never see again to Boomers. Classic example? Half of Arlington being single family, yarded homes in a county 0-4 miles from the jobs hub/city center. Utterly preposterous on face. I think the people that bought in to Arlington at $1-200K for a lot and home that is now pushing $1M of value got their ROI and can share the growing wealth of the region.

            property values are not on the sharp incline in these parts. It is mythology to believe that intense development is going to be good for home values. Increases in supply force prices downward, even if other factors push upward. There are other downward force as a direct result of over development.

            I don’t disagree but that does not mean the housing stock isn’t needed. If that means a market correction on home values, so be it. Real estate is long beyond the days of a “set and forget” core asset — just ask anyone under the age of 40 who bought into the market at pre-mid 2000s peaks and is barely positive, or the scores of others asked to buy into a shrinking supply pool in the face of rising interest rates putting mortgages further out of reach and a $1T+ pool of student debt.

            You obviously didn’t notice but all this development has created a deficit of infrastructure from roads, to schools, and public safety.

            You’re misallocating the development as the cause of those deficits. Roads are underfunded because Virginia has not touched the gas tax in decades despite increased per-passenger vehicle miles traveled and massive increases in vehicle fuel efficiency. Transit is underfunded because of NIMBY Conservative thinkers of yourself who think that they are a net detractor on the community thanks to racist, anti-minority and low-income class beliefs. School infrasturcture is underfunded because the US has abandoned sane education policy and because NIMBYs have instead waged a war on the local taxation needed to manage them.

            Public Safety isn’t remotely close to underfunded. Fairfax County (among other local jurisdictions) has money and resources to conduct extensive, unproductive drug enforcement, engage in reckless and illicit civil asset forfeiture (remember the SWAT raid of a home poker game?), and run extensive, lazy, speed-trap style traffic enforcement. All this despite property and violent crime declining by HALF in the last 25 years.

            As a Conservative, nothing makes me sicker than seeing someone bollix Conservative logic.

            You are not a Conservative. Conservatives understood infrastructure provided ROI and allowed the country, the ENTIRE country, mobility, access, and resources needed to keep the economy driving forward. Conservatism is not about fake austerity, the erosion of the social safety net, doing whatever possible to expand the income equality gap, and complaining the US’ tax rate, which at revenue providing 26% of GDP is 7% lower than the median for western nations, is too much of a burden.

          • Mike M

            If the jobs are subsidized by the national debt, they are not the real economy. That is DC.

            More taxes. No thanks, Mr. “Conservative.” That is what your track yields. I don;t look to failing Europe as the standard for the tax rate.

          • Mike M

            The jobs around here are mostly based on government deficit spending directly or indirectly. That is not sustainable. It is not the real economy.

            ” If that means a market correction on home values, so be it.”
            So you are making a haughty decree that contradicts your previous statement.

            School infrastructure is not underfunded. Road infrastructure is underfunded. When we intensify development, we increase the need for this and for firehouses, and police stations, and schools, and everything else. (We spend more on education than most of the world. Go figure. And they always want more. The so-called “planners” could have done a better job at controlling this and getting developers to kick in, but they were fundamentally corrupt. My original point was we didn’t need the development if all it would do would be raise taxes or ruin quality of life. Repeating myself. Note, we are still building more police stations and firehouses. Why? To move in the direction of closing the “deficit.” Math lesson: Crime can go down 5% per capita, but if the populations doubles, might still need new jails and courthouses and judges . . .

          • residentcynic

            Deficit spending is only a recent problem for its extravagance (and even then it is controllable). On top of that we have plenty of room to increase unprecedentedly low tax rates in this country to help manage.

          • Mike M

            Scroll up. I have addressed all these points. You want more taxes and you are Conservative. Thanks. We spend something like 38% of GDP on taxes and you want to be more Europeans and pretend you are Conservative? Go away. Done.

          • Bpsucks
          • Rational Reston

            Oh boy, more of the “Bob Simon’s vision” trope.

        • Greg
          • Bpsucks

            And the village know nothing post more drivel…

    • Why do you bother?

      Of course they don’t care. Bottom line is their only interest.

  • Liz

    Recently I made my first trip to RTC since the paid parking was implemented a year ago. For a Christmas present, I needed a special doorknob that Anthropology had on their website. I needed it before the delivery date, thus I swallowed my convictions and made the trip to RTC. When I stated to the cashier in Anthro, that I missed shopping in the store but refuse to pay to park, she waved her hand and replied “oh that, once people got used to it, it really doesn’t matter to them anymore.” Hmmmm… I guess it does matter to SOME people!

    • Why do you bother?

      It definitely matters to enough people that stores are moving out for lack of sales! I’m one to whom it matters.

  • tony hudgins

    This is the most poorly informed article aver written. BXP has every right to charge for parking and should be. People parking for free have been living with a non paid amentity that BXP paid roughly on average $50k per parking space. And they have reportedly 1700 parking parking spaces at RTC. With the impending change of the metro and soon to come commuters from outside Reston, they are both accounting for the need to prevent free loaders who will commute, not shop and take spaces from legitimate patrons while also accounting for sunk costs spent on the existing parking. DO THE MATH! BXP has spent roughly $85 Million to to provide free parking to patrons. They did so, initially because it was expected based on how people traveled. That’s changing once meteo comes, and deservedly they should not provide it for free any longer. One, cause it’s costly, and two cause it will prevent commuters from usingparking to access the metro but not shopping while still using the parking inventory. The fact that someone who calls themselves a journalist doesn’t point any if this out is plain irresponsible.

    • Big Drop

      The app.

      A meter, a gate-but not the app.

    • This paid parking was implemented horribly. The App demands access to phone records, pictures and location data! There is not a commuter issue today – there was lots of open parking the day before the parking rules went into effect. In two years when we have metro, they could simply implement four hour free parking which would solve the issue.

      I’m an office tenant. And all the office tenants – who really pay for RTC – are unhappy with this situation. My business visitors are inconvenienced! For this I pay a 75% premium on office space? My business visitors are NOT FREELOADERS and I resent the implication.

      Your screed would make a lot of sense if there was ever contention for parking at RTC. But there wasn’t – it was a lie from BP. Now watch us office tenants leave as our leases come up.

    • Fraize

      If those numbers hold up, then I put it to you that BXP was incredibly foolish to spend $85 Million on parking spaces, and I don’t feel any sympathy nor responsibility for paying for their mistake.

    • Edward Calvert

      Bp shill ….

    • Mike M

      Tony, you are missing a few things. BP paid for the parking once and then there are minimal maintenance costs. They didn’t start charging for parking because they were losing money. They were operating a simpler, more efficient model of covering their costs and making their money via their rents. They did it because they felt a certain monopoly power over their local offering. They decided to impose a grossly inefficient model enabling them to reach around their renters directly into the pockets of their renter’s clientele. They publicly noted this was not about Metro but about “revenue enhancement.” They implemented far ahead of Metro’s arrival. The boycott showed them they might have made a bad investment. I hope the boycott gets them to ditch the app.

    • Why do you bother?

      You’re absolutely right, Tony. BP has the right to charge for parking.

      And to suffer the consequences of such a dumb move.

    • CHUBB

      So why didn’t they wait until after the RTC stop was built to ward off freeloaders?

  • MHarmony

    The parking costs sucks and so do all the restaurant and drink prices. Reston is one of the most overpriced areas around.

    • timd66md

      Two words: happy hour.

      • Joel Patterson

        Most Happy Hours in RTC have gone downhill unfortunately. Clyde’s really cut their options down. M&S is still OK but not really special anymore (although their HH hamburger remains one of the best deals around)

        • Big Drop

          Cooper’s Hawk is probably the most popular restaurant in Reston, taking that title from Jackson’s.

        • timd66md

          Joel, just trying to find some upside here. Mon Ami is our go-to. Some bars / restaurants at least seem to be doing OK. Retail? Not so much.

  • Rusty Carlson

    This is the result of moronic thinking by Democrats.
    Your getting exactly what you deserve Reston.

    • James

      What even is this comment? Lol, is this satire? Thanks for the chuckle Rusty.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    It’s been so long since I’ve actually gone to RTC (other than the odd discount movie at BowTie), that I don’t even miss it. Herndon has plenty to offer as do other parts of Reston.

    If you want to pay for parking, that’s your Prerogative. As for The Morningwoods, the answer is still “No.”

  • residentcynic

    On one hand, I want to celebrate BP for being the first to try and snap the local NIMBY freeloaders out of their nonsense. But they could never make a dent on the real problem here in isolation: Namely, the issue that everyone around this area believes they are entitled to single-occupancy vehicle parking, for free, in any location that isn’t downtown DC. Just look at the complaints about the wildly successful I-66 tolling… these Type A whiners have DEMOCRATIC politicians complaining about congestion pricing!! The hypocrisy and entitlement is stunning.

    However, the arguments BP used simply never held water. For one, the app is an egregious invasion of privacy, not to mention massively confusing and convoluted. For another, the Tysons I argument, that parking would become overrun by Metro commuters, was nothing but nefarious. Paid parking was not needed 4 years before Metro arrived and wouldn’t be needed even once the Metro opens, as RTC is nearly 1/2 a mile from the station. The entitled snobs around here would never choose to drive somewhere only to have to spend 10-15 minutes walking uncovered to the station. For a third, Reston needs substantially higher development before any argument can be made that any parking changes need to be made… they have the 2nd most spaces of any facility in the area outside of Tysons I and don’t need 1/3 of them on a regular business day.

    • timd66md

      Great points. The parking fees AND the app are a double whammy. Throw in aggressive enforcement as the icing on the cake. People who don’t work in RTC and have money to spend – let’s say in age 50+ demographic – want nothing to do with this.

    • Mike M

      We already paid for the roads once. In particular, the toll road was built with the promise that tolls would be removed once the road was paid for. We are looking at yet another increases in those tolls long after the road was paid off. It’s not entitlement that makes people expect to not have to pay for parking in the suburbs. It is reality in the suburbs. It’s part of why people move to the suburbs.

      • residentcynic

        We already paid for the roads once.

        Congratulations. Now there are O&M costs and access costs. You may have paid to BUILD the road, but you did not pay to maintain them, and you did not pay for your right to the individual vehicle slot on the road when it is at capacity. That is what tolls cover. Please learn how the world works because you act entitled to something merely because you paid to build it.

        It’s not entitlement that makes people expect to not have to pay for parking in the suburbs. It is reality in the suburbs. It’s part of why people move to the suburbs.

        Except you also wanted the Metro access, and with core transit service comes paid parking around the transit service. That is not to say RTC should be paid parking, I already said it shouldn’t. But there are plenty of examples of suburban downtowns with paid parking due to transit access.

        • 30yearsinreston

          We pay for road maintenance wirh our state taxes
          Get a clue

          • residentcynic

            Actually, highways/VDOT funding is largely collected through the woefully inadequate gas tax, which has not been altered in decades despite its model becoming increasingly outdated as driver miles and vehicle fuel efficiency increase.

            And even then needed increases to that tax (Virginia’s rate is light years below neighboring states) is political untenably due to NIMBY/entitlement voting patterns.

        • Mike M

          “[E]ntitled to something merely because you paid to build it.”
          Yeah.

          I never wanted Metro access. Metro is failing and tacking on another long arm that extends deep into Loudoun County was a bad idea. I think rapid bus transit might have been workable and far less expensive and more flexible.

          As for “how the world works,” don’t look now but most roads are not tolled. They are maintained based on tax dollars. Tolls are just an additional source of revenue to be squandered on other things. Do you know the cost of maintenance versus the toll revenue?

          • residentcynic

            Because you never wanted it is no reason not to build Metro. Metro has some fundamental flaws/challenges (namely the fact that it tries to be both subway and commuter rail –
            a near impossibility, especially having no spare trackage), but to say it’s failing, even with its recent run, is absurd.

            As for “how the world works,” don’t look now but most roads are not tolled.

            Actually, in terms of roads whose primary use is access to the regional core / jobs hub and which are at or above capacity, quite a good ratio of them are tolled or have restricted access. And certainly, even if the roads themselves are not, bridges and tunnels that they traverse frequently are (which of course we don’t do here). Congestion pricing is intelligent, proven policy.

            The only 2 things I would change about local toll roads are: 1) Making the DTR thru-pay only (i.e. all cost to the Tysons plaza instead of tolling intra-Herndon/Reston travel), and 2) Virginia having built the I-395, 495, and 95 tolls themselves instead of selling the rights and revenue away.

            I think rapid bus transit might have been workable and far less expensive and more flexible.

            BRT, especially in the typically inferior US implementations, lacks the capacity to handle the type of volume a heavy rail system can provide. It is especially poor at providing service from transport hubs like airports, precisely because of the dispersed nature of trips others have bemoaned. Another glowing example of how we need far more rail in NoVA – an expanded Metro trunk + several Metro feeder light rail lines (a la MD’s Purple Line).

          • Mike M

            Metro is a failure with a sucking financial and safety chest wound. Most roads are not tolled. This road was to be tolled only for construction costs. I am glad you like giving up your money to lying pols. BRT has great promise. It’s more flexible and cheaper. I am repeating myself.

          • residentcynic

            Metro is a failure

            Patently absurd. Providing trips to nearly 300,000 members of the workforce is “failing.” Ignoring changes in ridership (and MetroRAIL’s losses are actually very minimal in recent times), put those 300,000 people on the area’s roads and tell me that’s a viable transit plan.

            BRT has great promise. It’s more flexible and cheaper.

            Tell that to the elitist snobs around here (many with similar views to yourself) who are abandoning buses with FAR GREATER FREQUENCY than they are trains per the data: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Db6CrfVV4AAaOR4.jpg

          • Mike M

            Metro is a failure financially from an operating standpoint, and investment standpoint, a flexibility or area served standpoint and a ridership standpoint.

            https://patch.com/district-columbia/washingtondc/staggering-plunge-metro-ridership-report

            RBT has greater potential from all these perspectives.

          • CHUBB

            Do either of you actually USE the bus or the Metro? I commute into DC. Before the Silver Line, I had to take the bus to West Falls Church to board the Orange Line, and the bus was always the weak link. After 7:00 pm, the bus ran only every 30 minutes. If you missed it, you had a long and lonely wait outdoors, which was brutal on winter nights. A long time ago, there apparently was a commuter bus that ran directly from Reston to DC.
            If that’s what you have in mind, fine. Otherwise, the Silver Line is 100 percent better. It runs later and even now, more reliably, and I can go straight from the stop to whatever parking garage space I can scrounge.

          • Mike M

            Thanks for your input. No. I rely on Metro for rare jaunts downtown. The existing bus system is broken. I am saying that half the investment in an improved rapid bus system would have been a better idea. Non-stop to DC. Yep. There are private lines doing this from Loudoun.

          • Mike M

            Metro is a failure by financial, operational, and ridership standards. RBT had greater potential in all those areas. It is more flexible and cheaper. You have not refuted this despite you wordiness. I am repeating myself. Capacity? Who cares if you can shove more people down single pipes? Metro is not operating at capacity until rush hour, if then.

          • residentcynic

            What you define as a failure because of operating loss, most sane and intelligent people and policymakers consider a necessary public service expenditure. But I’m sure you’re also anti-Medicare, Social Security, TANF, and all other social programs so I don’t expect you to understand that a core function of government is to provide needed services to its citizens.

            Who cares if you can shove more people down single pipes?

            Yes, the biggest daily challenge in our region is commuting waste, but it totally doesn’t matter that Metro takes 300,000 off that handful of road infrastructure pipes.

          • Mike M

            I have addressed all these points. Done.

  • Cujo Isalive
  • Kelley Terrorist Syndicate

    Hen Penny was a front for the same terrorist gang

  • Carol Steele

    Is Dan Snyder in charge? Smells like one of his ruses…

  • 30yearsinreston

    The perfect example of hubris
    BPX wont change the policy because some line manager with a fancy title made a stupid mistake and wont change it
    The top dogs @ BPX have bigger ‘issues’
    This doesnt even register on their radar

  • 30yearsinreston

    The Facebook privacy revelations should be enough to ditch the parking app
    People’s attitudes to unnecessary mining of personal data are changing
    Coupled with the fact that a lot of people are not willing to waste effort with devices just exacerbates the issue
    I bet some idiot at BPX Washington local office sold the idea of monetizing vistors to HQ
    Typical engineering ‘solution’ in search of a
    problem

  • Chalupa Batman

    These closings are what they call ” a clue.” Perhaps Boston Properties should get one.

  • Lori Decker Buck

    I only wish that Reston Town Center were owned and managed by a local entity. How does Boston Properties, which operates in Boston (of course), NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and DC, understand the character and needs of a unique mid-size community like Reston? In short, Boston Properties doesn’t understand and doesn’t care. Soon we’ll be nothing more than a nondescript mini-city catering to Metro.

  • CHUBB

    I just took friends who left Reston 15 years ago on a tour of the Town Center, and told them that at least two originals were still there, the Hyatt and Williams-Sonoma. And soon there will be only one. I like all the new restaurants, but the stores keep changing from useful to ridiculous. The Town Center was always upscale, but Eddie Bauer to Blue Mercury? C’mon.

  • CHUBB

    I took friends who left Reston 15 years ago on a tour of the Town Center, and told them that I was glad that at least three of the original tenants were left, the Hyatt, Clyde’s and Williams-Sonoma. And soon there will be only two. I love new restaurants, but the other newcomers? RTC was always upscale, but the stores keep changing from practical to ridiculous. Eddie Bauer to Blue Mercury? C’mon.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Hudgins and Bulova should not get a pass on this issue
    This is the future thanks to their incompetence

  • Colleen

    Franconia-Springfield Metro station and Springfield Town Center have a lovely solution: work together. STC offers free parking for all customers. Metro riders have the options of parking at the station and paying the $4.95 or parking on the side of STC where parking is designated for Metro riders. They can then walk to the station or ride the free shuttle. Granted, it’s only a few blocks, but it’s nice to have options.

    • 30yearsinreston

      STC doesnt have Hudgins and Plum

  • aschoen

    You can tell RTC is struggling by looking at the actual tenants that are moving in now:

    Mason’s lobster rolls: $15 lobster rolls, year round. What a concept! They won’t last a year.

    Lululemon: great store, but it’s probably going to drive the Athleta next door out of business

    Balduccis: I love the deli section, cheese section, and pizza, but I’m sorry you cannot sell packaged food for 2x the price of Harris Teeter in the suburbs. This is not Manhatten. And that’s why this place is empty most of the time. You can tell they misread the market here because they bought 3 entire Jamon de Iberico and tried to sell them for $150/lb. I’m obsessed with jamon and even I wouldn’t touch it at that price.

    Ramen: the “epic ramen” thing was kind of a fad and its peak has already passed. Also, replacing sushi with ramen is a net loss in prestige. Sushi costs more than ramen.

    Nothern Italian: there are already 2 Italian places within a half mile, and one has free parking.

    &Pizza: they sell an $8 pizza for $15. Should be called $pizza. Empty whenever I walk by.

    So a bunch of marginal business were driven out by paid parking, but several of the businesses that came to replace them in are marginal from day 1 and are probably relying on massive subsidies from BXP. On top of that, the metro has been delayed and will probably continue to be delayed until at least 2025. That’s quite a while for the remaining businesses to survive, especially with new developments being built all around Reston. Will Balduccis survive when Wegmans opens? Tune into Hunger Games: Paid Parking Edition to find out.

    • 30yearsinreston

      The original Balducchis (Sutton Place Gourmet) located in Spectrum closed down when Harris Teeters opened
      This one is subsidized by BPX to make their new high rise more attractive
      It will be eventually be replaced by a 7- 11

  • batess

    Having worked in Sales/BD for Oracle and a few others in the area, we stopped taking customers to RTC given the parking debacle.

  • Big Drop

    184 comments are the most I have ever seen on here.

  • Big Drop

    BXP is trading near a five year low. Trump is threatening months, a year to keep part of the government closed. It is getting serious. Reston has a number of major contractors directly or indirectly related to these threats to continue the shutdown. Several thousand apartments recently opened or under construction looking for tenants. Some condos at Town Center are selling for ten + year old prices. Apple warns. Financing is hard to find for commercial projects in China (next bombshell to drop) and locally office leasing is slow in downtown Washington.

    Soon, paid parking and the app may be the least of our concerns.

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