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by Dave Emke — January 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 31 Comments

Orange parking garage, Reston Town Center

While public response to paid parking at Reston Town Center remains decidedly negative, the number of people who have downloaded the ParkRTC app continues to grow.

Rob Weinhold, a spokesperson for Town Center owner Boston Properties, reports that more than 42,000 downloads of the app have been made as of Wednesday morning. That number is up significantly from 28,000 on Jan. 3, the day paid parking went into effect.

Parking in the Town Center had been free since it opened in 1990. Since the paid-parking initiative began last week, it now costs $2 per hour in parking garages and $3 per hour on the street. Parking in garages is free on weekends; street parking is free on Sunday only.

Visitors who do not wish to use the app can use pay stations at the entrances to each garage.

In the week since paid parking began, at least one business — The Bike Lane — has publicly announced its intention to leave the Town Center.

In addition to concerns over the cost of parking itself, dissenters have brought up questions about privacy and app security. Town Center officials have responded to those queries, saying the app is perfectly safe to use.

by Dave Emke — January 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm 45 Comments

The Bike Lane has been serving its customers in Reston Town Center for going on nine years.

Now, the owners of the store say they are actively seeking to leave because of the Town Center’s new paid-parking initiative.

In a recent Facebook post, The Bike Lane said its customers should not be forced to pay to shop there — and because that is now the case, they want to set up shop elsewhere.

“We believe in providing our customers with an amazing shopping experience and we do not agree with charging for parking. We are actively looking to relocate The Bike Lane in or around Reston and we will keep you updated about our future plans as they progress.”

Todd Mader owns the shop along with his wife, Anne. He tells Reston Now they only have a little over a year left on a 10-year lease and they have every intention of leaving early.

“This is not the experience we want our customers to have, to come in here during the week and battle with a parking app,” Mader said. “They come in here to buy a $10 inner tube and now they’re paying $12.”

The store is offering customers in-store credits and gift cards to compensate them for weekday parking. But Mader said in the long run, the hassle isn’t worth it when the store can just relocate.

We were hoping parking wouldn’t be a big deal,” he said. “But if given the opportunity to move sooner rather than later, we’d do that.”

Mader said the parking situation has never been ideal for many of his customers, who may have bicycles attached to the roof or the back of their vehicle and may therefore find parking garages difficult to navigate. Now that it costs by the hour as well, he’s had enough.

“Having a space that’s more traditional, open-air shopping… that’s more what we’re looking for,” Mader said.

Social media backlash has been heavy on Reston Town Center and its owner, Boston Properties, because of the new parking fees, with many people threatening a “boycott.” However, Mader said the result of that hurts businesses such as his more than anyone.

“That’s not hurting [the Town Center and Boston Properties], not directly anyway. That’s hurting the merchant — big and small,” he said. “There is a noticeable drop in the plaza during the week. Friday night was dead, in the restaurants and in foot traffic.”

Mader said his hope is to relocate the store within a mile of its current location, so it can continue to serve its loyal patrons.

“We’re overwhelmed by the support of our customers,” he said. “We want to make it very convenient for people to find us and continue to shop with us.”

by Jennifer van der Kleut — January 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm 30 Comments

Reston Runners courtesy photo from website

The Reston Runners have ended their tradition of gathering at Reston Town Center, citing parking fees that went into effect this week as the reason.

The local running club has long met at the Potomac River Running Store on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to begin their group runs. The store has served as something of a flagship for the group, as it even sells Reston Runners gear and gives discounts to members. The store also regularly sponsors some of the club’s events, such as the annual Runner’s Marathon of Reston.

However, now that Reston Town Center has begun charging for weekday parking, the club says it feels the fees would deter members from coming out. In response, they have decided to move their meeting location to Reston Sport and Health in Isaac Newton Square.

“For decades, Reston Town Center was a welcoming place where the community could gather freely,” Reston Runners member Dennis Hays told Reston Now. “We are saddened this is no longer the case.”

Hays said the club looks forward to continuing to partner with PRR for other events.

PRR has said it will validate one hour of parking to weekday customers who spend at least $20 in the store, and recently appealed to locals to continue supporting businesses such as theirs.

“We hope you’ll continue to support PR and shop local so that we can continue to create and expand the local walking and running community,” the store said on social media this week. “Getting active transforms lives — it would be a shame for parking get in the way.”

Hays said the club looks forward to its new partnership with Reston Sport and Health, and invites all to come out for their runs, scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. in the new location.

“All runners and walkers in the community, or just visiting the area, are welcome to participate,” he said.

Photo via RestonRunners.org

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by Dave Emke — January 4, 2017 at 2:45 pm 107 Comments

ParkRTC sign in Reston Town Center

If you pay attention to Reston on social media, you’ve seen a firestorm in the past couple days.

Tweeters and Facebookers alike have responded en masse after paid parking went into effect Tuesday at Reston Town Center. The new paid-parking initiative has many customers of Town Center businesses saying they are staging a boycott.

Nearly 20 restaurants and retailers in the Town Center are validating parking for customers. Rob Weinhold, a spokesperson for Town Center owner Boston Properties, said Wednesday that those businesses are seeing the benefits of helping consumers pay the cost.

It’s been an ongoing issue, and one of the concerns that retailers in any paid parking environment across the world have is what will it do to profits,” he said. “There are many retailers who have chosen to work within their business model and provide validation to consumers, which has worked out well for them.”

One of those businesses is Potomac River Running Store, which posted to social media Tuesday that it is validating one hour of parking for customers who make a purchase of $20 or more.

“As a locally-owned, independent store selling national brands, we cannot and will not raise our prices to cover the cost of parking for our customers,” the post reads. “But, at our expense, we will validate your parking when you shop at ==PR== Reston, because it’s the right thing to do for you.”

Other businesses, such as Starbucks, have chosen to not validate parking. Melina Palomino, a shift manager at the coffee shop, said as most of their customers are coming in on their way to or from work or shopping, they don’t see validation as necessary to their business. Palomino and others said business was slow Tuesday, but they attributed that to an expected post-holiday lull rather than to the parking situation.

Weinhold said many businesses in the Town Center continue to evaluate the situation to see how they can best work within the new parking rules.

Reston Town Center is a fantastic environment with a wonderful retail and dining experience,” he said. “I would think that certainly there’s a level of quality which no one wants compromised.”

Judging from response online, however, many people feel it already has been.

A Tuesday post on Reston Town Center’s Facebook page reminding people about the policy change had more than 275 comments as of 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. RTC staff has been diligently responding to many of the comments on that post and others on the page. Questions about parking validation and app security were among the many that were answered, though a number of commenters simply said they were done with RTC because of the decision.

RTC ambassadors were present at pay stations inside parking garages Tuesday and Wednesday to help users with any questions. Weinhold said he was at Reston Town Center throughout the day Tuesday and witnessed no major concerns.

While there are people that don’t necessarily agree with the policy, which is understandable, from an operating perspective the day was a success,” he said.

by Dave Emke — January 3, 2017 at 10:15 am 92 Comments

Parking garage at Reston Town Center

The date has arrived. As of today, visitors to Reston Town Center are paying for the right to park there.

The ParkRTC paid parking initiative has officially begun, a Boston Properties official told Reston Now. Mobile pay parking is available through the ParkRTC smartphone app, while visitors without the app will be required to use garage pay stations or pay by phone.

RTC Parking signParking in the Town Center’s five garages will now cost $2 an hour (up to a maximum charge of $24 a day). Street parking is $3 an hour. A number of retailers have previously announced they plan to offer parking validation.

This marks the first time since the retail and residential complex opened in 1990 that parking fees will be collected.

The ParkRTC app, which can be downloaded via iTunes and Google Play, enables visitors to see available spaces, pay for a parking session, extend a parking session and receive discounts from retailers. According to Robert Weinhold, a Boston Properties spokesperson, more than 28,000 people had downloaded the app as of Tuesday morning.

Boston Properties, the owner of Reston Town Center, had originally announced it planned to commence paid parking at Reston Town Center last year. However, the start date was pushed back to Jan. 3 to allow “additional time to educate consumers” who were not embracing the technology, an RTC spokesman told Reston Now in September.

Nearly 9,000 people signed a change.org petition, organized by Reston’s Suzanne Zurn, asking to stop the new parking fees from being enacted at the Town Center. However, Boston Properties and the Reston Town Center Association did not bend on the plan.

Last month, Reston Now conducted an unscientific poll in which nearly 94 percent of readers said they do not support paid parking at the Town Center.

by Jennifer van der Kleut — January 3, 2017 at 9:15 am 2 Comments

Morning Notes - Winter

Reston Association Board Candidate Info Session Tomorrow — Anyone considering running for one of the four seats on the Reston Association Board of Directors is invited to attend a candidate information session Wednesday evening. Terms will begin in April. All candidate forms and applications for those wishing to be on the ballot must be turned in by Jan. 27. [Reston Now]

My, How You’ve Grown, Reston! — The U.S. Census Bureau has released five years’ worth of data about Reston and its residents, and the numbers show just how much the planned community has grown. Among the highlights in the information is a 7,000-person increase in population and a median household income that has surpassed $100,000. [Reston Patch]

Herndon Man Dies After NYE Hotel Roof Fall — A 23-year-old Herndon man died shortly after midnight on New Year’s in an incident on the roof of his Dupont Circle hotel. Reports indicate John Leonard was on the roof of his hotel when he fell into a boiler shaft and plummeted 10 stories. [Washington Post]

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by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

New Year's Day 5K 2015/Courtesy: PR Running FlickrIf your New Year’s resolutions include being more active or perhaps running a 5K or marathon, then Reston Town Center is where you might want to be on Sunday.

Once again this year, the shopping center will be the starting and finishing points for the New Year’s Day 5K, sponsored by Potomac River Running, PR Races, Dunkin’ Donuts and Commonwealth Race Management.

Even better, you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn after a night of countdown celebrations, because the race begins at 10 a.m.

The race will be professionally timed by Commonwealth Race Management and racers will be given ChronoTrack B disposable tags. The full results of the race will be posted online following the event.

Cash awards of $150, $100 and $50 will be presented to the top three male and female race finishers in each of several age categories. In addition, anyone who pre-registers for the race will receive a long-sleeved “tech” t-shirt.

Parking at Reston Town Center will be free on New Year’s Day. Strollers and dogs are prohibited along the race route.

High-resolution photos of racers will be taken by Potomac River Running and will be available for downloading for free on the store’s Flickr page after the race.

Potomac River Running is looking for volunteers to help with the event. Those interested in volunteering should email [email protected].

Advance registration is $35 and will be open until 8 p.m. on Dec. 30 online. Registration will be available for $40 during packet pickup, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 31. at Reston Town Center. Runners can register in person on race day for $40 if the event is not sold out.

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by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 23, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Ice skating at Reston Town Center Families looking for something to do after presents are opened on Christmas Day can lace up skates at Reston Town Center.

The Ice Skating Pavilion at Reston Town Center (1818 Discovery St.) is scheduled to open every day over the extended Christmas holiday weekend.

Here are the hours over the holidays:

  • Christmas Eve (Saturday): 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Christmas Day (Sunday): Noon to 11 p.m.
  • Dec. 26-29: Normal operating hours.
  • New Year’s Eve (Saturday, Dec. 31): 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • New Year’s Day (Sunday, Jan. 1): 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

For more information on skate rentals, hours and pricing, visit the Ice Skating Pavilion website.

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by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm 7 Comments

Michael Jesse McLong (Photo via Fairfax County Police)A 28-year-old man was arrested after a worker at the Carlton House condos at Reston Town Center told police that the individual broke into the building this week, according to authorities.

Michael Jesse McLong, who has no fixed address, was charged with burglary and possession of burglary tools in connection with the break-in Monday.

The Carlton House employee called the cops to report that a man had forced his way into the building on the 11800 block of Sunset Hills Road about 9 p.m. that day, police said. Authorities later found McLong and took him to the the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Photo via Fairfax County Police

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by Andrew Ramonas — December 21, 2016 at 3:50 pm 8 Comments

Blood drive (Photo via Reston Town Center)Locals looking to help D.C.-area hospital patients in need can donate some of their blood at Reston Town Center in the coming days.

Inova is scheduled to have a blood drive beside the RTC pavilion Tuesday, Dec. 27, from noon to 7 p.m., according to an event announcement.

Potential donors are encouraged to go online or call 866-256-6372 to register.

Photo via Reston Town Center

by Tim Regan — December 21, 2016 at 2:45 pm 2 Comments

Photo via Facebook / Naughty or Nice Pub CrawlCostumed revelers are set to flock to Reston Town Center tonight for an annual bar-hopping event.

The “Naughty or Nice Pub Crawl” is scheduled to kick off at Reston’s Ted’s Bulletin (11948 Market St.) at 7 p.m. this evening.

In previous years, the pub crawl has attracted crowds of people in Santa hats, ugly sweaters and other holiday-themed costumes. This year’s festivities includes appetizers, bagpipe performances and costume contests.

Read more about the pub crawl from its Facebook event page:

Join the Northern Virginia FOOLS for our annual Naughty or Nice Pub Crawl through Reston Town Center.

We will be starting at Ted’s Bulletin at 7pm and the Northern Virginia Firefighters Emerald Society Pipe Band will lead us on the crawl at 8pm sharp. Expect to crawl to 4-5 bars while filling the air with bagpipes and drums along the way.

Prizes for Naughtiest and Nicest outfits will be announced at the last bar.

$20 to join the crawl. Price includes appetizers at the various bars. More importantly, you will be donating to our Second Watch Program, which is for helping out our brother and sisters in their time of need.

by Andrew Ramonas — December 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm 0

New Year's Day 5K 2015/Courtesy: PR Running FlickrIf getting in shape is your New Year’s resolution, a 5K race in Reston on the first day of 2017 might help.

Potomac River Running once again is holding its New Year’s Day 5K on Jan. 1 at 10 a.m. The run begins and ends at Reston Town Center.

Runners only will use town center streets and Reston Association paths, keeping major roads open. The running store will have food and music at Reston Town Center after the race.

Online registration for the 5K is $35.

Life Time Athletic in Reston also is having a Jan. 1 Commitment Day fun run and festival that is open to non-members.

Photo via Flickr/Potomac River Running

by Andrew Ramonas — December 8, 2016 at 4:20 pm 1 Comment

Bow Tie Cinemas Reston Town Center 11 (Photo via Reston Town Center)

A Reston movie theater is set to show holiday classics this month.

The Bow Tie Cinemas Reston Town Center 11 (11940 Market St.) is scheduled to screen “A Christmas Story” this Saturday and Sunday and “It’s a Wonderful Life” the following weekend. The movies start at 11 a.m.

“See the classics how they were meant to be seen — on the big screen!” according to Reston Town Center’s website.

Tickets are $5.50.

Photo via Reston Town Center

by Andrew Ramonas — December 8, 2016 at 10:20 am 102 Comments

Park RTC (Image via Reston Town Center)

Reston Town Center is set to start collecting parking fees Jan. 3 for the first time since it opened in 1990, the retail and residential complex announced yesterday.

The paid parking system, which was beset by months of delays, will require visitors to the center to pay $2 an hour on weekdays, with a maximum of $24 a day. Parking will remain free on Saturdays and Sundays, and there will be validation and discounts from retailers that will bring costs down.

RTC owner Boston Properties is encouraging drivers to use the free ParkRTC App to make parking payments. But motorists without the app can use one of four garage pay stations or call 571.485.7790 to pay for parking.

Do you support paid parking at the center? You can weigh in through the poll and in the comments.

Image via Reston Town Center

by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 8, 2016 at 8:35 am 0

sunrise-over-reston-via-twitter-by-jgs

Commercial Trucks Pulled Out of Service for Safety Violations — Fairfax County Police randomly chose 10 commercial trucks operating in Reston on Tuesday and inspected them for safety compliance. Authorities found 35 safety violations, and four trucks were taken out of service for “serious safety violations.” [FCPD]

Hernon Residents Show Holiday Spirit in Annual Home Tour — Residents throughout the area showcased some of their favorite holiday decorations during the annual Holiday Homes Tour of Herndon. [Reston Connection]

What Lurks in the Woods of Reston? — Local authors Eric MacDicken and Kristina S. Alcorn will sign copies of and speak about their new book, “Myths and Monsters of Reston, Virginia,” at Scrawl Books independent bookstore (11862 Market St.) at Reston Town Center this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. The book details “the phenomenal and frightening findings” of “what lurks in the woods of Reston.” [Scrawl Books]

Winter Coat Closet Open For Residents in Need  The annual Hunter Mill District Winter Coat Closet is now open for underprivileged local residents to come and get a warm winter coat if they cannot afford to buy one. Coats are available now through March 18 in the Community Room of the North County Governmental Building (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The Closet is also in need of donations of new as well as clean, gently-used coats, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves through Feb. 16, 2017. [Cornerstones]

Photo of sunrise over Reston via Twitter user @JGS.

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