News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, March 21, 2016

Want to Make Restonians Angry? Take Away Free Parking In Their Fake Downtown (Updated)

Angry RTC

Restonians are mad as hell, and they're not going to take it any more signing an online petition asking the monopoly owner of their fake downtown gritty urban core to not act like... well, the monopoly owner of a fake downtown gritty urban core by charging for parking. Give us some good blockquote, fancy online petition:

Reston Town Center has the ability to be a new up and coming, vibrant community ... but not if they go through with this new money grabbing scheme. This new plan makes Tyson's and the Dulles Toll Road a much more viable alternative for most people who might otherwise stop in the Town Center, killing business and ultimately costing RTC more money than they will make on parking.

According to their new proposed pay parking plan, visitors as well as EMPLOYEES of the Town Center will have to download an app and pay a monthly, hourly, or daily fee just to park in the numerous parking garages to help cut down on "commuter parking abuse" where commuters park in RTC for free and then take a shuttle bus to the nearest metro station.

Tyson's Corner had a similar issue with commuter abuse, and they figured out a way to prevent commuters from free loading on parking without penalizing the visitors and employees.

Does RTC really think part time and full time hourly paid employees have extra cash to pay for parking? The retailers, restaurants, and businesses already pay an exorbitant amount in rent, and it's just not right to expect them to have to pay even more to subsidize their employees' and customers' parking.

Sign this petition to tell the Boston Properties to find a better solution to the commuter parking abuse problem that doesn't penalize the patrons and employees of Reston Town Center.

The threat idea of paid parking at RTC has been kicked around since back in ought-12, which, coincidentally is right around when Boston Properties bought up the last pieces our our ersatz downtown it didn't already own. But as the petition says, it's being messaged described as an attempt to deal with commuters. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:
RTC spokeswoman Marion Myers says there is already evidence that people are parking at Town Center and taking shuttles to Dulles International Airport or Whiele-Reston East’s Metro station and leaving cars for hours or even overnight.

With a Reston Town Center Metro station coming in 2020, there needs to be a new system in place, she said.

“We are looking for some solutions to protect parking for office [employees] and store customers,” said Myers.

Part of the solution apparently involves charging employees. Fortunately, there's an app for that, and a complex process for people who don't have those fancy, whazzitcalled, smartphones:
“You don’t have to use the app, there will be kiosks where you can pay by cash or credit card,” said Myers. “If you go into the garage and park without registering your license, an orange light will flash overhead and security will be alerted. You’ll have 15 or so minutes to get to the kiosk and register. If you don’t, security will put a warning and info on how the system works on your windshield.”
Can't wait for the warning klaxons to buzz, alerting security to converge on our car as soon as they finish up with other pressing matters.

RTC says that business owners are thrilled with the proposed change. To see just how thrilled, enjoy some more blockquote from our BFFs at Reston Now:

Claude Anderson, corporate operations manager at Clyde’s of Reston, says he is confused and angry at a “total disregard for our guests and our employees through this disguised money grab.”

“With a Reston Town Center [Metro] station not coming until 2020, it seems that they could have thought through a better plan to accomplish their aim of stopping commuter abuse,” said Anderson.

Assuming that's the real motivation.

Paid parking could begin by late summer -- though weekends and holidays would remain free. As of Monday morning, 43 people had signed the online petition. As you might expect, people are delighted:

Work part time. Sometimes I don't make $50.00 in a shift . Just left working in DC because I couldn't afford to work and pay anymore.

Then there's this:
As someone who has been planning to move to Reston for years, I'm rethinking my decision now that I'll be forced to pay for access to the one amenity that comes close to approximating urban living and would otherwise have eased the blow of moving to suburbia. I currently visit RTC while passing through the area to pick up lunch or run a quick shopping errand; those days will stop entirely if the parking policy truly gets implemented.
We'd debate the "approximating urban living" part, but the cash grab itself? Appropriately GRITTY.

Update: We missed the much larger petition on, which now has nearly 2,000 signatures. A choice, if unsubstantiatable, comment:

These fees will generate $250,000 in income PER WEEK for Boston Properties - this has nothing to with commuter parking - this is pure greed
There's also a Facebook group, if you're into such things.


  1. The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.

    Greed is right.

    Greed works.

    Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

    Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.

    --RTC management

  2. Who would have guessed that when a private shopping/office center, not a public civic space, is the acknowledged "downtown" of your community, the private owners of that space will attempt to maximize their profits from it? It's truly an outrage!

  3. Has Boston Properties demonstrated the level of commuter parking abuse? Why not impound those vehicles, with the impound fees going to work something else out. The large garages at Tysons Corner Center are still free, but have what look like timed LED lights to track how long a vehicle is parked. I do not see hordes of commuters packing the 505 Connector bus to Wiehle from the bus depot across the street.

  4. Those of us on a budget will now have to seek out other entertainment options.

  5. I kind of hope they do put those fees in place. There are a lot of other locations in Reston to go to. This might breathe some life back into the "other" Reston, the parts that are not all towers and overpriced restaurants. Though I would miss the ever classy "World of Beer" and their beer-o-rama and big pretzels, oh, and of course the movie stars :-) .

  6. Vote with your feet. Don't patronize RTC. Maybe there's hope for Tall Oaks after all...

  7. The only place I will miss in RTC is Passion Fish. Oh, and the Capitol Steps performance put in by Reston Interfaith.

    Montmartre in Lake Anne, Red's Table in South Lakes, Europa in Herndon will do fine. L'Auberge Chez Francoise will profit from Passion Fish's loss.

  8. I think the facts are clear: the metro commuter argument is a red herring, BP believes that the area will tolerate this fee in suburbia, and dissent is a mix of neighbors who see this as greedy or simply harmful to RTC and Reston as a whole. As no similar town centers or malls nearby charge, I feel that this is a major miscalculation by BP. Even the genuinely urban spots like Ballston (currently under reconstruction) only charged a nominal $1 fee for short visits, actually undercutting on-street parking fees, to encourage visits. The fee rose quickly after 3 hours, of course, to deter or be properly compensated for commuter parking. The RTC plan, by comparison, is out of step with reality. I wonder if tenants will use this change to successfully break leases if they see a traffic drop.

  9. Reston Town Center has gone too upscale. It seems to cater more to the Great Falls crowd now.

  10. How about free parking for people who pay RA dues?

    1. Reston Town Center is a separate entity from Reston Association. RTC could care less as to whether RA members pay their assessments or not.

  11. "the monopoly owner"

    Yes. They built it. They own it. Now they want to control who uses it. That's so wrong! It must be stopped!

    Tonight I am going to come and park my car in Restonian's driveway. I hope he is not the sort of greedy monopoly owner who will object to other people making free use of his property.

  12. Or come ON over to Herndon - 120+ restaurants, almost all locally owned and cuisine from all ove the world, fun pubs downtown and oh yeah - Parking's ON us!

  13. This has happened in Tysons. I have to pay $6.00 to park in the garage next to the Ritz Carlton to see my doctor. It looks like it's within walking distance of the Tysons Station. Garage is always full. Total rip off. It will make a lot of us think twice before going to the town center for anything.

  14. What happened to rtc ?? Going to Herndon

  15. The face you make when you realize you'll have to forgo Jackon's mojitos - but seriously, I think this is the beginning of the end for the once famed RTC. With Tysons (free) and Loudoun, I feel like there were be a lot of "in between" places to go without the pay-to-park. But who knows - even though they deny it, Tysons has installed gate entries to all their garages. Owning a car is getting expensive around here! And I'm not talking about taxes! I posted this up on a local car event calendnar I run ( for those looking to network) and they weren't having it. I don't think I am either.


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