News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Our Brand Is Crisis: Elite RTC Rollout of Elite Paid Parking Going So Well They Hired An Elite Crisis Management Firm

RTC Park 2

RTC LeetSo it's been a quiet few months for our favorite elite plastic fantastic fake downtown. Aside from the community outcry about the shift to planned parking, a few worrisome app privacy issues, and the (now-fixed) creepy ability to access pictures of people coming and going to their cars in the Reston Town Center parking garages from anywhere in the world, we'd say the transition is going just swimmingly. We'd expect nothing less from an elite destination. Just ask Reston Town Center spokespeople Kathy Walsh and Rob Weinhold. Rob?

Rob Weinhold, another RTC parking spokesman, said user security is “critically important to both Passport Inc and RTC, and we take our responsibility to protect that information very seriously.”
But as one clever Internet sleuth figured out, Rob and Kathy aren't employed by Reston Town Center. Instead, they work for the Fallston Group, "a firm that specializes in crisis and issue management consulting." Give us some jargon-laden blockquote, Fallston Group:
Fallston Group, LLC is a highly trusted, executive advisory firm focused on building, strengthening and defending reputations. We operate where leadership, strategy and communications intersect. Reputations are both positively and negatively impacted by many variables. Whether working with clients in a proactive or reactive sense, we engage with velocity and vision while turning adversity into advantage. Fallston Group knows what it takes to get a client into or out of the news, and we are committed to strengthening and protecting our clients’ brands through the development and distribution of core messages that support the story they want told. This gives our clients the confidence and persuasive power to shape stakeholder opinion. Fallston Group team members provide a blend of both executive and operational services to help leaders prepare for, navigate through and recover from issues of adversity and crisis. Many leaders refer to Fallston Group as their “Chief Reputation Officer."
They must get paid by the word.

The company's case studies page includes stories about data breaches, partnership conflicts, and perhaps most troubling of all, the hiring of Jose Canseco by a minor league baseball team. "Paid parking" seems fairly low on the list of corporate crises -- but hey, it's August.

As our Favorite Correspondent, the Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, points out: "Bottom line seems to be that, by hiring this firm, Boston Properties realizes it has an epic PR disaster of titanic proportions on its hands."

The switch to paid parking is scheduled for September 12.


  1. Boston Properties does not understand Reston at all. If they did, there would have been community involvement from the beginning. We don't take kindly to uppity corporate suits telling us what's good for our town.

    1. Right on! If businesses deal with our community with integrity and honesty, they don't need to hire PR firms and shell out big bucks.

      And they won't need to charge for parking.

      Honesty and integrity are good for the bottom line, and community involvement is vital for business success.

  2. it's not like I went to RTC often anyway, given the prices for food and beverages, but as of Sept 12th, they won't see me again.

  3. I went a few times a year - to meet a friend for lunch and shopping. So, now, if we did this, we would have to tack on another $10.00 or more for parking. I highly doubt I'll ever go to RTC again.... I am not paying money to park so I can shop. Too many other stores where I can park for free.

  4. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonAugust 30, 2016 at 5:19 PM

    We need a special song for the occasion. With apologies to "The Sound of Music" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, a reworked Reston version of "So Long, Farewell"

    Cast of characters:

    Rob Weinhold as Captain von Trapp
    Kathy Walsh as Sister Maria
    The RA Board of Directors as the children (Brigitta, Gretel, Marta, Fredrick, Liesel, Kurt, and Louisa)

    There's a new set of parking fees
    From Boston Properties
    And in the corporate suite
    A greedy little group
    Is popping out to say screw you
    Screw you, screw you

    Regretfully they tell us
    But firmly they compel us
    and say pay up
    pay up

    So long, farewell
    Reston Town Center, I'm done
    I'll start to drive to Loudoun One

    So long, farewell
    Why must I download your app
    To pay, to stay
    But the app's a piece of crap

    So long, farewell
    Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
    I leave and cry some
    And then I'm off to Tysons

    So long, farewell
    Au revoir, Auf Wiedersehen
    I'd like to stay
    For my first two hours free
    No way!

    I'm glad to go
    I cannot tell a lie
    I flit, I float
    I leave this sinking boat

    The fun is gone
    And with my feet I vote

    So long, farewell
    Gritty urban core, goodbye


  5. Lol! Incredible!

  6. I wish the people of Reston would actually get out and picket the parking lots. At the very least BOYCOTT the RTC on days that parking is Charged. NO GOING OUT FOR DINNER< NO MOVIES< NO SHOPPING>. Let's see what Boston Properties view is after a few weeks of this.

    1. Alas that would be trespassing, but we can do it just outside the RTC, with a permit of course...

  7. RTC doesn't want the rest of Reston to be there. They are starting the move to isolate RTC and future Metro developments. They want to create a bubble where they control the customer, who they hope will be a more affluent crowd as they keep prices of living high within their complex. After reading their block quotes, they will probably teach them to speak with big words until it becomes it's own language, RTC gibberish.

  8. I don't have, nor do I intend to get a smartphone. I regret missing Passion Fish, but if I read the sings aright, Passion Foods has abandoned their beanery in RTC anyway.

  9. Someone over at has also found evidence of astroturfing. The only good reviews for the app are those posted by BP employees.

  10. Paid parking at RTC now pushed back to January, no doubt to further enhance the elite experience. And Reston Now has reported at least two stores in RTC have closed. Pretty soon Boston Properties can rename RTC something more fitting, say, Tall Oaks West.

    Come on Rob Weinhold, give us some more good Orwellian doublespeak.

  11. Postponing to January? Fine, then THAT'S when I'll stop dining and shopping at RTC. Face it, Boston Properties, the alternatives are reasonably close, so you will only cause harm to your merchants.


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