News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

At Elite RTC, Park Like A Butterfly, Get Clamped Like A Bee (Updated)


As Reston starts a new, somehow even more elite year, our fabulous fake downtown has, in fact, implemented paid parking. But what if you forget, or maybe "forget," to download the fabulous Park RTC app, follow the 34-step registration process which at least probably doesn't translate your personal information into Cyrillic for the convenience of our new Russian data overlords, and then use your stubby fingers to (hopefully) enter your license plate number? What fresh hell awaits parking scofflaws in our new world order?

They won't boot your car, silly rabbits! That's like something you'd see in a real icky downtown, where poors people might not even have the means to pay for a smartphone and data plan to manage their parking when they pull their late model domestic vehicles over to stop at a "bodega," or whatever, because they don't have elite midscale chain shopping options like cupcakeries and gourmet salad places. Instead, you'll experience a premium parking enforcement experience:

Repeat offenders could be stuck with the “bumblebee,” a device that is suctioned to the windshield so a driver cannot see out to drive a car away. To get the device removed, they must call security and pay a $35 fee.
No word on whether the suction cups are made of premium velvet.

The funny thing is that this device is usually called a "barnacle." But we guess the elite crisis management team advising RTC decided that sounded too crusty and reminiscent of non-elite seaside villages where a different class of people say things like "chowda" and "wicked sad bah scene," so they "rebranded" our parking immobilizer of choice to fit in with our more sophisticated sensibilities.

We haven't seen our first bumblebee in the wild as of yet, as we carb-binged on midscale chain appetizers over the weekend while parking was still free. And the crisis management folks said that they'd gradually ramp up enforcement. But just as certain as spring, they're coming.

Update: The RTC crisis management charm offensive continues. Feast your eyes on this explanation of how to (maybe) get your parking validated.

Easy Peasy

Somehow this Proustian explanation doesn't include the actually useful tidbit that not all validations are valid in all RTC garages (what?), but that's somewhat moot since our eyes glazed over somewhere around the fifth line of text until the all-caps SESSION OPTIONS jolted us awake again, the end.


  1. Stupid crap, why even go there

  2. Probably the greatest reason yet to skip the RTC.

  3. Today I had a lunch meeting and intentionally chose RTC as the venue to try out the parking situation.. without getting the app. My goal was to determine how inconvenient it might be. Well, I can report that the situation is worse than I imagined...
    1. Along with a cash kiosk, there is a credit card kiosk, but this fancy-pants touchscreen is actually an interface to establish a ParkRTC username and (type it twice!) password. It is not the typical "give me your license plate info, slide your card, and pay a set amount of time" interface. So, with my mission to avoid getting an app, I moved onto option..
    2. The cash machine. Ok, this was better, in that it only asked for my license plate info. Fair enough. And the kiosk claimed that it accepts 1s, 5s, 10s and 20s.. so that's pretty good. But it all went to hell when "cash only. no change given" is the big orange sticker you read next. My desired time was 2 hours, I wanted to pay $4.00 ..but I had two singles and a few twenties on me, cuz that's how I roll. So, I bought one hour of parking, and came back one hour and 45 minutes later. I did not have to dislodge a bumblebee or a barnacle, but despite Boston Properties' leniency I shall never visit RTC during the workweek again. My expense account buys plenty o' meals and drinks, but no longer at RTC. Obviously it's not about the money.. it's about the inconvenience and the hubris.

  4. Safelite repair, Safelite replace...

  5. We had our farewell dinners at Clyde's and at Passion Fish. Won't be using RTC again.

  6. On a positive note, parking is still free at the McTaco Hut! Yeah for that!

  7. What else would you expect in a "downtown" patrolled by mall cops?

  8. Boycott RTC. It's not just the money, it's the ridiculous inconvenience. Now we have to add 15 minutes to every trip to pay for parking. Nothing about the way they have implemented this is straightforward or simple. They have already lost my business as I have opted to go elsewhere rather than deal with this crap. I usually spend way too much money shopping at RTC, but guess what all of the stores I visit are also located at nearby malls -- which all have free parking. Such a short sighted business decision by these greedy thugs.

  9. Felt like ScubaDiver -- last dinner at Clyde's in Reston. Pretty sad but I refuse to give the RTC money. This is unbelievably stupid. I refuse to install their dumb ap on my phone. Good riddance. Greedy thugs is right. I don't recognize Reston anymore.

  10. Date Night last night. Ate at Red's Table. Oysters were as good as those from Passion Fish.

    Sorry Passion Fish, sorry Clydes.

    Sorry Cornerstones' Capitol Steps fund raiser. Ya gotta' change your venue before I support your fundraiser again.

  11. We lived for years in Reston as it got worse and worse and worse before retiring to the Shenandoah Valley. If we had to do it again we would live near Annapolis where we visited a lot. Annapolis is at least an authentic historical community and not some farmland developed overnight in the 1960s and falling apart today.

  12. Totally agree. Reston sucks! Ridiculous RTC expecting payment for garage parking! Why should private developers make a profit! Why can't it be free? As a matter of fact, why can't my lunch be free? Why can't the government just pay for parking on my behalf?

    1. Actually, anon, besides debating the merits of a community deciding if their parking should be free over that of a private out of state corp, I know of at least two parking lots and one garage owned by the government that allows free parking overnight. I also know of many banks who do the same with their lots. In dc metro, not out in the burbs.. I like to call it the good neighbor concept. Instead of soaking everyone to the last dime.

    2. The market will speak loud and clear. When the merchants and restaurants leave, those fancy new condos will suddenly become much less desirable. This was stupid, short-sighted "thinking" by RTC.

  13. Plenty of free parking at Lake Anne. And Kalypso's and Singh Thai are both as good as if not better than anything at RTC. Oh and we have a brewpub and a wine bar now too, plus a great bookstore.


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