As Reston Town Center merchants continue to consider legal options to address the excessively convenient and inexpensive paid parking now in place in Reston's gritty urban core, they're getting a lot of attention. Watch some Action McNews teevee coverage, which includes this statement from the crisis managers:
Now a Facebook group called Park Free RTC is planning a protest march on March 4, which apparently involves 1) Vapiano's, that noted symbol of the Resistance, and 2) wrist bands.
It sounds nice, but here's the problem: RTC is private property, and as such, the same property rights that allow them to chase away photographers (and the homeless) mean they really have no obligation to allow anyone to protest anything. It's all a bit muddled, but while we may think of it as our fake downtown, Fountain Square is no more a public place than the coin-encrusted fountains in the middle of what the old-timers used to call "shopping malls." You're more than welcome to spend money there, but don't think about raising a ruckus.
As more and more of what we think of as public space has been privatized -- in Reston and elsewhere -- this has become a real problem, and all the woonerf in the world won't fix it.
But on the other hand, it allows us to make fun of urbanphobic Ashburn residents like this:
Come to think of it, "stressful city-like shopping center" isn't a bad description of RTC at all, the end.