Ferris Bueller

Paid Parking Slowly Killing Reston Town Center?

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Boston Properties: Reston Construction Workers Have Ample Parking, We've Handled It

BXP says as soon as they heard complaints about construction workers parking on streets around RTC, they reached out to the contractor.

 
By Dan Taylor (Patch Staff) - May 12, 2017 10:53 am ET 

Boston Properties: Reston Construction Workers Have Ample Parking, We've Handled It
 
 

RESTON, VA — Boston Properties told Patch Friday that they've heard the concerns coming from Reston residents about construction workers clogging up area streets, and have reached out to the contractor employing them to make sure there aren't any problems in the future.

Patch reported Thursday that locals were complaining that construction workers at Reston Town Center don't appear to have access to RTC garages and are therefore parking on nearby streets, prompting at least one business to put up a sign telling them not to park there.

Kathy Walsh of Fallston Group, which represents Boston Properties, told Patch that it was simply a miscommunication: construction workers have access to a free parking lot near RTC with several hundred spots, and shouldn't have to park on nearby streets.

"As soon as Boston Properties was made aware of the issue, they reached out to the contractor, who addressed the issue with foremen, just to remind them of the parking guidelines," Walsh said.

She said BXP doesn't want the workers parking at RTC garages because they don't want them to "impact the availability of the parking garages for patrons," and that the free parking lot should have ample parking for them.

Now that workers have been reminded of parking guidelines and the free lot, it shouldn't be an issue in the future, she said.

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Visited RTC recently for the first time since the payment system was implemented.  It was dead on a Thursday night at 5:30.  Really, really dead.  Most of the street traffic consisted of the security guards checking plates and writing tickets.  My favorite part was when a security person was placing a parking ticket on a car and the woman came up screaming "NO! NO! I work for Boston Properites, don't give me a ticket!"  The ticket was removed.

I don't mind paying a nominal fee for parking.  I mind the friction it causes in the retail experience - meaning if I can slide my cc in a meter and be done in 15 seconds, fine.  If I have to download an app, create an account, store cc information, or go through a painful five minute phone call - not so fine.  $6 for two hours also seems a bit rich in the suburbs when the garages and most of the street parking spots were vacant. 

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Sounds like Boston Properties has somewhat given in and is allowing free evening parking and an hour free during the day, according to this story.

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Another perspective from Boston Properties several years ago (2011).  If you have 4 minutes and care to watch this video it is an interesting contrast to 2017.

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5 hours ago, genericeric said:

Sounds like Boston Properties has somewhat given in and is allowing free evening parking and an hour free during the day, according to this story.

Cynical Don Sez ...

"If they could, they would (present tense). If they can, they will (future tense)."

The first order of business is to divert attention away from the current shit-storm.

Man, I need to move to New Zealand or something.

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Free evening parking was such an obvious solution.  The RTC restaurants have a fairly captive audience at lunch but paid parking makes them a less attractive option for dinner. 

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12 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Another perspective from Boston Properties several years ago (2011).  If you have 4 minutes and care to watch this video it is an interesting contrast to 2017.

That link goes to the wrong page.  Do you have a different link from the 2011 source?

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13 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Another perspective from Boston Properties several years ago (2011).  If you have 4 minutes and care to watch this video it is an interesting contrast to 2017.

DaveO - thanks for pointing out, I believe it corrected now.

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One more piece of information based on a poll after yesterday's news:

Majority Say They’ll Go to RTC — With our story Wednesday about changes to parking fees at Reston Town Center, we posted a poll asking whether those changes will make readers more likely to visit the Town Center. With nearly 900 votes on the unscientific poll, about two-thirds of responders said they would. [Reston Now]

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On 5/31/2017 at 3:40 PM, genericeric said:

Sounds like Boston Properties has somewhat given in and is allowing free evening parking and an hour free during the day, according to this story.

It appears that Boston Properties changed their minds (at least partially) as they realized and understood that the "argument" from their own perspective became one of more money or less money.  I bet they realized they were going to lose retail tenants....and not just a few but many.  I suspect installing those parking fees and its implementation was killing business at RTC.  I also suspect they didn't want to buy into that reaction until enough months had gone by and they saw the month after month sales impacts on tenants.

21 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Another perspective from Boston Properties several years ago (2011).  If you have 4 minutes and care to watch this video it is an interesting contrast to 2017.

I watched the video.  I think the first speaker Ray Ritchie was also the person that might have first articulated years ago about a proposed increase in parking fees .  Additionally, the non Boston Properties person in this promotional video  referenced the quality of their efforts, called them one of the premier developers in the nation and a great match.

I'd agree with that assessment of a match between Reston and Boston Properties.  I also knew Ray from decades ago.  Definitely one of the people with the most integrity and better people to work with in the commercial real estate industry in the DC region.   Regardless they are a huge business and a huge developer and somehow their financial team and top decision makers (including Ray or not) decided parking fees would be a great way to make a lot of extra money off of a hugely successful development (let alone this stuff about issues with Metro takers or not).

They were wrong.  That happens.  Now they have reversed their thinking and decision making in part if not in full.  They saw this decision and its implementation were killing the golden goose.  Good for the tenants, good for the folks that work in RTC, good for the Reston and neighbors that they can now go there without most if not all of the Pain In the Arse garbage that Boston Properties installed.   Hopefully RTC is full of people walking, people watching, dining and shopping in the near or immediate future.  If not they better get rid of all the fees ASAP...and even with that I'm sure a certain percentage of people who were once regular visitors at RTC might have found better alternatives and might not be back.

Its been fun to watch.  So glad I haven't been a retail tenant in RTC.  I bet this first part of 2017 has been miserable.

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It is good news that BP decided to modify some of their parking polices but I think some damage has been done. Peoples' habits have had six months to adapt to going other places and more importantly explore new places. When the Reston Metro Station opens up some of the volume of traffic will increase and make up that deficiency but probably not in the same way Tysons Corners 1 mall has had happened. 

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41 minutes ago, lion said:

It is good news that BP decided to modify some of their parking polices but I think some damage has been done. Peoples' habits have had six months to adapt to going other places and more importantly explore new places. When the Reston Metro Station opens up some of the volume of traffic will increase and make up that deficiency but probably not in the same way Tysons Corners 1 mall has had happened. 

A *lot* of very rich, very connected real estate developers are investing a *lot* of money and energy into making Tysons Corner "the next Manhattan" - it wouldn't surprise me at all, largely because I'll be deceased, for it to be *absolutely huge* in 2075. And you know whose land is going to be worth an incredible amount of money? Westwood Country Club.

"Save Evans Farm," my eye. Those bumper stickers will be collectors' items one day, if they aren't already.

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

A *lot* of very rich, very connected real estate developers are investing a *lot* of money and energy into making Tysons Corner "the next Manhattan" - it wouldn't surprise me at all, largely because I'll be deceased, for it to be *absolutely huge* in 2075. And you know whose land is going to be worth an incredible amount of money? Westwood Country Club.

"Save Evans Farm," my eye. Those bumper stickers will be collectors' items one day, if they aren't already.

One non real estate investor who has made a killing and who bought so long ago that you can multiply the "killing" by 10 is Clyde's

I think developing Tyson's is going to take decades and decades.  In fact it won't be the next Roslyn to Ballston as I believe the zoning densities are lower.

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It will be interesting to hear updates in the coming weeks or months from those who may venture back to RTC with the modified parking policy in effect starting tomorrow.  I have mentioned to several people to gauge their reaction and sadly few knew about it. 

I agree with lion that the damage done and it may take some time to change peoples' habits after 6 months of seeking other options and behavioral change.  It is likely many will not come back or if they do on a more modified basis.  As one who frequented the RTC for the past 15+ years on a weekly basis, I have been there less than 10 times since January.  I know I am not the only one and the apparent declines stated from the retail (restaurant/bar/store) establishments seem significant.  You also have to factor in with the concession of an hour free as well as after 5 PM, the people who work at RTC in offices or for the retail sector are still being charged, so the BP conglomerate is still seeing significant revenue from forced parking that was not there previously.  

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Interesting development with Jackson's lawsuit. 

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RTC was pretty busy for Father's Day lunch today. I wouldn't say as busy as in the past or as busy for a Mother's Day. ;)

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I have heard from misc business owners that business is still way off - You have to figure the initial costs for the "advanced" parking system as well as the contracts for all the monitoring and ticketing staff, signage, and that ParkRTC app, had to cost a decent amount of $$ that would have been recouped over a specified amount of time with revenue of the paid parking system.  Tough situation for the business owners, directly affected plus all the others who frequent or used to frequent RTC.

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Decided to venture out to RTC and grab a quick bite at Uncle Julio's before a meeting this evening.  On both the way in, parking by the Orange Garage, and on the way out I encountered several people walking around aimlessly trying to figure out how the download the "ParkRTC" app and pay for parking.  Since it was 6 PM when we arrived and 7:15 PM when we left I simply mentioned to them parking was free after 5 PM.  People were obviously relieved - new signage for the FREE after 5 PM may be in the works, but as currently posted it is not nearly enough.  In any case, the RTC was pretty busy for a Summer Tuesday and Jackson's, Mon Ami, Uncle Julio's and The Counter were all decently busy...the busiest I have noticed in months.

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On 6/20/2017 at 8:20 PM, Ferris Bueller said:

Decided to venture out to RTC and grab a quick bite at Uncle Julio's before a meeting this evening.  On both the way in, parking by the Orange Garage, and on the way out I encountered several people walking around aimlessly trying to figure out how the download the "ParkRTC" app and pay for parking.  Since it was 6 PM when we arrived and 7:15 PM when we left I simply mentioned to them parking was free after 5 PM.  People were obviously relieved - new signage for the FREE after 5 PM may be in the works, but as currently posted it is not nearly enough.  In any case, the RTC was pretty busy for a Summer Tuesday and Jackson's, Mon Ami, Uncle Julio's and The Counter were all decently busy...the busiest I have noticed in months.

As of last week when I was there, the app was still accepting payments after 5 as well.  Seems that for the time being, the proverbial tree has fallen in the empty forest.

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