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Starting the 1st week of 2017, Reston Town Center instituted a new paid parking policy utilizing a proprietary parking application and somewhat bizarre method of color-specific parking locations.  Apparently people who oppose the policy are voicing their position by not frequenting the numerous businesses there.  

The local printed press has recently been paying more attention: 

"Town Center Merchants Considering Lawsuit over Paid Parking" by Dave Emke on restonnow.com

The local TV news media is slowly keying into it as well: 

"Reston Town Center Businesses, Residents, Push Back on Paid Parking" on fox5dc.com

 

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This is a huge issue locally and will probably go national: Boston Properties (BXP) is a publicly traded company which reported after 4:00 on Tuesday and had their conference call on Weds. morning.  There was no mention of any problems at Town Center.  

There are also 1,600 or so apartments and condos at Town Center who must be having similar problems.  

The result of both is that this afternoon @3:00PM (when street parking was $3.00 an hour and a complicated app to pay it) there were, perhaps, 35-40 people around the skating rink.  I would guess that a similar day a year ago would have had well over 100, perhaps 200.

Bottom line to everyhting is that Clarity, Red's Table, One Loudoun and Tysons are among the beneficiaries of Boston Properties decision.

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Last I read, there are 60 or so RTC businesses meeting today to discuss situation.  Hopefully those empowered at BP will listen and reconsider parking position.  Reston is not LA or DC or NYC and to have a paid parking system implemented as it was done seems silly.  There are many other options with few, if any, charging for parking in a suburban shopping area that is convenient but far from unique.  

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We haven't been there since paid parking went into effect. Sweet Green was probably my most frequent stop in RTC  but just go to the one in Mosaic if over in that neck of the woods. Also have been going to Vienna more frequently for Chopt and Taco Bamba or 100 Bowls of Soup and Mom's organic market in Herndon. 

I can understand paid parking in the future at the Wiehle Avenue metro stop for going to  Founding Farmers when it opens up. However they have kiosks and charge a low amount. This entire need to download an app and that nonsense is very off putting. 

The tenants should sue Boston Properties. 

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Boston Properties' representative said late last week that 70,000 people have downloaded the app.  I wonder if all 70,000 read the following in the next to the last paragraph of the "Terms and Conditions":
"By using the Platform, you agree that the statutes and laws of the United States and the State of North Carolina without regard to conflicts of laws principles, will apply to all matters relating to use of the Platform and the Services, and you agree that any litigation shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state or federal courts in Wake County, North Carolina, USA." 
 
It actually says that the "laws of....North Carolina....will apply..."
 
So...how many people parking at Reston Town Center know that if there is a legal problem, by using the app they have agreed to resolve it legally in North Carolina?  
 
And, for all those reading this, have any of you ever parked anywhere that you would have to agree to "Terms and Conditions" like these before you could park?  The "Terms and Conditions" are 13 pages long when printed.
 
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9 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

There are many other options with few, if any, charging for parking in a suburban shopping area that is convenient but far from unique.  

I'm not saying that they way they implemented it isn't colossally stupid, but there's certainly a trend in dense suburban locations that charge for parking. In MoCo, Bethesda, Rockville, and Silver Spring all have paid parking.

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17 minutes ago, DanielK said:

I'm not saying that they way they implemented it isn't colossally stupid, but there's certainly a trend in dense suburban locations that charge for parking. In MoCo, Bethesda, Rockville, and Silver Spring all have paid parking.

This is different.  Bethesda involves meters and perhaps a credit card.  If Reston had done this, probably this thread wouldn't exist.  They have an "app" which involves a number of steps to use along with several minutes each time it is used.  At Reston Town Center you need a smartphone.to park on the street (although not in a garage where you can use a kiosk although not every garage has one). As I noted above there are "terms and conditions" which you have to agree to if you use it.    There are also other complications such as $3.00 an hour to park on the street including Saturday while a garage is $2.00 an hour and Saturdays are free.  Please read the "terms and conditions."  They are breathtaking.  There may be more than 1,000 posts on Reston Town Center's Facebook page with virtually every one negative. https://www.facebook.com/RestonTownCenter/?fref=hovercard

There are no meters, no gates, no tickets.  Nothing traditional.  This is parking for the 22nd Century.  Except we're in the 21st.

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9 hours ago, Joe H said:

This is different.  Bethesda involves meters and perhaps a credit card.  If Reston had done this, probably this thread wouldn't exist.  They have an "app" which involves a number of steps to use along with several minutes each time it is used.  At Reston Town Center you need a smartphone.to park on the street (although not in a garage where you can use a kiosk although not every garage has one). As I noted above there are "terms and conditions" which you have to agree to if you use it.    There are also other complications such as $3.00 an hour to park on the street including Saturday while a garage is $2.00 an hour and Saturdays are free.  Please read the "terms and conditions."  They are breathtaking.  There may be more than 1,000 posts on Reston Town Center's Facebook page with virtually every one negative. https://www.facebook.com/RestonTownCenter/?fref=hovercard

There are no meters, no gates, no tickets.  Nothing traditional.  This is parking for the 22nd Century.  Except we're in the 21st.

Parking in Montgomery County is by way if you wish in most public lots (it's a lot more convenient).  Some public lots are credit card only.  Street parking is 2.5X more expensive than garages, which remain free on the weekends.  I have no idea about the implementation in Reston, but not totally dissimilar in concept.

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Perhaps they are setting the trend for paid parking in suburban VA (j/k). 

Since Tysons (I and II), Fair Lakes/Fair Oaks, One Loudoun and Vienna are all within a relatively short driving distance and have at least as much diversity for shopping/eating, it seems odd that RTC is instigating a paid parking system.  The publicized reasoning was to stop the "commuter" parking for the Metro starting at Wiehle Ave and the future station under construction at Reston Parkway.  The area is not as dense as Bethesda or Rockville which have far more office space and commuter traffic, where parking may be more of a premium.  RTC is a stand alone destination, convenient due to its proximity to Rte 7 and Dulles Toll Road.  Obviously people are boycotting the RTC which is referenced in the recent links posted above.  It is affecting the businesses and their employees with potentially reduced income (based on the nature of their business) and also being charged for parking too. 

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Speaking with a bartender and at unnamed restaurant, she told of local residents who had been warehousing their second (and third?) vehicles in the garages for free now complaining of the new monthly expense to keep their cars parked.

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Have to go to RTC for work meetings, dinner, etc. It's the app that made the parking such a pain. Maybe in time once people have the app and have used the stupid app, people will become more comfortable with paying to park?

That said, it still seems expensive and the restaurant's validation policy (at least at M&S) is underwhelming.

 

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I think you need to really be careful with parking apps.  And have an alternative.  I won't pay to park at RTC- for lunch I normally go to WF, or Zoe's Kitchen down the street in the other shopping plaza anyway.  It is really going to hurt the casual lunch places.  I don't want to pay for parking when grabbing a $6-7 lunch.  I have to say, I hate parking in Old Town Alexandria due to the app they chose.  I find the one for DC and Arlington easy to use, but the one for Alexandria is a nightmare.  They released a new version- still just as confusing.  BUT I can pay the meter with change or credit card instead and am not forced to use the app, so there is some reprieve.  If I had to always use the app, I would likely consider other options more often.  Regarding long term parking- that is an easy issue surveillance and towing could fix.  

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Totally agree.  I work in Reston and will not go to RTC anymore. My Wife who works in Herndon shares that thought.   ZOE's has become a go to when I go out which is not very often.

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On 2/7/2017 at 6:11 AM, Tom Power said:

Parking sucks

At least at Tysons II there is valet. BTW, its complimentary if you are dining inside the mall. Tysons is free too. 

Free parking for all,

kat

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I do not think it is the app, but that has only made the situation more challenging.  I think it is the fact there was once "free" parking at RTC, and now it comes at a cost along with a strange way of regulating where you can park and for which establishments.  When something has been free for 20+ years, but now it costs a fee (as some have commented and observed a relatively high fee compared to other areas that have limited or high demand parking), people get upset; it makes them think twice about going someplace and hanging out.  Some validate, some do not - you have to figure any company leasing from RTC/BP knew when there was free parking there were no objections to people going to RTC to enjoy food/shopping/walking around/events etc...now with the paid parking and a bizarre color-themed, specific level designated parking system, people think twice or simply do not go anymore.  I believe, based on observation, and from articles as linked and referenced above, it is the latter.  People have made the decision to stop patronizing RTC which affects every retailer and employee who has a store or stores there.  As people boycott the RTC ownership's decision to commit to paid parking, sadly the retail businesses there take the hit.  The lack of both pedestrian and vehicular traffic is visibly noticeable since the new parking system activated.

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Boston Properties: Impact of Town Center Paid Parking ‘Far Less’ Than Claimed

https://www.restonnow.com/2017/02/09/boston-properties-impact-of-town-center-paid-parking-far-less-than-claimed/

I had a business lunch today in Reston; originally scheduled to meet at RTC.  Changed plans to meet at Not Your Average Joe's at 1 PM, so I did not have to explain any of the challenges of the parking app/parking to attendees.  I could tell it was busy since the parking lot was packed, so was the restaurant.  Waited about 15 mins for a table, and their indoor waiting area had no fewer than 20 people waiting for tables.  If anything, perhaps the secondary shopping areas are directly seeing more business traffic with the RTC parking situation.

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They really need to switch to free parking after 5 pm--this is how they avoid killing the tenants with parking fees and keep people in restaurants.  

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On 2/10/2017 at 9:07 PM, PollyG said:

They really need to switch to free parking after 5 pm--this is how they avoid killing the tenants with parking fees and keep people in restaurants.  

I think this would go a long way to solving the problems on both sides but the app issue would still be there. We thought about going there today but just skipped it. 

 

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We had a (pre-parking app/charging) party planned for last night at RTC.  Luckily it was on a weekend so the parking app and issue was not a problem for anyone.  While there, I walked around a little and it was extremely quieet.  Granted it was a Sunday evening, however the parking garages were empty, there was minimal walking traffic and several of the restaurants I passed were empty.  This was between 6-8:30 PM and purely just a passerby observation on my part.  

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Thanks for the link Ferris Bueller! 

We went for the first time last weekend and noticed the signs stating nothing was necessary to park on the weekends for free which frankly was good. I didn't want to find the small pay booth and navigate the process or download the app. 

I think RTC is pulling out the big guns on Fridays to draw people in since they had a Daniel Tiger show at lunch time. In the toddler crowd that's a Thomas Keller appearance we skipped! :lol:

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