Reston Reston Town Center began charging its patrons for weekday street and garage parking on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Both street and garage parking were free until then.
While paid parking is in effect 24 hours a day, weekends will remain free for the garages and Sundays will remain free for street parking. Both garage and street parking will also be free during major holidays.
The shopping center’s employees can still park free of charge at all times, but some are not sure the change is good for their businesses.
Even though the paid parking didn’t go into effect until after this year’s holiday shopping season, two retail managers say it has already driven customers away.
Mary Tisi, who is manager of Origins, a natural skincare store on Market Street in the shopping center, says her store experienced a sharp decline this season.
“We saw a 50 percent decline in our holiday transactions compared to last year … our store will be closing,” she says. “Parking was the final nail in the coffin for us.”
Teresa Johnson, manager at the L'Occitane en Provence, which also sells skincare products on Market Street in the shopping center, agrees.
“It’s nothing but greed,” says Johnson. “It’s going to kill the retailers and the restaurants.”
Johnson says the mere word of the paid parking beginning in the New Year negatively impacted her store’s holiday performance, which saw 41 percent less traffic compared to the previous year.
“We’re not profitable and we’re not meeting our numbers,” she says.
She worries that her store, like Origins, will not make enough of a profit to be able to renew its lease at the shopping center.
The shopping center is collecting payment via the ParkRTC app, which can be downloaded onto smartphones for free through the iPhone App Store or Google Play.
By Dec. 7, more than 21,000 people had already downloaded the parking app.
To encourage further adoption, Reston Town Center will do a drawing on Feb. 1, where those who download the app will be eligible to win one of 10 $500 Reston Town Center gift cards.
Patrons who choose not to download the app can still park on the streets and the garages. They will instead need to use the garage pay stations or call a number that is listed on signage. For all methods, those parking must identify their parking zone, vehicle license plate and length of stay. The only form of payment accepted is credit or debit card.
For street parking, there is a one-hour time minimum and a two-hour maximum:
- 0-1 hour is $3
- 1-2 hours is $6
For garage parking, there is a one-hour time minimum and a 24-hour maximum:
- 0-1 hour is $2
- 1-2 hours is $4
- 2-3 hours is $5
- 3-4 hours is $6
- 4-6 hours is $8
- 6-10 hours is $10
- 10-12 hours is $14
- 12-24 hours is $24
The garages also offer monthly passes for $70.
Origins and L'Occitane en Provence will not validate parking for its customers, but some retailers will.
The Bowtie Cinema on Market Street in the shopping center will validate parking for up to three hours for its patrons who park in the nearby blue and green parking garages.
The cinema and other participating establishments will provide numeric validation codes for patrons to enter into their ParkRTC app or the pay stations in the garages.
“Every business entity thoughtfully looks through many lenses when making operating decisions, the financial lens being one of them,” Rob Weinhold, spokesperson for Reston Town Center, said in an email. “Parking revenues will support Reston Town Center's high quality facilities, family-oriented events, top brand attractions, innovative technologies and nonprofit donations.”
For patrons who choose not to pay during weekdays, “violators will be immobilized and charged a service fee at owner’s expense,” signs read.