RESTON, Va. -
There are new updates to the Reston Town Center parking situation that has had residents as confused as when they advocated for the free parking.
Since the creation of Reston Town Center, parking was free for all visitors.
Then, the new owner, Boston Properties, required visitors to download their parking app to pay for parking, which many people claimed was confusing to use.
Now, after protests and resistance from residents, a newsletter was released saying that Boston Properties has now installed parking kiosks in all the garages at the town center.
"By many measures, the parking measures at Reston are even worse, because there are even more layers of rules. It appears the changes are not bringing people back, because parking at RTC has a reputation of being a complicated and unfriendly experience,” said Suzanne Zurn, Reston Town Center Parking Petition leader.
However, Zurn said there have been positive changes, including free parking after 5 p.m. and one free hour of parking during the day.
“They previously had really dug their feet in that they would not make any changes whatsoever. So, the news last week was a tale of really two stories: good news and bad news,” said Suzanne Zurn, Reston Town Center Parking Petition leader.
Protests, marches and boycotts were some of the tools residents in Reston have used to push back on parking fees. Now, their efforts are being recognized.
Leaders from the community discussed the changes that Boston Properties has made to relax the parking rules.
"You really have to ask the question, 'What is the point of having paid parking?' Right? What is it preventing," said Sridhar Ganesan, President, Reston Citizens Association.
The parking changes now include one free hour of parking during the day and free parking after 5 p.m.
When asked if this was a step in the right direction, Zurn said yes but that it might be too late for some.
"From what I have been reading on social media, a lot of people have left and don't have any plans to come back. They have already found other alternatives," said Zurn.
"We want to commend Boston Properties for looking at this issue and then making a decision. They made some modifications. We commend them for analyzing what was happening," said Mark Ingrao, President, Reston Chamber of Commerce.
Many residents who live and work in the area said that while Boston Properties is making progress, they are not completely satisfied, and they will stay on their mission to bring back free parking for the town center.
Boston Properties did not choose to comment at this time.
Paying to pay more; that is the new slogan adopted by residents in Northern Virginia.
Reston Town Center is a community destination, dating back to 1990. Now, residents are infuriated at the mandatory parking fees.
The leader of the anti-parking movement said an incredible amount of people expressed serious frustrations against the owner of the center, Boston Properties.
"It's affecting real people in our community and their livelihoods, even the small businesses, and there are very few here. Those folks are being hurt tremendously by losses in profit as far as 25 percent and above. That's real," said Suzanne Zurn, Reston Town Center Parking Petition leader.
The President of Reston Citizens Association said that his first priority is the community.
"We get involved in all the issues that excite the people here [and] that impact the people. Clearly, the parking issue has been a big issue for us in the last year," said Sridhar Ganesan, President, Reston Citizens Association.
During the interview, security interrupted, stating that photography is no longer allowed on the town center's site as of late, which used to be a public space for all community-goers. Facebook users claim that this was never an issue.
"I would say it's an extremely negative impact, especially because of the place Reston Town Center has had in this community,” said TJ Bramblett, Reston Town Center businessman.
"It does add up; $20?! Who got $20 to eat, $20 to get something [from] Best Buy and then $20 to pay," said Lanyke Hernandez, Reston resident.