Oakton Outlook

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New year, less crowds

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On Jan. 3,  a paid parking was implemented in the Reston Town Center’s six garages and over 7,000 parking spaces. Boston Properties, the owners of the town center, said that they are going to use the profits from this for infrastructure, landscaping, and events in the town center. They also put this system into place to prevent people from parking their car in one of the town center’s garage while they take the metro to work. According to Boston Properties, the new system has worked so far, saying that the blue lot, a lot that used to be 100 percent full by 10:30, is now only about 26 percent full by that same time.

It now costs about $2.00 an hour to park during the weekdays and parking is still free on the weekends. Although this is still relatively cheap compared to city parking costs, many suburbans still are not used to it. To pay, you can either use a pay station, or by use the Park RTC application. Once you have downloaded it, you are required to create an account with your email or phone number, and a four digit code. Currently, the application has been downloaded 70,000 times, which is 10,000 more than the population of Reston. So far, the application has received a lot of negative feedback saying that it is too confusing and complicated.

World of Beer, a place that used to be packed during Happy Hour, has become a lot quieter because of the new parking situation. Many other businesses claim to have had this same thing happen to them. Big Bowl claims that they have had 10 to 20 percent less customers this January compared to last January, which is equivalent to about 1,200 customers. Other businesses claim to have anywhere between 10 to 50 percent loss compared to last January, despite a huge snow storm that impact business last year.

There has been a lot of confusion since the start of the pay to park system. For instance, many of the pay stations do not work, and there is no way to explain the system to non-english speakers. Consequently, business managers frequently have to explain how the system works to their customers. Although they were originally unable to, some merchants are now able to validate parking, but only in specific garages. For instance, if you were to dine at Jackson’s, they would be able to validate your parking if you parked in the orange garage. This could mean, however, that if you go to dinner and a movie, you would to have move your car to different garages to get them both validated.

On Feb. 6, business leaders met in Vapianos to discuss legal actions that they could take against Boston Properties. In total, businesses have agreed to pledge anywhere between $30,000-$50,000 for legal representation.

It is apparent that customers are choosing to go to other nearby town centers to avoid the parking fee. The paid parking has negatively impacted the town center’s and the businesses reputations. A protest against the new pay to park system has been organized in the Reston Town Center for March 4. Currently, 200 people are scheduled to attend. Although customers are angry right now, Boston Properties thinks that they will eventually calm down, and get used to the new parking situation.

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The student news site of Oakton High School
New year, less crowds