Weekday parking will be free for first hour, after 5 pm at Reston Town Center

- There will be some new changes to the paid parking system at Reston Town Center after many complaints were expressed by businesses and residents when it was first implemented.

Customers will now be able to park inside parking garages for free for the first hour before 5 p.m. on weekdays. Visitors will have to pay $2 for the second hour and then the subsequent posted rates for the time parked after that. Parking will be free between 5 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. on weekdays and will continue to remain free on weekends, holidays and special events.

The changes will go into effect on June 5.

Boston Properties said the changes are in response to feedback from the community. Some of that feedback included protests organized by businesses that have said they have taken a hit in sales since Reston Town Center began charging for parking.

“Fifty percent of our business is gone,” said Christine Berkerbile. “And our staff has had to leave, go find other jobs. Hours have been cut. Projected projects have been put off. You don’t know what to do or expect. We don’t see any end and they weren’t giving us any help.

“Giving us an hour doesn’t rectify this. To me, that is like throwing a bone to somebody. I consider it salt in the wounds. A slap in the face.”

“I'm sorry that whoever made that statement feels that way,” said Peter Johnston, executive vice president of Boston Properties. “But again, listening to feedback that we got over the period of time from when we implemented the system to the present as well as looking at what it is we have to do to control for our tenants and their guests as it relates to using the garages, we felt like that was the most appropriate compromise given everything we have been hearing.”

Johnston disputes claims that there has been a drastic drop in business since paid parking was implemented. The company said in some cases, charging for parking is actually helping these businesses because nearby residents along with people heading to the airport or nearby hotels were abusing the free parking at Reston Town Center.

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