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Boston Properties Eases Parking Prices At Reston Town Center Following Backlash

A view of the parking garage on the southeastern corner of Reston Town Center

After backlash to a paid parking system that included public protests and a lawsuit, Boston Properties has relaxed its payment structure for Reston Town Center's parking garages. 

Boston Properties, which owns the entire mixed-use complex and its six parking structures, unveiled new rules Wednesday that provide free weeknight parking after 5 p.m. and up to one hour of free parking during the day. Daytime visitors will pay $2 for each subsequent hour after the first free hour. Boston Properties is also upgrading payment kiosks and installing new cash machines in parking garages. 

Parking at Reston Town Center had been free until January, when Boston Properties instituted a payment system that charged $2 per hour. The developer aimed to prevent motorists from parking overnight or for several hours at a time and taking space from office employees and store customers. 

The parking system created a strong backlash from customers and tenants. A group called Reston United staged a protest march to voice opposition to the paid parking, and one of the restaurant tenants filed a lawsuit in March seeking an end to paid parking. In a press release issued Wednesday, the REIT said it was responding to community and retailer feedback with its decision to lighten the parking rules. 

Suzanne Zurn, who organized a campaign against the parking fees, said she would like to see it extended to two or three free hours to allow for business appointments, but she applauded the changes.  

"Progress was made today with the announcement of changes coming to the Reston Town Center paid parking system," Zurn said in a release. "ParkRTC has been damaging to the community, to businesses, and employees. The community welcomes Boston Properties realization that free parking hours are needed and we look forward to learning more about the upgrades to the parking kiosks."