The owner of Reston Town Center plans to allow free parking during weeknights, a response to a backlash in the Northern Virginia community over recently imposed fees that drove one restaurant group to sue for damages.
Starting Monday, visitors to the town center will be able to park for free anytime after 5 p.m. on weeknights and for one hour if they arrive before then, Boston Properties announced Wednesday.
Parking at the Reston Town Center is free on weekends, holidays and for special events. At all other times, the fee is $2 per hour.
The new rules, plus planned upgrades to payment kiosks, will “address the primary concerns expressed by the community while still supporting the original goals of paid parking: protecting the parking rights of RTC tenants and visitors and augmenting revenue dedicated to community reinvestment,” Boston Properties said in a news release.
The parking fees, implemented in January, sparked protests among local merchants and residents, who argued that Boston Properties was driving shoppers away from the town center.
In March, Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge restaurant filed a lawsuit in Fairfax County Circuit Court seeking $500,000 in damages and to force Boston Properties to pay for validating parking for customers and do away with a payment system that involves the use of a smartphone application.
That lawsuit is scheduled for a hearing Thursday, a Boston Properties spokeswoman said.