While the Silver Line and related bus service changes will offer new car-free transportation options to Fairfax County residents, those who are still using their cars to travel to parts of Tysons Corner and Reston may soon see changes in access to parking lots.
Many of the retail plazas and office buildings near the five new transit stations in Tysons and Reston are changing parking policies to discourage rail commuters from parking in lots intended for employees and customers.
Michael Caplin, executive director of the Tysons Partnership, said some businesses are taking a “wait and see” approach while others are taking steps to fend off commuters from the start, such as blocking off parking areas during morning commute hours or implementing a pay parking system.
“Like all of Tysons, the management of parking demands will evolve over time,” he said.
Unlike the more suburban-style Metro stations many Fairfax County commuters are accustomed to, the four stations in Tysons do not have official parking lots. Some have “kiss and ride” drop-off areas and bus bays, and Fairfax County has plans to continue improving bike and pedestrian access at all the stations.
There is also a temporary commuter parking lot near the McLean Station with just over 700 spaces, owned by developer CityLine Partners.
At the current terminus of the Silver Line, at Wiehle Avenue in Reston, there is a new 2,300-space parking garage that also offers 45 kiss and ride spots, secure indoor bike parking and bus bays. Parking at that garage will cost $4.85 per day or $65 per month, in line with rates at other Metro garages.
There will be an open house at the Wiehle garage July 19.
Retail property owners like Tysons Corner Center are trying to strike a balance between making it easy for their customers to come shop while discouraging commuters from avoiding paid parking fees.
“Our shopping center is dependent on having enough parking for mall employees … and obviously all of our shoppers,” said Bob Maurer, senior marketing manager for Tysons Corner Center.
Mall employees will use key cards to access parking during the morning commute hours and, when the mall opens, its parking garages will open to the public.
The office market has more varied options, according to Robert VeShancey of Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate services company.
Higher-end office properties typically have secure, restricted parking, he said, while lower-end buildings that may be in a more remote location or have fewer amenities are more likely to offer free parking in a surface lot or small parking garage.
There is typically a spectrum of properties in the middle that might offer free or restricted parking, depending on market demands, VeShancey said.
However, the advent of Metro is prompting office properties near the stations to implement restricted parking, which may also require employees and visitors to pay a parking fee.
“Otherwise people are just going to be able to pull into your garage and park for free,” he said.
Jones Lang LaSalle has been working with the owners of some of the buildings it manages to implement restricted parking, VeShancey said.