Update on parking policies at Ashburn’s Loudoun Station

This weekend, The Burn reported on the implementation of paid parking in certain areas at Loudoun Station in Ashburn — a development brought on by the arrival of Metro service to the community.

Some readers mistakenly thought paid parking was being implemented everywhere at Loudoun Station. This is not the case. There is still plenty of free parking.

Now, the folks at Comstock — the developers of Loudoun Station — and at ParkX Management — the parking operator — have offered more details on what is happening and what shoppers, diners, and Metro riders need to know.

Here are the main points:

  • The goal is to provide long-term parking options for people who are getting on the Metro while having short-term parking options for people who are coming to Loudoun Station for the restaurants, the stores, and the movie theater.
  • Without new policies, Metro riders would fill up all the spots meant for shoppers and diners.

  • As seen on the graphic with this story, the two surface lots that were formerly free before the arrival of Metro are marked as Metro Parking on the image.
  • ParkX, which operates the parking systems at many commercial centers along the Metro, has added signage at the entrance to the two Metro Parking lots saying they are now paid lots and it includes details on how to pay.
  • ParkX says they spent all of January issuing warnings to people improperly parked in these lots and only began ticketing in February.
  • Meanwhile, the areas marked Retail Customer Parking and Retail Employee Parking on the graphic are where shoppers and diners at the center should park. These areas offer free parking for up to three hours.
  • If you enter the Retail Employee Parking garage and take a ticket, ParkX says you will not be charged if you leave in under three hours.

  • One element to the new policies that raised eyebrows this weekend was the use of the Barnacle system for people improperly parked. The Barnacle is a device that adheres to a vehicle’s windshield and prevents it from being driven — much like a boot on a tire.
  • The driver must pay a fine online and receive a code that allows them to remove the Barnacle from their windshield.
  • A ParkX representative says they have only employed the Barnacle in a few instances. They have a system that tracks vehicles that repeatedly park in the Metro Parking lots without paying and say the Barnacle is only used after repeated infractions.
  • ParkX say they feel the Barnacle is a friendlier option versus having the car towed, which is also an option according to signage onsite. With the online payment system, a repeat offender who finds the Barnacle on his or her car can quickly pay the fine and still access their car on the spot. This is compared to returning and finding your vehicle gone and having to track it down at the towing company’s lot.
  • In regards to damage to the windshield that one car owner reported was caused by the Barnacle, ParkX says there are warnings not to try and pry the device off the car — and that if attempts are made to remove it this way, damage could occur.

Bottom line — our message from this weekend’s story still stands.

Knowing that things have changed a bit and knowing they are trying to keep free parking for visitors to the stores and restaurants, while offering paid parking for longer stays for riders of the Metro — it’s important you know how long you will be parked there and that you look closely at the signage before you park.

  1. Kyle Dumouchelle 1 year ago

    I went this weekend and don’t remember any signs indicating parking was paid on the right “metro lot”.

  2. George 1 year ago

    Unfortunately, the new policy discourages visitors from staying at Loudoun Station for more than three hours at any one time to, for instance, go out to dinner and then see a movie. This will hurt those businesses that rely on these types of relationships. Has Comstock considered relaxing this policy at their Retail Customer Parking and Retail Employee Parking lots on weekends and weeknights after say 7:00 pm to encourage visitors to spend a weekend day or night out at their complex?

  3. Jim 1 year ago

    How about painting METRO PARKING ONLY on the asphalt at entrances.

  4. AMC A-lister 1 year ago

    Many movies this year exceeded 3hrs. Add early arrival for concessions and there’s a problem.

  5. LW 1 year ago

    If parking is not intuitive, then people will just stop going there to patronize the businesses. It may take thousands of barnacles to create enough drag on a ship to be noticed, but just a few hundred Barnacles on vehicles there due to misunderstood rules will create a drag on the local businesses that may result in an ‘abandon ship’ of some businesses that no one wants to see.

    As a commuter, by the time you get to this metro stop from DC, it has already been a long commute and that’s assuming nothing went wrong. This metro stop needs to go out of its way to make life better for our local commuters here. I’m an IT guy and not a city planner, but to me things like intuitively designed parking rules, longer or more tactical happy hours, a brand name coffee place open in the early morning, and generally more events or activities designed to accommodate those who commute would be a good start to bring in more business from commuters.

    I wish every business there the best of luck. Their success is good for all of us.

  6. MM 1 year ago

    Lipstick on a pig. I still won’t be patronizing any retail businesses there any longer. RTC already fooled me once.

  7. Robert 1 year ago

    Thought there was a free metro parking garage on other side of Dulles Greenway? I highly doubt the parking for that metro stop will ever fill up(maybe in 20 years). Is the metro garage on this side charging for parking too? or just the two small surface areas? I use to go Title boxing and parking was horrible due to all the residence living there. They’d park in the street and other parking areas making it hard to find a spot at other end of Loudoun Station.

  8. R.S.D. 1 year ago

    1. Parking at One Loudoun is free. FREE. One weekend we had lunch, watched a movie, got some books at the B&N, shopped some boutiques, and groceries at TJ’s. 6 hours total. Easily spent more than $400 that day. Total spent on parking: $0.00; no Barnacles spotted.

    2. ParkX did not address how people can pay for their “service” without a smartphone. I guess retirees are no longer welcomed at Loudoun Station. The simple solution is putting a pay gate at the lot entrances or a pay station in visible areas.

    Overall, I see Loudoun Station becoming a moribund space with more empty storefronts. The AMC in particular is screwed by this move. Some of the medical practices may hold on but there’s not enough demand in the onsite residences to support any other retail. It’s a future Dead Mall.

  9. Jeffrey Contompasis 1 year ago

    What is the policy concerning overnight parking for people who want to avoid Dulles’s high cost “economy” lots or someone staying spending a Saturday night in DC?

    • Chris Wadsworth 1 year ago

      Not sure about that. You would need to reach out to Loudoun Station or ParkX for more details.

  10. Tom 1 year ago

    What about the street parking that has a sign that mentions barnacle? Is that free for the first three hours or all pay? These are the parallel spots in front of the Zone and others.

    • Chris Wadsworth 1 year ago

      Street parking should be first three hours free, but do watch the signage in case there are any exceptions.

  11. Aaron 1 year ago

    This is super helpful. I noticed the change in policy in free parking in recent months and was confused as to what my options were. Thank you for publishing this.

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