Downtown Parking Rate Creates Debate in Rochester

August 13, 2018 09:03 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- Should people have to pay for parking in downtown Rochester on evenings and weekends? Or, should the City of Rochester raise daily parking rates? 

Those were the options being discussed at the Committee of a Whole Meeting on Monday. 


“We worked with RDA [Rochester Downtown Alliance] to distribute a survey to 380 businesses,” said Nick Lemmer, the Communications Coordinator of the City's Parking & Transit. “We heard back from about a quarter of them.”

Customers were not included in the survey. “Thinking those local business owners, they know their customers well,” said Lemmer.

The evening (after 5 p.m.)/ weekend flat rate would start at $2; increasing to $4 over a five-year period. 

Of the business owners and employees surveyed, 60% said they were against charging for evenings and weekends. 54 percent said they were in favor of charging $5 for event parking.  

Kenyatta Kruetzfeldt, a Server at Hefe Rojo, says she already spends over $10 a week on parking. “It adds up really fast,” she said. “I think it [paid parking on weekends and evenings] would be really inconvenient because then we would have to run outside to our meters in the middle of our shift and then it would also draw away our customers.”

Which is exactly what Leah Tampte says. She visits downtown Rochester about three times a week. “I definitely feel like it would push me to go somewhere else.”

Given the survey result, the Transit & Parking Division recommends the City continues to provide free parking on evenings and weekends.

Still, the department needs to come up with extra money.

“Without these rate increases, there is the potential to run a deficit as soon as 2020 in the parking fund,” said Lemmer, “which of course is not possible.”

Another option being looked at is increasing day rates in the parking ramps.

“From about $9.50 today to $14 dollars,” said Lemmer.

The day rates for the ramps would increase from $9.50 to $16.00 in a five-year period. 

“I think living in Rochester is expensive enough as it is,” said Tamte. “Especially with college kids. I can't stress enough we are not going to be paying for that.”

As part of the second option, the 40-60 percent discount on monthly rates for the ramps would be reduced to 20 percent.

Further discussed is scheduled for the next City Council Meeting on Aug. 20.


Hannah Tiede

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