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New seasonal parking ordinance takes effect in Rochester

New seasonal parking ordinance takes effect in Rochester

Rochester’s new seasonal parking ordinance goes into effect today.

Here are a few things you should know:

How it works

The seasonal parking rules — approved last month by the Rochester City Council — begin on October 1 and extend through May 1.

For those seven months, alternate side parking requirements will be in place between 2 a.m. and 3 p.m. Under the ordinance, parking is allowed on the side of the street with even house numbers when the calendar date is even. The same goes for odd house numbers when the calendar date is odd.

Graphic courtesy the City of Rochester

What’s important to note is that, unlike with a weather emergency, these rules will be in effect regardless of whether there is snow on the roads.

As for cul-de-sacs, parking is — for now — prohibited 24/7 for the entire duration the seasonal ordinance is in effect. However, at a study session this week, council members discussed the possibility of loosening those requirements in response to feedback from the community.

Once possible tweak, according to Council President Randy Staver, could be allowing parking on cul-de-sacs on either even or odd days only. The council is expected to continue that discussion next week.

Why start in October?

This is the most common question raised so far. Why does the ordinance begin in the fall when the likelihood of snowfall is minimal?

The answer, according to the city, is to allow better access for street sweepers as the leaves begin to fall. As Council Member Michael Wojcik explained in a video on Facebook: “In the fall and spring… we do quite a bit of street sweeping, and when we have to go around cars, we don’t do as good of a job — and that winds up in our rivers.”

As for the rationale behind the alternate side parking rules, that answer is fairly straightforward: the easier it is for plows to move down city streets, the more effective they can be at clearing those streets. And the clearer those streets are, the easier it is for us all to move about safely.

Slow roll-out

City officials say they expect it to take time for the entire community to adjust to the new rules. As such, local law enforcement will begin by focusing on education and awareness, rather than enforcement.

City Administrator Steve Rymer told the council on Monday that police officers have been given educational printouts that they will leave on the dashboards of vehicles not abiding by the parking ordinance.

Rymer said enforcement of the ordinance will only begin once the council determines that there has been sufficient educational outreach.

“This is a multi-year effort,” he said. “This will not be perfect year one.”

Once fully implemented, the fine for violating the ordinance will be $25.

City FAQ guide

The city has put out a handy guide with FAQs regarding the new ordinance. For your convenience, we have embedded the document below.

Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.

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