City implements snow emergency with latest forecast

March 11, 2019

The city of Rochester has declared a snow emergency with as much as 7 inches of snow in the weekend forecast.

Starting at noon today and extending through noon Thursday, parking will be restricted on city streets from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Vehicles cannot be parked on the even side of the street on even numbered days, and the odd side of the street on odd numbered days,” states a city announcement posted Friday.

That means anyone parking on city streets Saturday, Monday or Wednesday must park in front of homes or businesses with even-numbered street addresses.

On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday morning, on-street parking will only be allowed in front of properties with odd-numbered addresses.

“The safety of our community is the top priority for the city of Rochester,” Rochester City Administrator Steve Rymer said in the announcement. “The snow emergency is being declared to guarantee our Public Works teammates can clear the streets. The ability for our public safety teammates to respond to emergency calls is critical.”

The emergency policy will allow plows to clear one side of a street following a snowfall and return the next day to clear the other side.

Even if plows appear to have cleared a street, parking restrictions will remain in place to allow Public Works crews to perform additional snow removal work as needed, the city announcement states, noting the snow emergency parking limits supersede all other posted parking rules.

The temporary parking restrictions apply to all city streets during the snow emergency, and vehicles violating the restrictions may be ticketed and towed.

The new restrictions come approximately a week after the city started restricting parking in some residential streets where snow had made travel and parking difficult. On those streets, the goal has been to remove snow to widen the usable portions of the streets lined by high snowbanks.

To help limit the amount of ticketing and towing with the implementation of the snow emergency, city officials pointed to the availability of free weekend parking in city ramps, which include:

• Second Street Ramp at 14 Second St. SE

• Center Street Ramp at 11 W. Center St.

• First Street Ramp at 13 Second St. SE

• Civic Center Ramp at 100 First St. SE

• Third Street Ramp at 100 Third St. SE

Potential policy changes to help plows clear city streets have been discussed this winter, even before record snowfalls hit the city.

“We intend before the next snow season to bring back some options,” Public Works Director Chris Petree told the Rochester City Council earlier this year.

The implementation of alternate-side parking requirements in some city neighborhoods is likely to be among the options, and council members have voiced support for the potential policy.

“I’m content it does work,” Council Member Michael Wojcik said.

The city already has pilot programs using the alternate side parking in parts of the city. Petree said the data from those efforts will likely be part of the policy discussion tentatively planned for May.