The City of Rochester will hold a public Parking Summit this Wednesday.
Posted by: Mike Governale, president and co-founder of Reconnect Rochester

This Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:00pm at the Penthouse (1 East Avenue – 11th Floor) you are invited to attend a Downtown Parking Summit external link hosted by the City of Rochester. But this is not a meeting to discuss how we create more parking. We’ve tried that before, and it nearly killed our city.

Reconnect Rochester recognizes the importance of having an adequate supply of downtown parking. However, we believe parking should be one component to a much larger, diverse plan to improve access to downtown…

The City of Rochester will hold a public Parking Summit this Wednesday.
Ultimately, our collective goal should be bringing more people downtown, while REDUCING the demand for parking and its impact on our landscape.

How can we do this? With a strategy that does all of the following:

  1. Make better use of the 26,000+ parking spaces we already have by providing better information/signage, and multi-modal connections (pedestrian/bike/transit) to, and from, those facilities.
  2. Engage RTS (and if necessary, a 3rd-party) to provide higher-frequency circulation into and around downtown via public transit.
  3. Work with downtown employers/stakeholders to educate commuters and provide real incentives to use alternate transportation.
  4. Make walking safer and more enjoyable by establishing a program to activate downtown streets and public spaces through street beautification, public art, etc. AND by prioritizing the re-development of surface parking lots and encouraging interior parking lots (i.e. parking surrounded by buildings that front the street)

To continue to try and provide next-to-free, next-to-the-door parking for everyone would be madness external link. We know that transit alternatives are the key to a healthy city; economically and socially. And if we are serious about becoming the best mid-sized city in America, we all need to champion major changes to our parking and transportation policies, not only in the city, but across Monroe County.

Help us get there faster by attending this important meeting external link (take the survey external linktoo) and tell the City that we need better transportation options – not more of the same.

See you there!


  1. Urban experts have been to Rochester numerous times and told us what to do. Years ago the mayor of Charleston SC spoke here about the importance of parallel parking. Metered parallel parking allows small restaurant and retail establishments to survive – because people can run in. Parallel parking also makes people feel safer because there are other people coming and going. It slows traffic too, which is a plus for both businesses and pedestrians. The mayor also discussed how he wouldn’t permit any new garages that didn’t look like regular buildings…but that’s probably well out of our reach.

    We have plenty of streets downtown where parallel parking could be added our increased. For heaven’s sake, we have worse traffic in Pittsford and nobody shies away from going there.

  2. We’ll be out of town on the 21st, so will miss the meeting. I was going to fill out the survey, but found it so frustrating I just couldn’t do it. Although it initially asks how people come downtown & provides the options of walking & transit as answers, almost all of the subsequent questions are aimed squarely at the drivers. I hope you are right that this meeting will not be about how to provide more parking!

  3. That’s what we’ve been told. But it’s important for all of us who are able to attend the meeting and make sure that other modes of transportation are being considered.

    As far as the survey goes, yes, it’s pretty bad. One question in particular we found frustrating… “What other modes would you consider using?” …only let’s you pick one. We shouldn’t be focusing on mode over another. That’s how we got where we are.

  4. I thought it was dumb that the survey kept asking questions about working downtown, when I had already indicated that do not work downtown.

  5. I couldn’t find the survey on line and it just doesn’t apply to me even though I am a long time city resident who would go downtown if there were something to see and there was enough parking. I used to go to the library but no longer do because there is no nearby parking. I am older and disabled and so none of this applies to me-I feel pretty shut out of any activities downtown-I would have to walk too far or stand too long for my physical abilities.

  6. Thank you for your feedback Debbie. Not sure if you’re aware, but the central library has two parking garages on either side of it where there is always parking available. The Bausch & Lomb garage is probably the easiest for you as it’s directly connected to the library via elevator and enclosed walkway. If you drive down to the lowest level (past all the reserve spaces) there are usually empty spaces right next to the elevator. Also, there are usually always street parking spaces available on Broad and Court Streets.

    Another good option is RTS. They offer disabled transit services with excellent access to downtown. Contact us if you’d like more information on these options or visit: http://www.myrts.com/Riders-Guide/ADA-Compliance

  7. Cheers to our City Planners for providing a thoughtful, forwarding thinking, sustainability – focused presentation about parking & planning in downtown. Adding more parking is NOT the answer! Increasing accessibility by improving transit options (bus, walk, ride, streetcars) is the best way to attract diverse groups of people downtown and build our future Rochester. I left this meeting feeling positive & optimistic about the direction the City is taking with downtown parking. Kudos to Reconnect (perhaps our efforts are being heard?) and the City!

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