Parking options will return to Rochester’s more than 600 cul-de-sacs. 

The Rochester City Council unanimously voted to reverse a parking ban a week after the city’s new seasonal parking restrictions went into place.

“We feel these first couple years will be a learning process,” Public Works Director Chris Petree said of the need to make adjustments to the plan as problems arise.

The city implemented its alternate-side parking requirement on Oct. 1, allowing parking only on the odd side of the street on odd dates of the month and the even side on even dates. The restrictions are in place from 2 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

The change approved Monday will allow alternate side parking in the bulbs of cul-de-sacs.

“It gives us the most flexibility,” Petree told the council, comparing three proposed changes to the new ordinance.

The other two options were restricting parking on odd days or restricting parking whenever snow falls and for 24 hours after it ends.

So far, no parking tickets have been issued, according to Jenna Bowman, the city’s communications and engagement manager.

She said more than 1,000 notices have been put on cars violating the new ordinance in lieu of tickets.

“We will continue to hand those out until further notice,” she said, noting that would likely be mid-November unless a snowstorm requires earlier action.

Hour Car plan parked

A decision on a proposal to bring a car-sharing service to Rochester has been delayed.

“We don’t subsidize businesses to get them to come to Rochester,” Rochester City Council President Randy Staver said in regard to a proposed Hour Car contract that would have the city fund potential shortfalls.

Hour Car, a nonprofit car-sharing service that operates in the Twin Cities, would provide at least five cars for use by members who periodically need a vehicle in the city. Members would pay annual or monthly membership fees, as well as an hourly charge to use the vehicles.

A proposed contract with the company would require the city to ensure it generates at least $1,000 for each car in the first six months, with the potential subsidy dropping for future months throughout the first two years of operation.

Council Member Michael Wojcik said the support would provide a benefit for the community by addressing a desire to reduce the number of cars used to commute into and around downtown.

“If it gets really bad, in 60 days we are out of the commitment,” he said of the ability to end the contract early.

At the same time, he predicted the service would do well in the city where parking pressures continue to rise.

Others said they want more time to review the options and contract.

“It seems to have just arrived unannounced,” Council Member Patrick Keane said.

Deputy City Administrator Aaron Parrish said the council has until December to make a decision, but the proposal will likely return on Oct. 21. He noted Hour Car was the only company to respond to the city’s effort to attract a car-sharing service.

“This is generally the terms the market responded to,” he said.

Parking permits reversed

Seventeen of 21 households on the 1500 block of Eighth Avenue Southeast successfully petitioned the Rochester City Council to remove residential permit parking restrictions Monday.

The restricted parking, which required a $25 annual parking permit, was put into place years ago to prevent Mayo High School students from parking their vehicles in the residential neighborhood.

“I think the issue is gone,” said neighbor Joleen Mainz, who noted the restriction has resulted in countless tickets for visitors to her home.

The council unanimously approved the request.

It is the second time in recent years the city received such a request.

In November 2017, the 600 and 700 blocks of 15th Street Southeast successfully requested to removal of residential permit parking on those blocks.

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