It is time for the Rochester City Council to make changes to our current overbearing and “unfriendly” seasonal parking requirements to make our streets “friendly” again. We can accommodate snow plowing and street cleaning in Rochester by applying some common sense and showing respect for residents and guests.

The current Rochester ordinance requires alternate-side parking 2 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Oct. 1 through May 1. Rochester’s ordinance is one of the most restrictive in the state. Both the calendar time span and daily ranges are far more broad than virtually any other city in Minnesota.

In addition to being confusing, the restrictions make no sense when there is no snow to plow. This winter, for example, started with nearly three months without the need to plow snow. Even in the heart of winter, most days are without any need for snow plowing. Why inflict restrictions that have no functional basis for more than 90% of the time.

Residents and guests become criminals (parking tickets on their car) for no good reason. The fact that tickets apparently are generally not being issued is an indication that we have an ordinance that is out of sync with reality.

The “unfriendly” ordinance also discriminates against lower income residents who have no choice but to park on the street. It is especially onerous for people working odd or irregular shifts who are obliged to awake and move their cars. For those who have garages and ample driveways, the effect is much less. But we can still support our neighbors who are affected and also see a need to change an ineffective and unfair city seasonal parking ordinance.

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Most other cities invoke parking restrictions only when there is snow for plowing or when a snow emergency is proclaimed. Pretty simple, commonsense and “friendly” concepts.

Surely our city council and public works can find better, more “friendly” solutions. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Apply parking restrictions only when there is enough snow to require plowing.

2. Apply parking restrictions only when a snow emergency has been announced.

3. Declare street sweeping parking restrictions only when actually needed.

A petition, , has received wide and enthusiastic support. Rochester residents are indeed frustrated by the current “unfriendly” seasonal parking restrictions. Let’s make our streets “friendly” again.

Fran Bradley served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1995 to 2006.