WXXI AM News

Looking For Ways To Improve Rochester's Downtown Parking Situation

Feb 12, 2015

Credit cityofrochester.gov

Rochester city officials are expected to release a report soon that came out of a recent summit on downtown parking. But there are competing needs that the city needs to look at.

Among those  needs and interests are people who commute into the city to work every day, as well the growing number of people who are living in Downtown Rochester.

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation says  Rochester has a mix of the traditional, such as parking lots and street spaces and a more recent focus on things like accommodating bicyclists, walkers and public transit.

"If we can get a system put together that makes sense and that's affordable we might be able to pull monthly, daily parking folks out of core garages and parking lots and out slightly to the perimeter of downtown and that would ease some of the pressure," Zimmer told WXXI News.

Monroe County Commissioner of Jurors Charles Perreaud says one frustration he has seen is on the part of people coming to the Hall of Justice.

"People feel, and they're right, we can compel them to come to jury duty. We send you a summons and many people feel it should be a role that government should play of offering at least a discount or some kind of consideration for their parking."

Perreau says one idea that has been floated would be to have a satellite parking lot with shuttle service for people called to jury duty, perhaps at the Kodak lots on State Street.

Elizabeth Murphy is a transportation specialist with the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency.  She says a multi-faceted approach is what will be needed.

"Coordinating all of the great efforts that we see to bring more people to live downtown at the same time that you're expanding bicycle parking and bicycle infrastructure (while)  you're promoting walkable sidewalks and work to integrate across those sectors."

Kate Washington, a Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development for the city, says it's not a case of a shortage of parking spaces. She says there are more than 12,000 of them. But Washington says they are not currently all in the right places.

Among the ideas being talked about is something called a 'circulator,' which is basically a shuttle type system to bring people into the downtown area from various parking lots.

"That circulator allows you to get from that area to your workplace, to the Eastman Theatre if that's where you're going, or to Geva or to any of the other local amenities that we have downtown and get you there within, say, 10 to 15 minute time slot."

The City of Rochester is expected to release information about its recent downtown parking forum within the next couple of weeks.