Rochester, MN - (KROC-AM News) - Those traveling into Downtown Rochester should know that the expanded free Downtown parking program will continue through the end of the year.

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That means all weekday parking sessions under two hours in municipal ramps are free. Previously, the city waived the parking charges if visitors were in and out of the ramps in under an hour. Now, that has increased to two hours. The City is encouraging Downtown visitors to take a little extra time and visit a retail, dining, or entertainment establishment. It is always free to park at meters or in ramps on evenings and weekends in Downtown Rochester.


“Over two thirds of the ticketed parking sessions in municipal ramps were free for Downtown visitors last month,” says Public Works Director Wendy Turri in a news release. “We are delighted to see so many people taking advantage of the opportunity to visit our amazing Downtown to experience the growing array of activities that appeal to the whole family.”

The expanded free parking program was developed after a series of listening sessions with Downtown businesses held this summer. The group of businesses expressed a need to stimulate activity in the downtown area after such a long period of restrictions due to COVID-19.

“The City and the Downtown business community want people to know that there is no shortage of parking Downtown—and it’s usually free,” Turri said.

Erin OBrien DMC-EDA
Erin OBrien DMC-EDA

The City of Rochester provides thousands of on-street, surface lot, and ramp parking spaces for visitors and commuters. Parking policies help increase the availability of short-term parking for visitors. New touchless parking meters that accept credit cards are now in place and being tested, in the latest effort to provide convenient payment options.

For those who want to take advantage of the expanded free parking period, all you have to do is enter and exit the parking space in under two hours. You can stay beyond two hours, but you will be responsible for parking charges that will include the cost of the first two hours.

Downtown visitors taking advantage of free evening and weekend parking in ramps should exit by 3 a.m. to avoid an overnight parking charge.

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