Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The City of Rochester is expanding its popular free parking program.

With an effort to encourage visits to downtown, all parking sessions under two hours in public ramps are free. This will start immediately and run through the end of the year, according to a news release from the City.

City of Rochester
City of Rochester

Before, the city waived the parking fee if patrons were in and out of the ramp in under an hour. Now, by increasing the limit on a free session, the City hopes it encourages visitors to downtown to make an extra stop, visit a retiral, dining, or entertainment establishment.

“There is so much to do in downtown Rochester,” remarked Ia Xiong, Rochester’s transit and parking systems manager. “We are giving visitors a chance to stay a little longer and give a downtown business a try while still taking advantage of free short-term parking in the ramps.”

KROC-AM logo
Get our free mobile app

The program was developed after a series of listening sessions downtown, where business owners expressed the need to stimulate activity after such a long period of restrictions due to COVID-19.

“Parking is free over 75% of the time in downtown Rochester,” Xiong said. “And with thousands of spaces at meters, in surface lots and in ramps, you can always find a place to park.”

Those who want to take advantage of the expanded free parking period must enter and exit the parking ramp in under two hours. Customers may stay beyond two hours but will be responsible for paying parking fees that will include the cost for the first two hours.

Check out these 60 images that show just how much Rochester has changed over the years below


Wow! Check out how Rochester has changed throughout the years in these Google photos.

As we are soaring down Hwy 52, it is hard to imagine what life was like in our town before the Target store was built where it is today. Or the house that you live in now, at one point in town, that wasn't there. In fact, Rochester has grown so fast throughout the years, most of our houses weren't even around 50 years ago! Don't believe me? Look through these photos to get a glimpse of what Rochester was like years ago.

More From KROC-AM