The City of Rochester’s Public Works Department operates a fleet of snow plows that works to clear over 500 miles of roads, 9 miles of alleys, 544 cul-de-sacs, 40 miles of sidewalks and bike paths within the city limits of Rochester. This is no easy task and is a balance of safety, economics, timing and expectations. Effective snow removal creates safer roads for the traveling public and provides access for emergency vehicles during the winter snow and ice season.
- What to Expect for Clearing City Streets
- Parking in the Central Business District (CBD) During a Snow Event
- On-Street Parking During a Snow Event
- 12-Hour Parking Enforcement
- Alternate Side Winter Parking Pilot Program
- Concerns Related to City Snow Plows
The priority for plowing City streets is as follows: main roads, the central business district, hills, bridges, bus routes and around schools. Once those areas are clear resources will be directed to other streets. While main roads may be taken to bare pavement, this is neither feasible nor necessary on lower volume and residential streets.
The amount of time it takes to clear streets is dependent upon the amount of snow we receive:
- Small snow events (less than 2" of snow) are typically treated in less than 8 hours by a fleet of 21 plow trucks, 2-3 pick-up trucks, and two sidewalk machines.
- Snow events of 2-4" are typically treated in approximately 8 hours by a fleet of 28 plow trucks, 4 graders, 5 loaders, 3 one-ton trucks to clear cul-de-sacs, 2-3 pick-up trucks, and 2 sidewalk machines.
- Large snow events (more than 4") take approximately 3 days to be completely cleaned up. Roads will be cleared in the first 12 hours. Snow will be hauled out of the Central Business District overnight on day 2. Street widening and miscellaneous clean-up will happen on the 3rd day after the snowfall.
Use of salt and sand on City streets
The excessive use of salt has major environmental impacts. Not only can salt harm grass and other landscaping, stormwater runoff will carry deicing salts to nearby waterways where it will be a pollutant. It only takes one tablespoon of salt to permanently contaminate 5 gallons of water. Thus, salt is used sparingly on main roads and at main intersections to allow safe passage. The effectiveness of salt when the pavement surface temperature is below 15⁰F is dramatically reduced. The use of a salt-sand mixture also has many implications associated with its use. Any salt-sand mix that gets placed on streets has to get swept up by City crews each spring. This requires a lot of manpower, equipment and results in real costs. Salt-sand mix is typically used in low temperatures or where traction is needed such as hills, sharp curves and intersections.
During designated snow events street parking in the CBD will be restricted to facilitate the plowing and removal of snow. All parking restrictions will be posted on impacted meters and drivers are responsible for adhering to the restrictions.
- If possible, please park your vehicle off the street when it is snowing.
- Avoid parking in a location that has not been plowed.
- On trash pick up days, please place your trash and recycling containers at the end of your driveway or in the boulevard. Avoid placing them in the street. The plow will have to drive around them, which leaves more snow that can't be plowed.
- If streets become difficult to plow due to a number of vehicles parked on the street, the Department of Public Work will inspect the street and enforce the 12-hour parking rule.
- Parking enforcement by Public Works is used as needed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the snow plowing by City crews and to provide safe access for emergency vehicles
- Public Works Enforcement Inspectors respond to plow driver concerns
- PW Enforcement inspect the streets of concern for vehicles with snow accumulation surrounding vehicle and indication that it has moved within 12-hours
- Vehicles Chalked Orange
- Warning Tag displayed on vehicle
If the vehicle has not moved then a PW Inspector verifies the vehicle has not moved within 12-hours and parking ticket is issued.
- Public Works Department have been given authority to issue parking tickets during snow related events.
- The City Ordinance states vehicles are not allowed to park on the street for more than twelve (12) consecutive hours. Violations are subject to a parking ticket and a possible towing.
- Click here to pay your parking ticket online or pay in person or mail a check to the City of Rochester Clerks Office.
- Help keep the streets in your neighborhood plowed and safe during snow events by parking your vehicle off-street and following the 12-hour parking rule.
The City has developed a pilot program to create Alternate Side Winter Parking Zones to enhance the effective removal of snow and or ice during the winter. Alternate side parking procedure and associated regulations are proposed in order to reduce hazards and obstructions to the efficient movement of fire, police, emergency, and snow plows.
The pilot program zone and answers to frequently asked questions can be found in the educational pamphlet:
The snow plow has not cleared the street after a storm
Please call the Street Maintenance Division - (507) 328-2450
City plow has damaged the boulevard or mailbox
If a snow plow has damaged the boulevard adjacent to your property please notify Infrastructure Maintenance Division. The Division maintains a mailbox repair list for mailbox damage caused by a City snow plow. Crews will be sent out to repair the damage following the clearing of the streets. The Division maintains a spring repair list for boulevard damage caused by a City snow plow. Crews will be sent out in the spring to repair the damage. Taking photos of the damage and storing them for your records can be beneficial to document.
Call 507-328-2450 or email Infrastructure Maintenance