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201 4th Street SE
Rochester, Mn 55904 (Map)

Phone: 507.328-2436

Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

City of Rochester Snow Guide

When Snow is Here. Keep it Clear.

The City of Rochester is a walkable community. The City needs the help of all property owners to ensure that residents' mobility is safe during the winter season.  When it snows, please help to keep public right-of-ways clear of snow and ice.  Follow the rules and guidelines on sidewalk snow removal, on-street parking and cold weather safety included in this snow page.  Thank you for contributing your time and patience to provide clear sidewalks, ease winter parking limitations and provide access for essential public services.  

Sidewalk Snow Removal

When Snow is Here, You Have 24-hours to Clear. During the winter it is up to each property owner to clear public sidewalks of snow and ice.  Rochester City Ordinance 72.02 requires property owners with a public sidewalk to remove snow and ice within 24-hours after a snowfall.  This is necessary to ensure the safety of people using the sidewalks during the winter. Please follow these DOs and DON'Ts:
  • DO:
    • Remove snow and ice from sidewalks and intersection handicap ramps abutting your property within 24-hours of snowfall ending.
    • Clear snow the width of the sidewalk.  Remember that sidewalks are used by strollers and wheelchairs in the winter.
    • Remove ice to bare pavement or make as level as possible and treat with sand, sawdust or similar material.
    • Clear any snow that may be blocking a handicapped ramp, fire hydrant or catch basin. 
  • DON'T:
    • Shovel or plow snow into the street: Violators caught shoveling snow from private property into the street will be fined.
    • Overexert yourself while shoveling: Excessive strain from the cold and hard labor may cause heart attacks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • Why do I need to clear my sidewalk?
    • Winter weather can create access, mobility and safety issues due to the accumulation of snow and ice.  Sidewalks provide access and mobility to pedestrians.
  • How does the City determine when the snowfall has ended?
  • How is the ordinance enforced?
  • Who will be writing the Citations?
    • Public Works Department Employees have been given authority to write Administrative Citations to enforce the existing sidewalk snow removal ordinance.
  • Why did my property receive a citation?
    • The sidewalk, when inspected, was determined to not be clear of snow and ice.
    • City dispatched snow removal contractors are required to take before and after photos of the property found in violation.  The photos document the conditions and can be provided as requested.  Please contact or call 507-328-2436 to request photos. 
  • What are the costs associated with the citation and contractor services?
    • Administrative Citations increase per violation if more than one is received in a 365 day period:
      Zoning 1st Citation 2nd 3rd or more
      Residential $40 $60 $120
      Commercial/CBD or Industrial $60 $100 $200
      The contractors services costs include a $44 (2014) mobilization charge in response to an inspector validated complaint and removal costs depend on the linear footage of the sidewalk and pedestrian ramps if present.
  • Why did I receive two bills?
    • The first bill is for the administrative citation written by the Public Works Inspector.  The amount depends on if the property is zoned residential or commercial and the number of violations in a 365-day period.
    • The second bill is for the contractor's services to remove the snow.  The City hires the contractors and directs them to clear the sidewalk after an inspection by City staff. 
    • We are required to provide citation recipients an opportunity to appeal the citation within 10 days and therefore we mail the citation out as soon as possible after they are written.  We typically receive the contractor services bill at a later date and send out bills after the amounts have been reconciled with our department.
  • Where do I pay my citation and contractor services bill?
    • Bills may be paid in-person at the City Clerk's Office in City Hall, paid by check sent in the mail, or may be paid online.  Click here to pay online.
  • Additional Information
  • Free City Sand Locations
    • Free sand is available to residents in Rochester.  You can fill up a maximum of a 5 gallon bucket at these locations:
    • YMCA Downtown
    • Northbrook Shopping Center

On-Street Parking During a Snow Event

Help Your Neighborhood Plow Driver
  • 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.

12-Hour Rule Parking Enforcement
  • 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. Click here to learn about our process.
  • 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 $22 parking ticket and a possible towing. 
  • Click here to pay your parking ticket on-line, 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.

City Plow Related Questions

The Plow has not Cleared the Street After a Storm

Please call the Street Maintenance Division - (507) 328-2450

City Plow has Damaged the Boulevard 

  • If a snow plow has damaged the boulevard adjacent to your property please notify Greg Roeder at the Public Works Street Maintenance Division. 
  • Greg Roeder: or call 507-328-2451.
  • Street Maintenance: 507-328-2450.
  • 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.

Important Information

Helpful Links:

Public Works Department: Related Winter Tips