Does Rochester Have a Parking Problem?

Does Rochester Have a Parking Problem?

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published February 20, 2012 and can be found here.

Downtown Rochester, N.Y. Parking Map.

   Yes, we have a parking problem. Quite simply, there's too much of it. It's EVERWHERE. No rhyme or reason or method to the madness. We lost control of this problem decades ago when we bulldozed half of our downtown in the name of urban renewal, and to this very day we continue to allow our few urban spaces and historic buildings to be paved over.

At its best, this is land that's not being used for any productive purpose but to store our cars on. More than that, these ugly gray patches of land create voids in our community; Dead-zones where no one wants to be for any length of time. These are places not worth caring about. And our city is literally covered with them...

Downtown Rochester, N.Y. satellite view of parking areas.

   The process I used to mark up this satellite image was simple:

  • RED: Any off-street area (public or private) that faces the street and is used exclusively to park motor vehicles on. Private residential parking areas, or lots that do not face the street (ie: hidden from public view, accessible only via driveway, etc.) are not marked.
  • DARK RED: Multi-level parking garages. Garages that have office or livable space above them are not marked. Only areas that exclusively used for parking will be marked. The one exception is the Genesee Crossroads Garage which has a seldom used urban green space on top of it.
  • BROKEN RED (HATCH-LINES): Grassy or gravel (unpaved) areas that had vehicles parked on them at the time this satellite image was taken, or are known to be used primarily for parking. It should be noted that these grassy lots had buildings on them at one point - they are not "green" fields.

You know, I actually had second thoughts about posting this image of our city. Quite frankly, it's embarrassing. But the first step in getting over a problem is admitting we have one and I'm most embarrassed to say that we still don't get it. So let this image serve as our medical evidence. This is evidence of a disease. A merciless, vicious disease; eating away at what's left of our city's flesh. We need to find a cure--and fast.

So, if this image embarrasses you as much as it does me, please share it with your     regional planners

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, your     City Council member

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,     your Mayor

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... and ask them, "Why?" If they don't answer you, ask them again. Ask what is being done to reverse this.

Better still, ask them to help get the     City Circulator    up and running. An idea which would help convince many poeple to leave their cars at home when travelling downtown, but an idea which nonetheless is sitting on the drawing board somewhere in City Hall collecting dust.

Ask the     Zoning Board

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why they voted to allow North American Breweries, Inc. to demolish the historic brewhouse at 13 Cataract Street, for 27 additional parking spaces.

Then ask yourself, "Why do I drive alone to work everyday when I can carpool, bike, or take the bus?" I promise to do the same.

And if you're wondering how Rochester stacks up against other cities, here's one from Portland, Oregon...

Downtown Portland, O.R. Parking Map.

   (See more at

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Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA