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New parking ramp opens in Rochester

It not only adds 630 parking spots downtown, but also ‘leading-edge parking technologies.’

Posted: Mar. 26, 2019 8:02 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s no secret parking in downtown Rochester isn’t easiest find.

Jaynah Speltz works downtown and said it’s not uncommon for her to come into work around 9 or 10am and find multiple parking ramps already full.

“It shouldn't be a struggle for us to find somewhere to park. And while Rochester does offer public transportation, I mean, at the clinic we work later shifts than the buses run,” Jaynah Speltz of Rochester said.

But, a new parking ramp at the corner of 1st Ave SE and 1st St SE aims to help.

It opens on Tuesday and adds 630 parking stalls, bringing the total number of structured parking stalls in city ramps to 3,513.
The ramp has two skyway entry points and two-way traffic on every level.

More technology will be added as people start to use the ramps and user patterns start to form.

The city plans on adding a guidance system helping parkers find spots quickly. It also plans to add license plate recognition to get people in and out of the ramp faster. Lastly, the ramp will have a mobile app to help drivers find their parked cars.

It’s a new parking option Speltz is already planning to try out.

“I just know it's a concern that's always on every body's mind so when I hear about stuff that's actually in the works, it's exciting and we definitely need it,” she said.

On the ground level, there will also be a storage space for bikes with the walls decorated with art.

The new parking structure also allows for up to 10 stories to be built on top. The City of Rochester is still looking for proposals for a mixed-income or affordable housing complex to be build above the ramp. The deadline to submit proposals in June 14.

While the parking ramp opens on Tuesday, a grand opening is scheduled for summer.

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