TOW JAM: City manager says snow emergency parking ban tows are on increase

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Depending on the type of vehicle and where it is illegally parked, the tow alone can cost up to $250. (Courtesy images)

ROCHESTER - Everyone knows it's no fun going outside to clean off your car after a raging nor'easter or old fashioned New England blizzard.

But it's even less fun when you go outside and find your vehicle has been towed due to a snow emergency parking ban and there's a $125 tow bill plus $200 municipal fine to be paid.

That's what happened to some 20 folk during the city's last snowstorm earlier this month.

Map shows the downtown streets covered by a typical snow emergency parking ban

Rochester City Manager Blaine Cox told City Council on Tuesday that 50 vehicles could have been towed and that parking ban violators have been increasing.

Rochester has several downtown parking lots, but during a snow emergency like there will likely be this weekend, parking is prohibited unless you have obtained a parking exemption sticker.

The all-important sticker can be obtained through the Police Chief's office, Rochester Police Capt. Todd Pinkham said on Thursday.

Pinkham said most of the city parking lots, including Union Street, North Main; Columbus Avenue, Congress Street and South Main Street, have a limited number of parking exemption spaces, but the numbers dwindle as the winter wears on and people become more mindful of the parking bans and the penalties if they are ignored.

Map show downtown Gonic streets covered by snow emergency parking ban

According to city ordinance, illegally parking on downtown streets or in a city parking lot can draw a $15 or $20 dollar fine.

But if a vehicle is towed the cost could be anywhere from $125 to $250 depending on the placement and type of vehicle, one city tow truck operator said today. The city could also charge $200 for violating the ordinance, Cox said.

Notifications for parking bans are posted on the City of Rochester's webpage, and the public can get notifications if they are registered to receive them.

More information can also be found at the Department of Public Works by calling 603-332-4096

To sign up for the email notification visit

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