Lilac Festival-goers and neighbors frustrated by parking situation

Lilac Festival-goers and neighbors frustrated by parking situation

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The parking situation at the Lilac Festival is always a challenge, but this year it’s even more frustrating than usual — partially because of mother nature.

The grass parking lots at South Goodman Street and Elmwood Avenue are closed because of the rain, and that’s pushing even more people into the neighborhoods that surround the park. Folks who live in those neighborhoods are losing patience. 

Lilac organizers, on the website, warn attendees not to park on side streets or Goodman Street and fences and signs saying “road closed” have been placed at the end of a number of the streets leading to Highland Park, still it appears that’s all being ignored.   

MaryLee Almekinder has lived on May Street for the past three years.

“We really like it. Collage Town is close. There’s a lot of things to love. I love the lilac festival,” she tells News10NBC.

She just dreads the parking headache that comes with it.

Almekinder’s home and a handful of others on her street don’t have driveways. So, residents typically park on the street.

“I can’t go grocery shopping and bring my groceries in. I can’t go out to see my parents on my day off because I can’t get back in. I come home after a 12-hour day and I can’t park. I have to park three streets over, and sometimes I have to circle for almost a half hour before I find anything. If I get frustrated, I have to pay for parking,” she says.

The problem seems to be exacerbated this year by the closure of the two field lots that normally accommodate hundreds of vehicles.

“Give us parking passes. Now it’s easy to identify, right? Whoever doesn’t have a parking pass gets ticketed or towed,” Almekinder suggests. “Or, I don’t expect the police to do this, they’ve got enough to do with the festival, but you’ve got workforce development here in the city with grant money, where you could hire people to do that job (sit at the fences) and at least of monitor who is going in and out.”

On Wednesday, Gary Walker, a spokesman for Monroe County told News10NBC:

“We take the concerns of the neighbors surrounding the Lilac Festival seriously. RPD and Monroe County work collaboratively to determine traffic patterns and parking restrictions around the festival site, with the public safety and convenience in mind. We work with neighbors who have brought forth concerns about parking and we have made adjustments and allowances to help them with access to their properties. In the months leading up to the festival, we attend neighborhood meetings to listen to specific concerns and have created a brochure for neighbors to easily find appropriate phone numbers to report concerns.”

Walker also explained that the county doesn’t believe law enforcement would be able to enforce a parking pass for residents, as these are city streets that typically allow for on-street parking. 

People looking for festival parking should consider the Al Sigl Center, Divinity School, School 12, South Highland Apartments, or a few other private parking options in the area. Regardless of location, the cost shouldn’t be more than $10. There’s also a shuttle available on the weekends from the Golisano Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship — which is located at 150 Sawgrass Drive.