ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)— Finding free parking along Park Avenue in Rochester just got a little more challenging for locals and those traveling through the area to shop and work.  

Those who live and work along this stretch of Park Avenue next to the Berkeley Street intersection can no longer park for free in this lot next to the UPS store and 7/11. Since the owners transformed it into a pay-to-park area, some are concerned about how this will impact businesses and residents.  

“This is probably the first and last time I’ll ever pay $4 to park here because it is not worth it,” Michael Andrews of Rochester told us after he paid.  

For years, Alloco Real Estate has offered anyone shopping, dining, and working along this popular stretch of Park Ave. access to parking in their lot free of charge. Even before they started charging, finding a place to leave your car was difficult.  

“It’s tough on Park Ave. because there’s supposed to only be a one-hour parking limit here,” Stever’s Candies Manager Jeff Brocht told us. “But they don’t really enforce it. So, there’s a lot of people who park their cars here overnight. So, there’s not as much parking for customers we would like.” 

Since Jeff Brocht and his staff at Stever’s Candies are right across the street from the now pay to Park lot, it was key to attracting customers. Now he worries even employees might have to pay just to come to work.  

“If you’re going in there to just stop around and pick up something quick and you have to pay $2 for the first hour that you’re there, that’s going to turn some people off from coming to this area,” Brocht added.  

“It doesn’t really sit well when I’m here on a rare occasion I came here to sit and eat lunch and then you’re sitting there thinking well how long is this taking?” Andrews said. 

In a statement to News 8, Joe Alloco, the property owner, explained this decision was due to maintenance needed on the lot. Adding, “I’m not looking to make it a profit center. The parking lot has been in disrepair for a long time.” Drivers who paid today said it charged them $2 an hour.  

Any violators who don’t pay the fee to park here risk their car getting towed and face a minimum fee of $140. For any questions about how to pay, a customer service number can be found on the signs all over the parking lot.  

How it works is each sign has a QR code drivers can scan on their phones to register all your information or text the word “PAY” to the number listed on the sign to complete the transaction.