Flower City Sidewalks
Let's get creative with Rochester's outdoor spaces!
This innovative program rethinks the use of outdoor spaces during reopening phases, where we encourage businesses to expand into outdoor spaces like sidewalks, parking lots, and even streets! Some restaurants and stores don’t have enough space indoors to maintain safe distances between customers while attracting enough customers to stay in business. So we’re getting creative with our outdoor spaces! We encourage interested businesses to apply for participation as soon as possible!
Below are the different options available to businesses to expand their seating or service into outdoor spaces. Be sure to review NY State’s guidance for outdoor dining and take-out services.
For the most recent information regarding regulations around outdoor, on-premises service of alcoholic beverages, click here.
Permit requirements are linked below. Once the required information is submitted, your permit is provisionally accepted and City staff will follow up quickly with any modifications or revisions to ensure that you are in compliance.
Level 1- Sidewalks
Please visit the City’s Right-of-Way Permits site if you’re interested in applying for a Sidewalk Café permit. This is an option for businesses that has been in place for many years. However, during this temporary reopening process, the City is waiving the permit fees and has included additional stipulations related to practicing social distancing. Safe and accessible pedestrian and wheelchair traffic will need to be accommodated.
Click here for a quick connection to the printable right-of-way permit application (PDF)
Click here for the permit submission procedures
Level 2- Private Property, Including Adjacent Parking Lots
This is an option to allow businesses to use their parking area or other spaces on their property for outdoor seating or merchandising. To allow businesses to utilize parking lots, requirements for a minimum number of parking spaces are temporarily being waived for applicants. There is no fee for applying.
Click here to obtain an application for an Accessory Outdoor Area
Click here for submission information
Options for Businesses in Specified Areas of the City
The City of Rochester is exploring the closure of streets or portions of streets in selected commercial districts where our analysis shows there is a collection of businesses that may need more than sidewalk space to expand outdoor seating.
See the map below for eligible locations, or click here to download it.
If interested in Level 3 or 4 as described below, click here for permit submission procedures. Click here for State Liquor Authority licensee certification forms
Important note: No work may happen in any street without a permit issued to you. Provisional permits do not apply to Levels 3 or 4.
Level 3- Expanding Into On-street Parking Lanes
Certain on-street parking lanes may be temporarily converted to outdoor restaurant spaces for the adjacent businesses. For more information on how to participate if your business is located in one of the selected districts, see the permit submission procedures linked above. Pedestrian and wheelchair access must continue to be safely accommodated. In some cases where there are 2 or more travel lanes, the outside travel lane could be temporarily converted to on-street parking.
Check back for updates!
Level 4- Expanding Into a Travel Lane
Certain travel lanes and adjacent parking lanes where present may be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic and converted to outdoor restaurant or retail spaces for the adjacent businesses. For more information on how to participate if your business is located in one of the selected districts, see the permit submission procedures linked above. Pedestrian and wheelchair access must continue to be safely accommodated.
Check back for updates!
Click here to learn about the success of the winter greenhouses program.