Binghamton officials are urging residents to abide by the city’s alternate side parking mandate as students receive parking citations.

From Dec. 1, 2021 to March 15, 2022, Binghamton streets are under annual winter alternate side parking rules in an effort to assist efficient and safe snow plowing and emergency crew service travel. The rules require residents to only park on the even side of the street on even-numbered calendar days and on the odd side of the street on odd-numbered days until 5 p.m. After 5 p.m., city residents must “park for tomorrow” and move their vehicles to the other side in anticipation for the next calendar day. The even and odd street sides are indicated by the even and odd side residence house numbers. The rules apply to all streets in Binghamton, including one-side parking streets, with certain exceptions. Failure to comply with the rules results in a ticket issued by the Binghamton Police Department (BPD) and in some cases impedes emergency service travel.

The alternate side parking rules include Binghamton’s West Side neighborhood, where many of Binghamton University’s off-campus students live. According to Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham, compliance to the rules has been a yearly issue.

“The bottom line here is that adherence to alternate side parking rules in the city of Binghamton is the number one effort, collectively, residents can make to support snow plow operations,” Kraham said. “When cars are parked illegally, which to be frank, we see a lot in student-heavy neighborhoods, it slows down snow plow operations. We made a huge focus to enforce the city’s alternate side parking this snow season.”

According to data provided by the Mayor’s Office from Jan. 22 — when many students returned to Binghamton for the start of the spring semester — to Feb. 7, the BPD issued 1,778 tickets to alternate side parking violators. While the number is citywide, Kraham said a significant number of the tickets were issued in student-concentrated areas. While Kraham acknowledged the parking rules may be inconvenient for some as students may have to park far from their residence, he said the costs of noncompliance can be significant.

“That parking convenience equates to a public safety issue for all residents in Binghamton,” Kraham said. “If a snowplow cannot move down a street, the street cannot be cleared. While students may be inconvenienced by it, parking there has created a public safety issue, and that is not acceptable.”

Sade Salazar, president of Off Campus College Council (OC3) and senior triple-majoring in economics, accounting and philosophy, politics and law, wrote that the council has not yet received formal student complaints regarding alternate side parking and tickets. However, she said the City of Binghamton has not done enough regarding street plowing — which the new rules are attempting to support — and advised students to use other modes of transportation during severe weather.

“In [OC3’s] opinion, the City of Binghamton hasn’t been the best at keeping up with snow plowing various streets in the area,” Salazar wrote in an email. ”The University must recognize that their service isn’t perfect and communicate with professors to seek alternative class formats if necessary. We advise students to seek alternate routes or take public transportation or [Off Campus College Transportation] blue buses rather than use their own transportation during and after inclement weather.”

While both the City of Binghamton Mayor’s Office and the OC3 have not received formal complaints about the issues with alternate side parking, some off-campus students expressed frustration with the street parking regulation.

According to section 400-78 of the Traffic Code of the City of Binghamton, the city requires only one annual posting to inform the public about the alternate side parking rules by the local newspaper and local airways.

Athina Glumicic, an off-campus resident and a junior majoring in psychology, said Binghamton officials do not do an adequate job communicating the winter parking rules when they go into effect.

“The communication is not clear enough, there are no signs anywhere to remind the community of the alternate side parking rules,” Glumicic said. “The rules were communicated via flyers placed on some vehicles, leaving many students uninformed about how to avoid getting ticketed.”

Other off-campus students like Paula Jankowski, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, pointed to the lack of space available — as residents are required to only park on one side at a time instead of both. When parked in her driveway, she recalled often being blocked in and texting roommates to move their cars.

“Realistically on a single block, there are many cars and expecting people to fit on one side of the street for four months straight is ridiculous,” Jankowski said. “I understand there are driveways, but with conflicting schedules, it can be difficult to park without blocking each other.”

While Kraham is aware of these struggles that resulted from winter parking, he suggested students think creatively and be more proactive.

“I encourage students to think outside the box,” Kraham said. “Many homes have driveways, maybe not in full use, so text a neighbor or roommate to try to get cars off the street entirely, or use alternative modes of transportation or utilize parking lots at city parks which are open to students during snowstorms.”

Guidelines and exemptions of the City of Binghamton’s alternate side parking mandate can be found here.