This one weird old trick will help you avoid a parking ticket as Odd/Even parking returns to Ithaca

October 31, 2015 by Rachel Cera

Watch where you park! Ithaca's one weird old Odd/Even parking restriction returns on November 1st, but this year, there's a new twist in Fall Creek.

From November 1st through April 1st, under the current policy, parking is prohibited on City streets from 2am-6am on the odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered days, and the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered days. Note that when there are 31 days in a month, that means there's no parking on odd-numbered streets two nights in a row!

Mayor Svante Myrick, who rarely drives and doesn't own a car, has said he would just as soon do away with odd-even parking regulations in the City of Ithaca. The Board of Public Works had been working on a new plan that would replace the widely derided policy with year-round rotating parking restrictions, in a fifth of the City on one day each week, but it has stalled.

People seem to like Odd/Even?

City Alderperson Deborah Mohlenhoff says the effort was being led by Chief of Staff Kevin Sutherland, who has left city government. "He found that although many people are frustrated by it, another system or the elimination of it entirely was also not viable," Mohlenhoff tells us. "Many many members of the public came forward to say it was not a bad system."

"Some of the benefits of keeping it include that it forces people to move their cars instead of letting them pile up with snow for days, giving Streets & Facilities days when they can clear the roads easier," Mohlenhoff says. That makes sure each side of the street is free of parked cars at least every couple of days, even if they won't necessarily get to clear your street every other day. "Public Works has streets on a priority list. There are only so many of them and only so much time," Mohlenhoff says.

Do you have to move your car every night?

Throughout most of the city, the Odd/Even rule applies even on streets with parking on only one side. Drivers must find another street on which to park overnight. Vehicles parked on the wrong side of the street between 2-6am from November through March are ticketed, and vehicles that have not been moved in 72 hours could be considered abandoned and towed at the owner's expense.

The exception? North Cayuga Street, which has just been restriped with bike lanes and parking only on one side of the street for much of its length. From Farm to Marshall Street, there's only one-hour parking on the east side of the street and no parking on the west side. Residents will not be able to park overnight in this area, and must find spaces on side streets. From Marshall to Lincoln Street, 24-hour parking is allowed on the east side of the street -- but you can't leave your car longer than 24 hours! You must move it every day. From Lincoln Street to the north end of North Cayuga Street at the city line, no parking is allowed on either side of the street. City Clerk Julie Holcomb says new signage has been installed that should help make the restrictions clear on each block.

Ithaca resident Cameron Finucane took it upon himself to produce a web site that helps you decide where to park. Visit whichsidetopark.info at any time for advice on where to park. Whether it's before or after midnight, the site will correctly tell you which side of the street you can park on for that night.

The City might still consider a new system down the road, such as a snow emergency system where residents must get their cars off one side of the street or the other only when there's been significant snowfall. Mohlenhoff said they "hadn't come up with a good way to communicate it." She adds, "we left it where it is for now until we can find time to take another stab at a new system."

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