Corning’s Parking Problem

I’ve lived in smaller towns and big cities. I have received maybe 2 parking tickets in my lifetime, up until I moved to Corning. Now I estimate that I receive at least one ticket every 2 to 4 months. I’m not alone in my ticketing woes; I get more emails asking me to address Corning’s parking issues than any other topic. The system seems rigged against us.

Metered Parking Lots

2013-12-19 12.36.22There are parking lots throughout the city of Corning that have a centralized meter. The theory is that you go to the machine, punch in your spot number, and pay for the time you plan on using.  So what’s the problem?

  • The meters don’t accept dollar bills or credit/debit cards. It’s 2014; who has a bunch of change and isn’t on their way to CoinStar? Oh…You have change? Congrats! Unfortunately that might not work either…
  • The meters are constantly broken. When the machine is out of order, you must call to report it, or you are guaranteed a ticket. That being said… if you do call to report it, you are still guaranteed a ticket, but with a better chance at fighting it. However, there’s no phone number posted. Since I’m a nice guy: 607-962-0340 – then hit 3. Here’s a run down:
      1. You call. They ask you for the lot location and your spot number (shouldn’t every spot be free if the meter is broken?)
      2. You will likely get a ticket on your car anyway
      3. Go to the finance office to contest the ticket
      4. They look in their records to see if you called to report the broken machine. But even that isn’t enough…
      5. They’ll tell you what time the meter was fixed, and that you should have paid at that point
      6. Your response should be something like: “I have a full time job, and it doesn’t involve checking the status of your damn parking meters”
      7. At that point, they will (hopefully) “rip up” your ticket
  • When the meter is working, it shouldn’t be… There are signs posted saying when parking is free (weekends, holidays, and weekdays after 5pm), but I am constantly catching people who only see the large “PAY HERE” sign. The machine’s screen should say “free parking today”, and not accept money during those times.

Free Parking Lot

I’ve parked in the free lot next to McDonald’s for over a year. What’s the problem?

  • It’s falling apart
  • It’s often full before 9AM, leaving few other options
  • It’s not conveniently near anything. I know people who park here and walk to the other side of Market St, because it’s their only viable option
  • The sole handicap spot’s paint has completely faded. Actually, I’m not even sure if it is a handicap spot anymore –  plows pile snow there
    • Handicap parking, free and outside of  the time-limited zone parking, is difficult to find in Corning… perhaps non-existent
  • Have a night on the town and decide to be smart by not driving home? This lot tows if you leave your car overnight (same goes for Market St)

Even-Odd Parking

If you’re not a local, you might not be familiar with this concept. Even-odd parking means that every night, you have to park on a different side of the street. In the winter, this makes it easier for the snow plows to do a thorough job.  So what’s the problem?

  • There are 3 other seasons in the year…
  • In other seasons an argument could be made for street sweepers. But seriously, how dirty are our streets?
  • I’ve lived in areas with more snow and skinnier streets; I somehow survived
  • If there is a winter storm it may not even be feasible to move your car to the other side of the street
  • This makes vehicle ownership difficult for elderly or disabled people that don’t have off-street parking
  • Going out of town is challenging if you don’t have options for off-street parking while you are away
  • The regulation is enforced city-wide but only posted in a few locations (see below)
  • The disadvantages greatly outweigh the advantages – It’s just terrible and it should be gone tomorrow

This sign:

Instead of posting easier to understand signs on every street where it is enforced, this sign is posted along higher traffic / higher speed roads coming into the city. It is then enforced city-wide. Has ANYONE ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET driven by this sign at 30+mph and understood it? Even if it were possible to actually stop and read it, would anyone unfamiliar with the area understand or remember it?


I’m assuming the city doesn’t want to clutter streets with signs explaining all of the parking rules. Or perhaps they hope people don’t know, think about, or understand them. Certainly, they make bank on people who can’t afford to take off from work to fight a $10 ticket (the Finance Office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:00).

Zone Parking

For the most part, I don’t mind Zone Parking (Market St and Bridge St) . Its purpose is to make spots available to visitors by keeping local workers from taking them all up. It does that well. The problem is with the other parking systems not working, leaving many of us trying our luck at zone parking. I do think that the 2 hour limit is too short, and the ticket givers are over ambitious. …and maybe cut someone a break if they have an out of town plate; they are spending money.

The issue with Zone Parking is that the time limit starts from the moment you first park, and doesn’t stop just because you leave. For instance, I parked in front of Empire Vision to make an appointment and returned later that day to get my eyes checked. I was parked on Market Street for a total of maybe 45 minutes. But to the ticket dude, I might as well have been there all day.

Centerway Garage is Great!

If you’re parking downtown, the Centerway Garage is the best way to go. It’s free on weekends and every day after 5pm. Daily rates are $5 per day or $37 / month. Centerway Garage is run by the Gaffer District, not by the city; it’s well-managed / maintained, the meter is rarely broken, and during free hours, the gate is left open so people don’t accidentally pay. I wish there were more garages like this. Yes, you can get a permit for one of the metered city lots, but it costs $150 per month quarter, only works in the one lot you buy it for, and comes with the convenience of having to shovel off your car if it snows.

Let’s fix some things…

Let’s face it, the city is more often punishing locals who don’t have as much money: 1) downtown workers who can’t afford paid parking, and 2) residents who don’t have homes with off-street parking.  The other targets are the tourists who come here to spend money. How about this: Instead of frustrating everyone with too many fines, why not not fix / change some of the systems to ones that are straightforward and charge people fairly. If I were in charge, I’d start with this list:

  • Replace the metered lot’s pay machines with ones that work and accept more forms of payment
  • Add additional free parking for downtown workers
  • Better maintain the free parking lot(s)
  • Increase zone parking to 3 hours (if you want to spend money in my town for an additional hour, go right ahead)
  • Less aggressive ticketing on Market St
  • Add another parking garage like the Centerway Garage
  • End even-odd parking

What do you think? Do you think we need to change, or should we leave things the way they are?

UPDATE: Within a few minutes of posting this, people are contacting me asking what we can do. If you are interested in the possibility of a meet-up, shoot me an email:

Myles Lasco

Myles Lasco

Former Website Director and Head Writer at
Myles started and in 2008, and ran it until May of 2014. Myles moved to Tacoma, WA and his new website can be found at:
Myles Lasco
Myles Lasco
Myles Lasco

Latest posts by Myles Lasco (see all)

Myles Lasco
Nothing to see here. ..

40 thoughts on “Corning’s Parking Problem

  1. How about that odd even parking making a little more sense, such as park on the odd numbered side when it is an odd numbered day.. and vice versa.. who the hell can remember all this? You are so spot on about the damn parking meters too.. if the meter was broken, then nobody gets tickets that day for god sake. And how about when they find out that their little scanner is broken and somehow ticketed me at 9:29 one morning for being past two hours.. really? Common sense tells you that you have only been on the job for 29 minutes you little prick.. how could you have scanned me two hours ago?

  2. Completely agree Myles! The only legit reason for any of the parking laws is odd/even for snow removal. This should only be in effect for winters months. Many other cities do this. The other should be time restricted, but free parking on Market st. Everything else is a revenue stream for the city. What can we all do to band together and make a real change here? Show me one corning resident (or visitor) that loves the parking rules.

  3. Here’s a nice idea from Ithaca: If you get a parking ticket and it’s your only one for the last 6 months you don’t have to pay it. Tear it up. Helps for occasional mistakes or out of towers not sure about the rules and makes the city seem more friendly.

  4. When I first moved to Corning in 1985, there actually were alternate-side parking signs on each street. Then they took them down and only had them at the city outskirts, where, as you pointed out, you can’t read them. Ridiculous.

  5. Miles, I too have waxed poetic on the parking frustrations of this city; never with much response from the city. To be fair to the city of Corning, there was one piece of incorrect info in your excellent blog. Parking permits for the city lots are actually $150 per quarter, not per month.

  6. My teeth are grinding just reading your blog post. So frustrating! Most Fun Small Town in America has some fixin’ to do!

  7. OMG I have lots to say, this poor little old lady had NO CHANGE AND NO DEBIT CARD,
    She couldn’t pay with dollar bills, in the freezing cold,
    Thank god I had enough quarters for BOTH OF US! It is 2014, really? Machines wont take dollar bills, so instead this poor little old lady (had I not been there) would’ve had to run all over town just to get quarters to pay for Parking?!? Completely ridiculous! She also parked in front of the pay station and the meter reader pretty much threw a fit about it, REALLY? The lady is 90 or close to it. Have alittle DAMN RESPECT! And the city of Corning may want to change the pay station to accept dollar bills, poor little old ppl that cant stand the cold as it is are going to NEVER SHOP in Corning because of the BS like the little lady said. When the city loses money because of their “parking” they may think twice about it. She came to do her holiday shopping at Van-Heusen and had the most horrible experience just trying to PARK!

  8. Too many neon green shirts on market street. The two younger guys can often be seen walking together holding hands. Seems like a waste to pay them both for one job… Where are all the city council members???

  9. My favorite story I’ve heard–someone in the parking office told a friend that he should’ve called to report a broken meter. He said he didn’t know and that there’s no number or instructions posted. She said “aren’t you from here?” and he said yes. Her response was “if you are from here, you should just know.” !!!

  10. Myles- well done! This is something that I’ve complained about for a decade. I hope all of the efforts involved (yours and the comments generated) give way to a change in the dreadful parking that is Corning. I’d also like to add that I don’t believe one should have to pay to park at the public library.

  11. And what a nightmare to have to change sides when there was 2 feet of snow on the ground and you are trying to drive up hill to turn around!

  12. The odd/even parking is 100% bogus, as is the 2 hr. zone parking on Market Street. This is a cash cow for the city, and won’t change until we all start showing up at city council meetings and complaining. Attica! Attica!

  13. I’ve lived in Corning for over 6 years now. And honest to God this is the first confirmation I’ve got that the odd-even parking was city wide. I’m lucky enough to have off street parking so I never encountered a problem there but parking on market st is a nightmare. Above all else Corning really should figure something out not to punish people who make the responsible decision and choose not to drive if they feel they’ve had too much to drink. I’ve seen folks on numerous occasions drive when they really shouldn’t be simply because they didn’t want their car towed. Its a shame the city chooses to create a perverse incentive for people to drive while intoxicated. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who’s gotten frustrated with the parking situation in the city.

  14. Can it be legal for the city to give parking citations when there are no signs about the regulations? I just got an even-odd ticket and was incensed about it. I plan on submitting evidence that there are no signs on my block. I refuse to pay this ticket even though it’s only $10. How can the city get away with this? As someone who recently moved here from NYC I’m pretty aghast.

  15. One thing not mentioned here is these machines are not cumulative. If you put in $1 because it’s all you have and go get change and “add” to that, you lose the previous payment. NOW THAT’S INSANE. Thieves.

  16. I’m from out of town and received a parking ticket on chemung St ( I was at the ssi office) I was facing S. And curb side I truly was not aware their was no parking their ( lots of curb side room and no no parking signs) I was not aware of Corning’s weird parking code why not take all the money they make with the tickets and put up signs or paint the roads to make parking more understanding in the city limits. I do plan to push to stop ( as I see it a curupt money grab by Corning NY) I’m very sure they receive federal money witch will allow me to bring this up to my federal representative and maby someone will listen.

  17. Interesting article, many good points, but a the same time kind of “whine-y.” There is room for improvement but consider these points:

    1) Parking on Market Street is limited to 2 hours free per zone per day to encourage availability of parking spaces for shoppers. I think 2 hours might not be the right number, and I doubt there is a way to estimate the right number.

    2) Odd-even rules are for street cleaning in residential neighborhoods. I do not recall what percentage of residences have off-street parking on a pad or in a garage. I also do not know what percentage of residences are using those garages as residential storage instead of for the car(s). I can not say how consistent or how good the street cleaning is. Communicating the rules about odd-even parking is a longstanding problem. If anyone cares, teh rules are posted on line:

    3) There are several different parking meter makers, and their meters have different attributes. Why the ones that are in use in the City of Corning were chosen I do not know, given what they expect people to do with them.

    4) The City of Corning would likely have to raise parking fines dramatically to make “tear up the first-in-6-months ticket” revenue-neutral.

    5) I think the first 4 fixed in Myles’ bullet list just might get done.

  18. Hi Myles, I am from Canada. I was on market street yesterday with my family. Within 4 hours I spent approx 500 dollars. I had used 2 different parking spots to stay within the 2 hour limit. Even though I was less then 2 hours on the second spot I still got a ticket. I was very puzzled bcos I thought 2 hour limit was for each spot. Ticket is for 5 dollars only but to pay online or by phone they charge additional 3.5. I agree with you that they should be more tourist friendly. Not only they charged me incorrectly but when I am trying to pay they are making it more difficult by charging additional fees. Very disappointing

  19. We came to Corning for around 10 minutes to purchase an item at the Corning Ware Corel Ware and More Store and walked out to a parking ticket. I was planning to come back someday to visit the Corning Glass Museum, but no longer. Not a very good way to attract visitors.

  20. I also have had the “Corning Welcome” by parking in a “permitted” space near the Social Security Office, I was from out of town an thought that was their parking lot, $15. for less than 15 minutes in the SSO. I will try never to come back.

Leave a Reply to Kathrine Page Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *