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Old 04-13-2013, 07:34 AM
 
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My husband has a job prospect in Binghamton that looks pretty good. After reading some posts here we're not sure about Binghamton. Our ideal town would have great schools, walkable streets, a nice city center, farmers markets, and a progressive community. Ithaca looks like it would be an excellent fit for us but we're not sure if the commute is realistic for the long term, given the weather conditions. Here are my questions:

1. As we have young children, great schools are a top priority. We see that Vestal has highly rated schools but after looking at the real estate in Vestal it looks fairly suburban, not many trees, and newly developed. We prefer older homes, trees, and sidewalks. Are there any areas like this in the Vestal school district?

2. We're looking for schools that aren't just highly rated based on test scores but schools that have very supportive and involved teachers. It is important to us that teachers have an international perspective and are thoughtful and creative in the classroom. Is it clear that Vestal would be the choice for us? Do people think that the schools in Vestal are so much better (than Binghamton or surrounding areas) along the lines I just described that it would justify living in a less than ideal suburban environment?

3. How are the schools in the city of Binghamton?

4. Do some people regularly commute to Binghamton/Vestal using the bus service from Ithaca? Is this a viable option?

5. How are the schools in Ithaca?

6. Binghamton must have a large population of faculty members. Where do they live/send their children to school?

7. People seem to love Ithaca and the geography and landscape around the Ithaca area. Is it really so different around Binghamton? Is the weather between the two cities any different?

8. Any thoughts on the likelihood of fracking in the area? Does fracking pollution in Pennsylvania spill over into Binghamton areas?

Thanks everyone.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:34 AM
 
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I'll just answer that Ithaca City Schools are good and Ithaca does fit what you are looking for. You may get away with parts of Endicott and Johnson City in regards to some of the criteria. Maybe Endwell as well. I believe that Binghamton City Schools can vary at lower levels, but HS stats aren't as high as suburban schools. I believe that BHS has some good programs(IB for example), but it may be a matter of what you can get and deal with. There are Catholic schools K-12 as well. Binghamton's West(south of Main) and Southwest sides are viewed as the best areas of town. West Side Neighborhood Association [WSNA]

Owego may be another good option in terms of walkability and good schools. Others can answer this or other questions better though.
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Old 04-14-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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1. There are older areas in Vestal, a lot of the older neighborhoods had some flooding though.

2. I'd look at the Maine-Endwell school district too. It's got older neighborhoods with a lot of trees, it's somewhat suburban and somewhat urban, but not very congested. It's a very nice town.

3. Not very good. They have some decent aspects, but Binghamton City Schools aren't desirable, at all.

4. I don't know anybody that does, it would be a long ride.

5. From what I hear, Ithaca schools are very, very good, especially for city schools.

6. Most faculty live in Vestal. Not many live in Binghamton, although there are some in higher income neighborhoods.

7. Binghamton area is a very pretty area in it's own right, lots of pretty hills and scenery. Gorgeous in fall.

8. I'd say fracking is likely in the area, but it really wouldn't affect the urban areas at all.
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:05 PM
 
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Thank you both for the helpful answers. We thought Owego looked nice but then we saw the pictures of the flooding. It looked pretty bad.

We'll also take a closer look at Maine-Endwell.

My concern with fracking is with the potential pollution to air and water as well as the potential effects on locally grown produce. We like to eat local when we can but wouldn't feel comfortable feeding our children food grown from local farms if they were close to fracking sites. We've heard too many terrible stories about what happens to animals that graze near fracking sites to take that risk.

We would love to hear from anyone who regularly commutes from Ithaca to Binghamton area. Thanks again!
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:57 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
4,376 posts, read 3,094,342 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
I'll just answer that Ithaca City Schools are good and Ithaca does fit what you are looking for. You may get away with parts of Endicott and Johnson City in regards to some of the criteria. Maybe Endwell as well. I believe that Binghamton City Schools can vary at lower levels, but HS stats aren't as high as suburban schools. I believe that BHS has some good programs(IB for example), but it may be a matter of what you can get and deal with. There are Catholic schools K-12 as well. Binghamton's West(south of Main) and Southwest sides are viewed as the best areas of town. West Side Neighborhood Association [WSNA]

Owego may be another good option in terms of walkability and good schools. Others can answer this or other questions better though.
I stopped in Owego off of I-86 in my drive to NYC last spring. There was nothing there. Well, surprisingly, there was a Tops wherein I was able to purchase a nice little sixpack of Saranac White IPA, but...that place looked ready to shut down at 9:30 PM. The area was so dark that I couldn't see the sign which listed the mileage to Binghamton, and when I asked the worker, he said 10-20 miles. There's a big difference between ten and twenty miles. Much greater than the difference between fifty and sixty, if you get my drift. You should know if you're ten or twenty miles away from your version of the big city.

Turned out to be more than 20 miles away, by the way, haha. Wouldn't have fazed me if it weren't for the fact that the weather was monsoon-like that night (I didn't get to suburban NJ till 2:00 AM, and not until a panic attack or two had been suffered, especially in that surprisingly desolate stretch of 100 or so miles between Binghamton and the outskirts of the outskirts of NYC)
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:56 PM
 
14 posts, read 29,440 times
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Thank you both for the helpful answers. We thought Owego looked nice but then we saw the pictures of the flooding. It looked pretty bad.

We'll also take a closer look at Maine-Endwell.

My concern with fracking is with the potential pollution to air and water as well as the potential effects on locally grown produce. We like to eat local when we can but wouldn't feel comfortable feeding our children food grown from local farms if they were close to fracking sites. We've heard too many terrible stories about what happens to animals that graze near fracking sites to take that risk.

We would love to hear from anyone who regularly commutes from Ithaca to Binghamton area. Thanks again!
I've been commuting from the Maine-Endwell district to Ithaca on a temporary work assignment for the past few months. The commute is approximately an hour, two lane roads the entire way. If your husbands job is right in Binghamton, add an extra 20-25 minutes to the commute.

Maine-Endwell is a good school district. The walkability of it can vary greatly depending on the location of your house.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by burnsie1983 View Post
I've been commuting from the Maine-Endwell district to Ithaca on a temporary work assignment for the past few months. The commute is approximately an hour, two lane roads the entire way. If your husbands job is right in Binghamton, add an extra 20-25 minutes to the commute.

Maine-Endwell is a good school district. The walkability of it can vary greatly depending on the location of your house.
What is the drive like in the snow? We are not used to driving in the snow.

Also, as far as commute time, does rush hour make a difference?

Thanks for the info!
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:52 PM
 
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1. There are some older areas, but many of those have issues with flooding. That said, newly developed is a relative term, most of the houses in the "newer areas" are (I would guess) 25-50 years old. If you're willing to compromise on the sidewalks, you could probably consider looking on some of the quiet streets that back up to woods, such certain streets near the university.

2. No personal experience, know a few people who went through the Vestal district and they think it was a pretty good education.

3. Again, no personal experience, but everything I know is that they're pretty poor. Not awful, but definitely worse than the average.

4. I've never heard of anyone doing that. People do drive between the two, although it's a fairly long commute for my taste.

6. They really live all over the area. Plenty in Vestal, and various other suburbs in the area, some people commute from far away, some live in Binghamton, usually on the West Side. However, keep in mind that faculty at a university often skew towards 50+, where presumably kids are no longer a concern.

7. There is a lot of natural beauty near Ithaca. While Binghamton does have nice looking forested hills, it doesn't have the lakes, gorges, etc.

8. It's currently banned in NY, and Binghamton's local government is opposed to it, as is Ithaca's. If it is ever allowed, both Ithaca and Binghamton are sites where there would be an interest in fracking. I would say the likelyhood of Binghamton agreeing to it eventually is higher than in Ithaca, just because the area is worse off economically, but at present both are opposed. (It's also worth noting that I have no idea if the local bans would hold up in court or not.). As far as fracking pollution from PA, no problems that I've ever heard of.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:06 AM
 
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OP(tenstates), would you consider Catholic schools? I only ask as it could allow for your family to live on the West or SW sides of Binghamton and have schools that are close by. It would be a short commute to the university and there are Farmer's Markets in Johnson City and Binghamton as well. I believe that
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tenstates View Post
What is the drive like in the snow? We are not used to driving in the snow.

Also, as far as commute time, does rush hour make a difference?

Thanks for the info!
The drive in the snow can be challenging. Use plenty of caution and common sense, and you will be ok. I would certainly recommend snow tires or a vehicle with 4wd or AWD if you are going to make that commute all winter. Most of the roads are well taken care of, but if you are driving in the middle of a storm, the plows can't always keep up and you could encounter significant amounts of snow. During most winters this won't happen more than 8-10 times, but you need to be prepared nonetheless.

Rush Hour around here is mostly non-existent. We consider a 5-10 minute delay to be outrageous. The routes between Ithaca and Binghamton will not be affected much by traffic. The only congestion you may run into would be right in Ithaca, and a little in downtown Binghamton too. But as I said, it will be extremely minor.
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