Parking Madness: Louisville vs. San Diego

This week we’re really getting into the thick of our Parking Madness tournament, the hunt for the worst parking crater in an American downtown.

Today’s match-up features a Kentucky river city that has done a number on its downtown and a California beach city with a weak spot for asphalt: It’s Louisville versus San Diego! Don’t forget to vote at the bottom.

Let’s start with Louisville:

This submission comes to us from Patrick Smith (@cityresearch on Twitter). Note that the grey boxes represent real buildings that haven’t been uploaded yet to Google Earth.

The parking fields here are near Jefferson Community and Technical College, an office of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the headquarters of the Parking Authority of River City (PARC) — which, by the looks of downtown, must have its hands full. The sad thing is that this parking crater is not that different from the rest of downtown Louisville. In 2011, Erik Weber made this map of the city with all the surface parking lots highlighted in red (and posted some impressive photos of other parking craters):

Map by Erik Weber

He wrote at Broken Sidewalk:

A conservative estimate shows that (probably) at least a third of Louisville’s downtown surface area is occupied solely by parking.

This is a city, Weber said, that’s been betting on mega-projects to revitalize its downtown while ignoring the street-level issues. A common but very avoidable mistake.

Now on to San Diego:

This area — part of San Diego’s downtown waterfront — was submitted by reader Jason Tinkley.

Hard to believe, but all this parking is right next to the harbor — presumably marring some very valuable and otherwise picturesque land. There’s only so much oceanfront property convenient to a major city center in America, and here are several acres of it where people can store cars for $1.25 per hour.

On to the voting: Tell us which of these parking fields is the most objectionable.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Louisville (58%, 211 Votes)
  • San Diego (42%, 151 Votes)

Total Voters: 362

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Winner: Louisville!

Yesterday, Dallas beat Los Angeles, advancing to the second round along with last week’s “winners,” Milwaukee and Tulsa.