The “Elite Eight” of Parking Madness: Milwaukee vs. Columbia

So far, Texas is really dominating our Parking Madness tournament. The two Final Four spots awarded so far have gone to Lone Star heavyweights Dallas and Houston. We might have an all-Texas final.

But there are still two remaining spots in the Final Four of terrible downtown parking craters. One of those spots is going to go to either Milwaukee or Columbia, South Carolina — today’s Elite Eight match-up.

Let’s refresh ourselves with the Milwaukee parking crater:

Submitted by reader Aaron from Milwaukee, this one is not a crater so much as a lunar landscape bereft of human life forms.

The area is between Milwaukee’s Third Ward — a rather hip area — and the lakefront. Aaron tells us they occasionally hold summer festivals on part of this lot — so a few times a year, at least, this place has people in it. One thing’s for sure, though: parking lots so close to the waterfront are even sadder then regular parking lots.

Here’s a wider view where you can see the parking/freeway complex divide the Third Ward from the lake:

Now, let’s look at Columbia, South Carolina, which beat out Minneapolis in a squeaker in the first round:

This whole scene is adjacent to the South Carolina Statehouse, whose grounds you can see in the right bottom corner.

The most remarkable thing about this photo, in my opinion, is the almost total lack of cars.

Here’s a wider view:

So, the only remaining question is, which one of these spaces deserves to be shamed in the Final Four?

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Milwaukee (72%, 163 Votes)
  • Columbia, South Carolina (28%, 63 Votes)

Total Voters: 226

  • Anonymous

    Close call, but I had to go with Columbia due to its crater being more centrally-located. Though I also agree on how sad it is to have such a sprawling stretch of nothingness right there on the waterfront in Milwaukee.

  • Shoupaholic

    Given that most of South Carolina will simply be incapable of mustering any sense of shame around the idea that a city could have too-much-parking, I’m going with Milwaukee. Civic leaders over there might actually be embarrassed by this.

  • These are all still better than the parking lot planet from Invader Zim.

  • These are all still better than the parking lot planet from Invader Zim.

  • These are all still better than the parking lot planet from Invader Zim.

  • Nathan

    Milwaukee appears to be a result of the impact of a hwy on… everything. At least the space can be used as parking, because the only thing left is storage unit. No one wants to live or work under an overpass.

  • davistrain

    Could the first Columbia photo have been taken on a Sunday morning? That’s one of the problems when government and/or financial buildings predominate–deadsville after 5 PM on Fridays.

  • thielges

    I agree Nathan. This place was already wasted by the freeway interchange. There’s not much other use of this land except for low height storage like parking. The lots in Columbia on the other hand could be used for something much better. That’s actually the positive of a proper parking crater: it is ripe for redevelopment.

  • thielges

    Oh, and thanks for including more context in both of these cities. It makes it a lot easier to understand how the crater affects the neighborhood.

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