Parking Madness Elite Eight: Dallas vs. Muncie

We’re down to six remaining contenders in this year’s Parking Madness tournament after the grey expanse of Niagara Falls, New York, blew out the competition from Rutland, Vermont, claiming the second slot in the Final Four.

Today’s pairing: a Texas-sized disaster and a Midwestern moonscape. Only one will advance.

Dallas

unnamed-3

Dallas’s Fair Park is a 275-acre complex near downtown that is home to the state fair. The enormous parking fields to the right serve that event once per year — and the rest of the time that land is unused.

In the round of 16, submitter Dallas May called this crater “a reminder of our city’s shame,” referring to the destruction of a black neighborhood to clear space for parking.

Patrick Kennedy, who blogs at Street Smart, wrote in to say that while Dallas realizes something needs to be done, the parking situation is actually getting worse:

These are the lowest income areas of the city. Median incomes by census tract range from 12-18k per household. The population dropped from over 70,000 to under 20,000. The Mayor has created (now several) task force(s) to try to address the issue, which should spell out pretty objectively that the status quo is a problem. Meanwhile, the fair keeps adding parking, eating into neighborhoods. Most sane people would like to see all of this parking consolidated into garages and the land repositioned into mixed-income development to try and break down the barriers from the actual park space to the surrounding neighborhoods (or, expanded park space, but the economics just don’t work). Currently, those barriers include a security fence, a perimeter sea of parking, obnoxious perimeter stroads, and then the neighborhoods.

Muncie

ad58d42f-ef72-4285-a132-4efcfddc126d

Above is an aerial image showing downtown Muncie today. Below is a bird’s eye view from the 1950s:

1d911001-9aae-4c16-b0f8-da22846e7089

Reader Zane Bishop nominated Muncie, telling us the downtown’s problems can be traced to “neglect and abandonment after development shifted toward suburban areas.”

Local planning professor John West weighed in with a comment on the previous Muncie post, arguing that the city’s problems today stem from deindustrialization and plant closures, making it a poor fit for Parking Madness-style notoriety. Other struggling cities have, however, seen deep runs in the tournament spark fruitful discussions about downtown land use.

The next step is up to you, Streetsblog readers.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Dallas (51%, 115 Votes)
  • Muncie (49%, 112 Votes)

Total Voters: 227

  • neroden

    Tough. I say Niagara Falls is taking the whole competition, however.

  • Vickie Raney Stapleton

    I won’t vote, because I don’t know anything about the situation in Muncie….just like anyone that is not from Texas, does not know anything about the parking at Fair Park. As it is, there is nowhere enough parking during the state fair. Yes, it only happens once a year….for three weeks. Millions attend the fair and people around the area even turn their yards and businesses into parking areas, charging $20 and up for parking. There are other events that happen at Fair Park throughout the year. Many other festivals, flea markets, 5K and fun runs, just to name a few. Also, Music Hall, which is Dallas’ facility for musical theater is located on the grounds. I wish people who know nothing of OUR Fair Park would just keep their thoughts and concerns to themselves. There is bound to be something in your local area that you can improve on….stick with that!

  • The_Overdog

    I’m from Dallas and the complaints about Fair Park are more than fair. Even with the state fair, Fair Park gets less yearly visitors than the top 3 malls. The buildings are crumbling, the grounds are mess and confusing to walk around, and there’s a giant mostly unused below-average football stadium jammed into the middle. In short, Fair Park is a total mess worse than outlined above.

  • Jeez Louise

    You seem fun.

  • aw82

    Agreed, and I used to live in Dallas. With DART service that drops you off at Fair Park’s front door, there should be plenty of parking (by way of the parking craters around most of the DART stations).

  • Vickie Raney Stapleton

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know there are many improvements that need to be made…but PARKING is not the main issue. Fair Park is a historic sight in Dallas….in fact, in Texas. It has always been the site of our State Fair, and that is not something I am willing to see changed. The buildings need to be restored, or renovated. Their needs to be better marketing for the many events that happen at Fair Park. There is so much to offer there, but most people just don’t know what is available. Let’s start there and then worry about where people will park.

  • Vickie Raney Stapleton

    I am fun…and I like to have fun. And Fair Park is my happy place. I have gone there all my life, and hope my grandchildren have that same opportunity. Let’s fix Fair Park so that it can help generations to come create lasting memories.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Parking Madness: Dallas vs. Duluth

|
Had enough of ugly parking craters? Too bad! We’re barely halfway through the first round of Parking Madness. As such, Streetsblog will continue to assault your eyes with a surface parking horror show for days on end. Yesterday, the moonscape of downtown Niagara Falls annihilated a quaint-by-comparison crater in Ann Arbor. Today, perennial contender The Big D […]

Parking Madness Final Four: Federal Way vs. Dallas

|
Villanova is taking on UNC tonight, but the main event is here on Streetsblog, with the first Final Four match of Parking Madness 2016. Streetsblog readers have narrowed this year’s field of 16 down to four parking abominations in these cities: Niagara Falls, Louisville, Dallas, and Federal Way, Washington. Your votes will determine who gets into the […]

Final Four Parking Madness Matchup: Milwaukee vs. Dallas

|
We’re down to just four cities: Milwaukee, Dallas, Houston, and Tulsa. But only one can be the champion of Parking Madness, our hunt for the worst parking crater in an American downtown. Today is a very exciting day, because we’re kicking off the Final Four with two venerable parking competitors: Milwaukee and Dallas. Milwaukee has […]

Parking Madness: Los Angeles vs. Dallas

|
Streetsblog’s own “Sweet 16” of the worst downtown parking craters in America — Parking Madness! — continues today with two cities that grew up in the auto age. Known for their mega-highways and congestion, Los Angeles and Dallas have the parking scars to go along with all those cars. An anonymous commenter submitted this entry, […]

Parking Madness: Newark vs. Dallas

|
We’re halfway through the first round of the 2014 Parking Madness tournament, with Kansas City, Detroit, Chicago, and Jacksonville having advanced to the next round. Today’s matchup pairs two very different cities with the same problem: parking craters. A reader submitted the following definition yesterday: park-ing cra-ter (noun) is “ugly, and an inefficient use of space in a […]

“Elite Eight” Parking Madness: Louisville vs. Houston

|
NCAA basketball has nothing on the drama, the intrigue, the heartbreak of a competitive parking crater tournament. We’re now into the “Elite Eight” round of Parking Madness, and today’s winner will join Dallas in the Final Four. It’s going to be a fierce competition between Louisville and Houston. Louisville’s downtown, you’ll recall, looks like this: […]