Parking Madness: Little Rock vs. Atlanta

little_rock_atlanta

Of all the places that have been marred by surface parking, the saddest might be city blocks served by transit, where walking should reign and driving should not be necessary. We’re seeing in this year’s Parking Madness tournament that there’s an abundance of these places around the United States.

So far, parking craters in St. Louis, Medford, Massachusetts, and San Bernardino have advanced to the second round, and voting remains open in the Metro-North showdown of Poughkeepsie vs. Fairfield until tomorrow.

On to today’s matchup of transit-adjacent parkingscapes…

Little Rock — River Cities Travel Center

Arkansas Transit Center

Downtown Little Rock is dominated by surface parking, says reader Cary Tyson, and this site by the River Cities Travel Center — Little Rock’s main bus station and an important transfer point for the regional transit system — is no exception. The surrounding area, as you can see, is none too walkable or welcoming.

Awareness is growing that downtown — and the transit center in particular — could be much more. A temporary installation last October set up market stalls and public art at the site while demonstrating a bus rapid transit-type service for downtown.

Atlanta — Luckie Street and Centennial Olympic Park Drive

Atlanta Parking Crater

This entry comes from reader Michelle Rushing. Atlanta Streetcar stops are marked by purple stars, surface parking is outlined in orange, and parking decks are in blue. She writes:

There is a park on one side but the surrounding blocks are parking and more parking, punctuated by an occasional restaurant or hotel. In the 2+ years since the streetcar was completed, the only development has been to add solar panels to the parking lot next to the stop.

Landscapes like this help explain why the Atlanta Streetcar is attracting just 700 riders a day. While city officials get defensive about the project’s performance, local writer Darin Givens says they should be doing more to develop these sites.

Vote below — this poll closes on Monday at 2 p.m.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Atlanta (55%, 210 Votes)
  • Little Rock (45%, 171 Votes)

Total Voters: 381

  • Evan Davis

    I spent a full year on an architecture project for urban design in Little Rock. Over 70% of downtown is surface or garage parking, with no mixed use programming, sufficient urban parks, or designated public space until you reach The River Market. Between The Market and South Main across the interstate is a sea of asphalt, concrete, and glass. Even worse is that, despite all of the parking spaces, much of downtown is *dead* except on weekends for River Market traffic, with no destinations for pedestrians whatsoever. Until the City commits to serious redevelopment, or reigns in its terrible master planning schemes (seriously, there is a drive-thru in downtown of all places), then Downtown Little Rock will continue to be a no-man’s land.

  • B. Bridge

    The review of Little Rock needs a few corrections. First off the River Cities Travel Center is the main transfer point for LR’s bus system and nothing else uses it. The streetcar runs a few blocks away but at this time does not connect. Also, the property to the north across from the transit center is under development with a Hilton Garden Inn being built and another hotel is planned for the block.
    As far as E. Davis’ comment below I wonder when the last time he was in the downtown area. During the last few years Main Street is under redevelopment with new office space, restaurants, lofts and community organizations opening up. In addition the Arkansas Highway Department has plans to redo the entrances/exits for I-30 providing space for a new park between the River Market and the Travel Center.
    In conclusion I would say it is not as bad as it was but Little Rock still has a long way to go and in the future the Travel Center might need to be rebuilt or moved.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

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, […]

It’s ON! Parking Madness 2014 Kicks Off With Chicago vs. Denver

|
Are you ready for Parking Madness 2014, our second annual search for parking craters that have obliterated cities? You better be. Last year, Tulsa took home the Golden Crater. In this year’s tournament, we broadened the field to accept entries from outside the United States. Perhaps not surprisingly, American parking craters still dominated the reader […]