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 ## 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

Winner: Louisville!

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

18 thoughts on Parking Madness: Louisville vs. San Diego

  1. I’m voting for San Diego. The harbor has even limited space than the Ocean by a large order of magnitude. The harbor view is beautiful, but it is discouraging to walk between the downtown and the harbor due to the fast streets to cross, noise, and as you pointed out sea of cars in between. Surely, we can balance the need to park with preserving our natural beauty.

  2. San Diego makes me sadder (seems like more of a loss) but downtown Louisville just seems like a pedestrian nightmare so it edged out a win (loss?).

  3. We’re on it!

    The San Diego County Administration Center Waterfront Park will convert the large 8-acre on-grade parking lots north and south of the historic Administration Center to a large community and regional open space amenity. The park will include large civic greens, children’s play area, intimate garden rooms and an expansive interactive fountain. Parking will be provided in a new underground parking garage off of Ash Street.

    Start of Construction – September 24, 2012
    SOUTH PARKING LOT CLOSED – September 24, 2012
    Scheduled Completion – Late Spring 2014

    North Embarcadero Visionary Plan

    NEVP Phase I Construction Update: February 22, 2013

    Ride well and be safe out there,

  4. Thank you for bringing this information to light!! This San Diego waterfront parking lot is becoming a beautiful PARK as we speak. Sorry Luisville.

  5. Louisville is having probably the most objectionable parking fields.They should have developed one parking lot on each side of area rather than having different parking lots on different sides of areas.San Diego is better in this regard. Gatwick parking

  6. Yes, Louisville is much rushy for the parking fields and due to this car parking can be vulnerable . San Diego is better choice for this and in that case gatwick airport parking gives the security at travelers ease

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