Parking Madness: Atlanta vs Denver

In the race to the bottom that is Parking Madness, Streetsblog’s Sweet 16-style tournament of terrible downtown parking craters, 10 cities have faced off so far.

But there are more, so many more awful parking wastelands in otherwise proud American cities. In this post, the match up is Atlanta versus Denver. Remember to cast your votes at the bottom.

Let’s start with Atlanta:

The most shameful thing about this asphalt field is that a MARTA rail station is smack dab in the middle of it. So much for transit-oriented development, huh? Atlanta transit advocate Ashley Robbins sent us this description:

One MARTA stop south of Five Points, the downtown epicenter of Atlanta, stands the Garnett station in a sea of underutilized parking. The Garnett plaza garden over the heavy rail and Greyhound stations, while being near the federal building, the Atlanta Municipal court, and the popular Castleberry Hill neighborhood, is surrounded with unkempt parking, abandoned buildings and is known for lurid activity, giving Garnett one of the worst reputations of any MARTA station.

There’s nothing quite as threatening as a darkened parking lot at night.

Meanwhile, on to Denver. Commenter Jack Shaner sent us this aerial photo of the northern edge of downtown in the Mile High City, in which you can see a collection of craters:

Ken Schroeppel of Denver Urbanism and Denver Infill explains that this area northeast of the Central Business District, called Arapahoe Square, is the last remaining downtown-adjacent district to undergo major redevelopment.

The area was once a fully developed mixed-use/industrial district (pre-war) that, like so many other areas, became parking reservoirs for the booming central business district office high-rises that didn’t have parking requirements. Therefore, a lot of property owners in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s tore down the old buildings in the area to provide both a “clean site” for prospective high-rise development, as well as provide parking for all those new downtown office workers. The good news is that the current trend is that many of these parking lots will be/are becoming infill development sites.

Denver has generally done a nice job redeveloping its downtown surface parking lots, a topic we plan to explore once the Parking Madness madness dies down a little.

With that, we turn it over to you, readers. Tell us which urban landscape is more offensive. Cast your votes!

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Atlanta (76%, 130 Votes)
  • Denver (25%, 42 Votes)

Total Voters: 170

Winner: Atlanta!

Tomorrow, San Bernardino takes on Houston.

7 thoughts on Parking Madness: Atlanta vs Denver

  1. David’s right. We demand a REMATCH! Denver has Final Four type parking blight in South Downtown around Metro State / Auraria / Tivoli. We want the varsity starters for this game, not the JV.

  2. David’s right. We demand a REMATCH! Denver has Final Four type parking blight in South Downtown around Metro State / Auraria / Tivoli. We want the varsity starters for this game, not the JV.

  3. Also, Denver has a massive parking garage on just about every block of downtown. It doesn’t make for a great visual but, man, I think they could have won this.

  4. The problem is that planning still separates parking from construction, and allows buildings to be torn down for parking. When a Home Depot or supermarket is built, it should be built over a buried parking lot, or have parking built on the roof, the sidewalk accessible parts of the building should have pedestrian centered access, or even small shops built into the main building to create a more viable street scape. When possible, and construction takes place near freeways, multiple, big box stores should be combined with parking accessible directly from the freeway, but with the building(s) broken up at street level to create a scale more appropriate to the street, with an emphasis on small shops open directly to the street. If we insist on building strip malls and the like, parking should always be to the rear, never between the sidewalk and the structure as it is today. Buildings should always come to the sidewalk, and parking should be the viewed as the pervy relative and kept in the basement or attic.

  5. Denver didn’t have a shot compared to Atlanta, the land of abundant, dirt cheap parking. We have 9 spaces for every car. We should win the whole darn tourney, we need the public shaming.

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