It’s Tulsa vs. Milwaukee in the Parking Madness Championship!

This is it — the final, epic showdown of Parking Madness. We started with 16 reader-submitted contenders for the title of America’s Worst Parking Crater, and Milwaukee and Tulsa have emerged from three rounds of voting to face off in the championship.

Only one will be immortalized and receive the “Golden Crater,” Streetsblog’s prize for asphalt expanses run amok.

It’s up to you to decide who claims the title, based on the incriminating evidence we’ve compiled below. So let’s get acquainted (or reacquainted, as the case may be) with these two examples of parking devastation:

Downtown Tulsa has been a favorite from the start because of the sheer surface area devoted to parking. Stephen Lassiter of BikeWalkTulsa submitted this photo and told us that “the southern half of downtown is almost entirely surface parking,” as you can see below:

Lassiter also sent along photos showing this part of Tulsa in 1978 versus 2005.

Thanks to local television station KJRH for using the Parking Madness hook to highlight Tulsa’s parking problem in this segment, which ran on Sunday. That’s what this contest is all about. (Watch the video segment; it’s better than the text.)

Fortunately, in July the city issued a temporary moratorium on downtown surface parking lots. But Amanda DeCort, a preservation planner with the city of Tulsa, says that moratorium is nearing its expiration, and the City Council will have to act to renew it if they want to turn this problem around.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee pulled out an upset win over Dallas last week to clinch a spot in the final, based on this vantage point:

This area is between Milwaukee’s Third Ward neighborhood and the lakefront. Pulling back the lens a little bit, we can see a wider view of the combined destruction wrought by highways and parking:

Those highways look like formidable barriers to redevelopment, but some improvements are afoot that may reconfigure the interchange and open up land for buildings. Reader Jason Biernat wrote in to note that the city of Milwaukee is attempting to restore the pedestrian grid between the Third Ward and the lakefront. He added that two new skyscrapers are proposed near this location. “It’s only a matter of time before these parking lots are developed,” Biernat said. “However, Milwaukee is a slow acting city with a weak real estate market, and it may be 10 years before these lots are gone.”

Who should win the Golden Crater? Cast your vote below. The poll is open until Thursday at noon, Eastern Time.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Tulsa (82%, 583 Votes)
  • Milwaukee (18%, 124 Votes)

Total Voters: 707

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