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 downtown area.” So which city has screwed up its downtown worse?

Let’s start out by surveying the damage in Newark, New Jersey’s largest city:


This location includes a lot of surface parking near the Prudential Center, the hockey and basketball arena that opened in 2007. It’s also near Newark Penn Station, a major transit hub where intercity trains, commuter rail, light rail, and a multitude of bus routes converge, notes submitter Michael Klatsky. What a shame.

Now let’s see what Dallas has cooked up for us.


Patrick Kennedy, local planner, urban freeway teardown advocate, and author of Walkable Dallas Fort Worth, sent us this picture. The highway seems to have infected the surrounding areas with a creeping asphalt cancer. This picture is slightly outdated, he notes, although it was the best image he could find. And though Dallas has made some progress filling in the area with “charity and subsidy” projects, private developers don’t seem to be interested.

“We clearly want a great, vibrant downtown to be proud of, but our transportation policy and design is not aligned with the vision and ambition for a better Dallas,” he said. “The highway has effectively created a condition where the highest and best use of land around it is surface parking and downtown on the whole as a place to drive through not to,” he said.

Dallas is a perennial city-to-beat in the race for the Golden Crater. Last year’s entry for this city, from a different part of town, went all the way to the Final Four.


So without further ado, we ask for your vote.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Dallas (67%, 246 Votes)
  • Newark (33%, 123 Votes)

Total Voters: 369

21 thoughts on Parking Madness: Newark vs. Dallas

  1. To be fair, that picture of Dallas is probably 10 years old. Some lots still remain but there has been a lot of new development.

  2. Dallas looks *much* better on Google Maps now compared to the photo presented here. Newark is the clear winner.

  3. The entire area in Dallas has changed drastically – the picture does exist at all anymore. Here is a current aerial:

  4. Hey get a Kickstarter amongst you all, buy the property, pre-sell the space to future tenants, go to the bank and get financing, then build a building. It’s that simple.

  5. If you do make it through the parking lots, some Newark cop who has nothing better to do is liable to threaten to ticket you for crossing the street against a flashing red hand, which started months before parts of the NYPD thought of that. That’s the kind of place Newark is: every right-winger’s stereotype of urban decay, high taxes, and out of control inner-city crime combined with a respectful dedication to parking and motorists’ rights. Why it’s failed to take off is a mystery to me.

  6. The Newark image should get special consideration for being right next to a Northeast Corridor rails station.

  7. If you look closely at the Newark image you can see a rail right of way which was replaced with parking.

  8. Yup, the Prudential Center incorporated part of the CNJ’s terminal. That triangular parking lot at center was the rail yard behind it.

  9. I think I’ve come to realize that many users of this site simply hate republican states/cities, because there is no way in hell a parking crater alongside a highway in Dallas (which has seen a lot of development) is even remotely close to the damage the parking in downtown Newark has done – there may be combined mass transit capacity to move 500,000 people at Newark Penn Station but instead of buildings, there are parking lots.

  10. That’s probably true, but Dallas has the growth and $ to fix that problem (if they wanted) while Newark probably lacks it

  11. Newark real estate has not hit the critical mass Manhattan/Boston/Chicago real estate has where it makes financial sense to dig for parking underground. Philadelphia has the same issue as Newark, ugly parking lots breaking up contiguous commercial space. However, Newark’s situation is improving, downtown is getting more dependent on public trans and there are less need for parking lot, the next economic upturn will benefit Newark. Also, keep in mind that Newark has major sports venue, downtown, operating on weekends and weekdays; with the demographic mix the Devils pull from the exurbs and the suburbs there is no option but having ample parking nearby.

  12. Looks slightly improved but certainly nowhere near fixed – I still see a number of intersections where all 4 sides of the streets are surface lots. And even if that does get fixed, the rest of the surrounding area is a similar mess, with half the streets not even possessing sidewalks.

  13. Hello all. As Angie’s words above and many of you below have pointed out the image above is dated. It was just what I was able to pull up on apple maps (i know) when I was on twitter at the time I sent it. It wasn’t meant to be disingenuous. A local office worker tweeted his view of the area which shows the area I was focusing on, not the Arts District north of Ross which has filled in:

  14. The parking was mostly there when the Predential Center was built and there was a deliberate push NOT to add more so to force people to rely on NJ TRANSIT to get to the games. Trust me, Newark Penn station is a see of red jerseys on game day and the trains are PACKED! I look at those Newark parking lots and see future office highrises. As NYC, Jersey City and Hoboken get stupid expensive, Newark looks a lot more appealing considering its only a quick $2.50 PATH ride to lower and mid-town Manhattan.

  15. The amount of buildings that are still being torn down in Newark, NJ to make room for surface parking lots is appalling, especially when you consider 2 things: 1. surface parking lots are “a non-permitted-use”
    2. some of the buildings are taken down during late nights & weekends, by the biggest parking barons; paved & striped with no approvals & city hall turns a blind eye and deaf ears. pictured below are the latest 2 (still shown on google maps, but no longer there).

  16. Newark is still creating new parking. When you consider the trajectory, it is an absolute shame. Newark should not serve as a park and ride for suburbanites trying to get to New York.

  17. I’m not sure why Dallas is pulling ahead, but as a New Jerseyan I had to shamefully vote for Newark.

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