Parking Madness Elite Eight Matchup: Dallas vs. Jacksonville

We’re on to round two of Parking Madness, our search for the worst parking crater in North America. And I have to say, the parking craters in this match do seem to have descended to a new level of horribleness.

Dallas and Jacksonville are both such overachieving parking cities, it’s almost a shame they meet so soon. But them’s the breaks. Let’s see which is worse. The winner of this match will go onto the final four competition for the Golden Crater.

First, here’s Dallas:


We swapped out the picture we used in the last round for one that our readers assure us is more up to date. There has been a little bit of infill development since the last one was taken. But the area can’t attract unsubsidized private development, according to Patrick Kennedy of Walkable Dallas-Fort Worth, because it’s been so blighted by I-345, which you can see on right edge of the photo. Kennedy has been one of the loudest advocates for tearing down the freeway.

Now, let’s look at Jacksonville:


This area whomped Calgary’s impressive crater in our first round, demonstrating the United States’s clear dominance in the realm of parking wastelands. It helps that this whole area is divided by highways like pieces of a pie. Urban landscapes degraded by highways and filled in by parking have become an all-too-common theme in this competition.

Let us know which place you judge to be most offensive, below:

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Jacksonville (62%, 158 Votes)
  • Dallas (39%, 100 Votes)

Total Voters: 255

Picture 17

10 thoughts on Parking Madness Elite Eight Matchup: Dallas vs. Jacksonville

  1. I’m rooting for Chicago, given how suddenly that crater just stops any life. That might be a hometown bias.

  2. Ooh, this one’s tough. Somehow, the freeways slicing & dicing, and the bigger trees, make the Jax one look less massive — but it slices that lovely waterfront off from everything!

  3. Yes, “Mr. You Didn’t Build That”, these craters could not have been created without government help.

  4. Not sure if this was mentioned before, but these parking lots were ‘built’ not for parking, but to stimulate investment of new construction in cities. Old buildings were preemptively torn down to entice investors to build new modern buildings. It was a horrible idea and left cities blighted. It was based on a notion that old represented slums and over-crowding and the idea was to replace that (street defining buildings) with ‘towers in a park’ concept. Both actually are extreme pov’s, neither really addressing urban living which should be balanced and integrated. Parking was a cheap way to make some money on the empty lot, initially just gravel lots. What’s ironic is if grass was placed to actually enhance a lot, there’s a greater chance that someone would purchase it and develop the site which I’ve witnessed many times in similar situations. The other issue is having enough residential integrated into cities to make ‘core office dead areas’ vital and to making driving unnecessary.

  5. Off topic, but does anyone know what the deal is with that light rail right of way in the Dallas photo? There’s a strip of red and then it is grassed over…looks like it was realigned from a S curve into that elevated wye, maybe when extended? Just sticks out to me

  6. That Dallas photo is still out of date, but as a former VP for the landowner for that 12 acres of parking lots, I can assure you the biggest issue is not the highway. The issue is that they are an office company when they should be building residential. The apartments across the street are 8 storeys tall and fully occupied, and there is no reason to believe the same wouldn’t be true if the landowner/developer changed the development to be more accomodating of the market. Problem is, they don’t own a single residential building and have no expertise in that realm.

  7. Based on the hardscaping next to the red area walkways with lighting, I suspect that stretch of track is/was being held for a future station. Perhaps it may still be used for one if/when the surrounding area develops.

  8. I assume you’re referring to “The Spire” project next to the light rail tracks. Hopefully something gets off the ground soon.

    And yes, the more recent Dallas photo is still out of date. There’s already a new 150+ unit apartment building in construction to the east of the highway shown. This area is part of the largest urban arts district in the country. Also, Hall is building a new office tower smack dab in the middle of the picture.

    I agree Dallas has some parking crater problems, but this is a poor example of one.

  9. Good point. Wall Street’s strictly delimited, single use “property types” might have made development more efficient, but don’t make for good city-building. There’s also not historically been much incentive for single-type owners, like REITs, to stop collecting their nice dividend-paying rent checks and push the property over to the “land held for development” side of their balance sheets.

    I’ve lately noticed a bunch of self-storage buildings that are in primo development locations, but I bet their by-the-spreadsheet owners don’t care.

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