Parking Madness Elite Eight: Rochester vs. Detroit

The last spot in the 2014 Parking Madness Final Four is at stake today, as Rochester faces off against Detroit.

The pictures of these two places, below, really speak for themselves. So without further ado, we’ll leave it up to you guys to tell us which city has the worst parking crater.

Here’s Rochester:


This soulless, unlovable area, reports submitter Matthew Denker, used to be the town square for Rochester, where the annual Christmas tree was raised. That was before the Inner Loop freeway came along and decimated the place.

Can Detroit beat that?

Detroit Parking Crater

It appears even car owners find this area repellant. This parking crater borders I-75, visible in the top left corner. What a mess.

Give us your choice for worst parking crater below.


Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Rochester (58%, 301 Votes)
  • Detroit (49%, 251 Votes)

Total Voters: 517

  • Fakey McFakename

    You can’t blame Detroit for being a wasteland any more. It’s not like they’d be able to convince developers to build something there even if they wanted to.

  • Ian Turner

    To a certain extent Detroit’s parking situation is a consequence of its broader troubles. Certainly those will make it hard to change today’s reality. But it’s not like downtown has always been parking lots; there used to be a bunch of buildings there, and they were razed due to a combination of poorly thought out property tax incentives and a toxic obsession with car culture.

  • RochesterSubway

    Rochester’s downtown has been decimated, even beyond the one small area depicted. See Rochester’s complete downtown parking crater here…

  • Hannah Remtema

    The area shown in Detroit is mostly owned by the Ilitchs – owners of Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, and a number of downtown entertainment venues. These surface lots DO fill up when there is a Lions game (about 1/2 mile east of the image), but for most of the day it’s empty. The “need” for all this parking is related to the lack of viable transit in the region. In 2009 they tore down a few smaller buildings in this area to make room for more surface parking for the Final Four. There is pretty much only one way to get to a baseball game (by car), and the stadium owners won’t give up parking for other development for fear of damaging their attendance. The cost of a structure out-weighs what they think they’d get from building…anything else in the space. And without real transit, that won’t change.

  • jesssoul

    It seems you’re not in touch with the development that is going on these days. Not only is there building, but redevelopment, renovations and more.

  • David Hutchinson

    This is going to be a tough one. I’m concerned that people will think because Detroit has a larger population than Rochester that they automatically have more parking spaces. People don’t realize just how big Rochester is, geographically speaking and I think that’s what’s most important here. Rochester’s downtown revitalization has really tanked with very few buildings going up. Most of them are just coming down.

  • EastBayer

    Agree. Measure these parking craters according to their potential, not their size or ugliness.

  • C Monroe

    Downtown Detroit is hot right now, with a 95% occupancy rate for residential. Many buildings have been or are in the process of being renovated. Also there are some new buildings going up. But this corner of downtown is dead because of the parking for special events due to the lack of any decent regional transit.

  • jesssoul

    Actually, that is prime parking for the Foxtown area, just east of the main entertainment/sports district. Just north of that is where the new hockey arena and retail complex is going in. It will be interesting to see if those flat lots arevredeveloped into deck parking and retail but people are making a ton off drunk suburbanites tailgating before the games.

  • C Monroe

    I was just replying to the other two commenters who believe how much a ghost town Detroit is that the media likes to promote. Yes it is very empty, but still has a population larger than Cleveland, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Nashville and its metro is the same size as Boston and Atlanta. Sorry that I hooked on your post.

  • C Monroe

    By the way the south side of Chicago also has miles of emptiness similar to Detroit.

  • ROC

    What exactly has tanked at this point? Your measure of revitalization is buildings going up? Also, what major structures are coming down beyond the Midtown site, which was a few years ago to make way for the NEW street scape and development? Revitalization is more than new construction its rehabilitation of existing stock, which would otherwise be cost prohibitive to build similar structures from scratch. Existing structures hold the most aesthetic value as well and are currently a part of the extensive investment downtown. The city does cover geographic area, but when talking downtown, city-center, Rochester is quit a bit smaller. Apples and oranges here. The abundance of lots DOES need to be addressed, however.

  • EastBayer

    It’s basically been hemorrhaging people since 1950, and has continued to decline since the most recent decennial census in 2010. Rochester has been losing people too, but not at nearly the same rate. It is fundamental that you need growth pressure for good urban planning. You really can’t blame Detroit for its parking craters.

  • C Monroe

    But the area that this is in is one of only two that have been bucking the trend of declining population. It has been growing.

  • C Monroe

    Yes the city has been and is continuing to lose a lot of people, but its downtown(which this is part of) and midtown(just north of this crater) are going through a growth spurt from ex-suburbanites that want to experience urban living. There have been many new restaurants, stores(including a whole foods) that have opened. No it has not put to much pressure on these lots, that has to do with the lack of decent regional transit that would bring in the entertainment crowds that currently use these lots. The theater district, Comerica Park(tigers) and Ford Field(lions) are just to the east of this picture.


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