Parking Madness Final Four: Kansas City vs. Rochester

The hunt for the worst parking crater on earth nears its epic conclusion with the second Final Four match of Parking Madness.

Today’s matchup features a formidable entry from Kansas City and the upstart parking crater from Rochester, New York, which knocked out Detroit in the previous round. The winner will take on Jacksonville tomorrow for a shot at the Golden Crater and eternal parking crater disgrace (but a great local advocacy opportunity).

Which city has made a greater mess of its downtown with excess surface parking?

First up, Kansas City:


This image was marked up and submitted by local advocate Emily Catherine. The area isn’t so much a solitary crater as a pockmarked asphalt wilderness.

They call this the city’s Financial District, but it’s hard to pick out any distinguishing characteristics. That’s the thing about parking craters — after a while all these places start to look the same.

Now on to Rochester, the Cinderella of the 2014 Parking Madness bracket.


Like Kansas City, Rochester has too many surface parking lots and too few buildings between them. It wasn’t always this way. Submitter Matthew Denker points out what was lost when this part of Rochester got leveled by highways and parking lots:


The area called Franklin Square on the old map was once Rochester’s central square, where the community gathered every year to raise a Christmas tree. Now that land is next to the Inner Loop highway and a whole lot of parking. Hard to imagine that any celebrations still take place here.

Let us know which of these craters you think is championship material below.


Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Rochester (59%, 328 Votes)
  • Kansas City (49%, 271 Votes)

Total Voters: 553

19 thoughts on Parking Madness Final Four: Kansas City vs. Rochester

  1. From what I can see, Kansas looks worse but Rochester’s story is sadder, so I’ll go with Rochester.

  2. Anybody who reads this blog regularly got the point a long time ago: Many American cities are still wasting their downtowns to surface parking. There are no winners here.

  3. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that many of the buildings around these surface lots are just parking garages–enough that, before I outlined them, you couldn’t tell which was which. Ironically, the Rochester image might have more visual impact because there are actually cars in the image, while Kansas City lots are empty asphalt

  4. For the record, that’s Missouri. Downtown on the KS side is also run down, but in a poverty sort of way that isn’t quite as overwhelmingly car-centric.

  5. Interestingly enough, the number one biggest complaint from the locals here is a lack of parking downtown.

  6. Thanks Jeff that’s a huge complement! JHK is referenced in this video. I wish more folks read / listened to JHK. We’d be so far ahead as a nation.

  7. They’re both awful. KC is arguably worse… but I’m voting for Rochester, because of local bias (Rochester is closer and I’d like them to fix this crap).

  8. Reason I voted for Rochester is because someone tried to hard to prove the point with the red outlines in KC. Yes it is horrible, but it would have been more dramatic with a natural picture.

  9. It’s worth noting that the expressways are a large part of the awfulness in both cases. In Rochester, the “Inner Belt” is strangling the city and needs to be removed entirely. In KC… they don’t need all those expressways either.

  10. The outlines were to distinguish surface lots from the misleading top view of the parking garages, which can look like surface lots; I was actually trying not to over-represent surface lots. There were no image guidelines; it’s just a Google Maps screenshot I put in a tweet. I preferred when she replaced these with embedded maps, so you can explore the area yourself.

  11. No one wants to walk 2-3 blocks, like people do in every city on earth. I just had to run downtown for an event yesterday — built in an extra 5 minutes, thought ahead to which ramp was closest to where I had to go, and had 0 problems. Rochester could, however, do a better job directing people to the closest ramp with signs.

  12. Who is the idiot(s) that put that inner loop highway there? Does it even get any traffic?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Parking Madness Final Four: Chicago vs. Jacksonville

We started with 16 parking craters and now we’re down to the Final Four of Parking Madness. After two bruising rounds of competition, four hideous parking expanses in Kansas City, Rochester, Chicago, and Jacksonville are still in it to win it. Each one is an ugly and awe-inspiring waste of potential in its own way. Today’s […]

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 […]

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 […]

Parking Madness “Elite Eight”: Kansas City vs. Grand Rapids

One more round, and we’ll be down to the worst-of-the-worst parking craters in the Parking Madness bracket, our annual search for the worst excesses in urban surface parking. Parking overkill has certainly done a lot of damage to both of today’s competitors — Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Kansas City. We need you to help us decide which city […]