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It’s Rochester vs. Jacksonville in the Parking Madness Championship!

2:16 PM EDT on April 8, 2014

parking_madness_2014_14

Forget Huskies vs. Wildcats -- today is all about parking crater vs. parking crater.

Through 14 matches pitting some of the most hideous parking expanses in the world against each other, two cities are still standing: Rochester and Jacksonville.

These are the worst of the worst downtown asphalt scars. But only one city can claim the Golden Crater, and the teachable moment that comes with it. Now it's up to Streetsblog readers to choose this year's champion.

Let's look at Rochester first:

rochester

Much of the blame for this sad place belongs to Rochester's Inner Loop freeway, a 1960s mistake that cut off central neighborhoods from downtown. Some of Rochester's leadership recognizes the problem: The city recently received funds to fill in a portion of the below-grade highway, which will help heal some of its scars. But the part of town with this parking crater isn't in line for highway repair, at least not yet.

For some historical context, submitter Matthew Denker points out that before the Inner Loop came to town, this part of the city used to be Rochester's central square, a real public gathering place. Here's what the map used to look like. (For reference, locate the area in both maps labeled "Franklin Square.")

old-rochester

So that's Rochester's parking crater.

Now, let's look at Jacksonville:

jacksonville1

Drab. Dead. Ugly. Pretty much any adjective that is synonymous with "lifeless" works for this part of Jacksonville. This one is one of those extra-terrible waterfront parking craters. Carved up by so many freeways, could this ever become a walkable city environment, or is it destined for eternal crater-tude?

So who deserves the 2014 Golden Crater? Vote carefully below.

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