Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Cleveland

Parking Craters: Scourge of American Downtowns

Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt popularized the term "parking crater," defined simply as "a depression in the middle of an urban area formed by the absence of buildings."

Various types of "meteors" left behind parking craters in the 20th century -- sprawl subsidies,  highway building, the erosion of manufacturing. Whatever the cause, parking craters destroy sections of downtowns and make the environment inhospitable and unattractive. In these areas, there is virtually no street life. In warm weather the asphalt makes the air more oppressive. It's hell on earth. It's a parking crater.

In this Streetfilm we talk to advocates in Cleveland, Dallas, Hartford, and Houston about the parking craters in their downtowns -- several of which have been contenders in Streetsblog's annual Parking Madness tournament -- and how these awful craters came to be.

A final note: If this Streetfilm is well received, we intend to do a follow-up film looking at the flip side -- cities that have undone their parking craters by adopting better policies.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Tuesday’s Headlines Need a Camera to My Eye

Reminding which lies have I been hiding — like that I was driving illegally in the bus lane or bike lane.

May 28, 2024

OPINION: Reject New Jersey’s Misguided War on E-Bikes

A new bill in New Jersey would make owning an e-bike as costly as buying a new vehicle every single year.

May 28, 2024

Rep. Earl Blumenauer Thinks Biking Is About To Have Its Big Moment

..and he hopes to catalyze that revolution as he leaves the halls of Congress.

May 28, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Depend on How You Phrase It

How to reduce emissions through taxes is pretty clear, but to sell it to the public, you can't make lower-income people pay.

May 24, 2024

Register Your Bike. It’s Easy, It’s Free, and It Helps Everyone

Bike Index, a free national bike registry, just launched an iOS app to make it even easier.

May 23, 2024
See all posts