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.


It’s Washington vs. Burlington in the Parking Madness 2016 Tip Off!

Welcome to Parking Madness, Streetsblog’s annual Sweet 16 tournament of parking craters. What’s a parking crater? Simply put, it’s a depression in the cityscape, a void where car storage has usurped land that should be devoted to buildings. This is the fourth year Streetsblog readers have submitted more than enough entries to field a 16-crater bracket. Thanks to everyone who […]

Parking Madness: Send Us Pics of Parking Lots Where Your City Should Be

Does your city have what it takes to compete in Streetsblog’s fourth annual Parking Madness tournament? Who will join Tulsa, Rochester, and Camden, NJ, as winners of the coveted “Golden Crater”? We’re looking for 16 parking scars blighting American downtowns. One will advance through our bracket to achieve lasting infamy — and hopefully some hometown coverage that […]

Your 2016 Parking Madness Champion Is… Louisville!

Streetsblog readers spent the past three weeks voting in Parking Madness, the single elimination tournament where cities compete for the Golden Crater — a symbol of the shameful amount of space we’ve allowed surface parking to consume in our communities. We started with a field of 16 and now we have a champion. The winner of this year’s Golden Crater […]