Parking Madness 2015! First Match: Camden vs. Mobile
Happy Selection Thursday, Streetsblog readers — our annual Parking Madness tournament kicks off today. Over the next few weeks, these 16 cities and towns will vie for the coveted Golden Crater, awarded to the most horrendous pit of parking to blight an American downtown.
It’s year three of this competition, and we’re in absolutely no danger of running low on awful urban spaces in need of a good public shaming. We received more than two dozen worthy entries and had to cut quite a few to narrow it down to these 16 contenders. In addition to the photographic evidence for each parking crater, we considered the submitter’s written description and the geographic distribution of the entire field to arrive at the final bracket. Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry — if yours didn’t make it, there’s always next year.
Now it’s time to get down to business: Who has the worst crater? First up is Camden, New Jersey, vs. Mobile, Alabama.
Years ago, this area housed factories for companies like RCA. Ever since, they’ve been used as parking lots for the equally neighborhood-deadening L3 Building, which is essentially a fortress separating employees from the rest of the city. Residents of the Cooper-Grant neighborhood are trying to rebuild a viable neighborhood here, and the negative effects of these huge parking lots stand directly in the way of that goal.
Extra sad when these craters blight a city’s waterfront. This is the straight shot from Google’s satellite camera:
This entry was submitted by an anonymous commenter, who explained:
The grassy area on the lower right is an historic fort, completely encircled by an off-ramp from I-10 onto “Water Street,” which ironically cuts off the whole downtown area from said water (the Mobile River [out of frame, to the right of the highway]). Please note: extra parking provided inside of off-ramp, and between Water Street and cruise ship.
Then, just to the north: Downtown Mobile. It’s hard to choose my favorite parking lot, but if forced I’d say it’s the one abutting Bienville Square’s (the green block) western edge. Great use of a city square!
Here’s the view from Google Earth, straight overhead:
Dreadful. But who should advance to the next round?