Parking Madness 2015: Nashville vs. Amarillo

We’re moving on to the fourth match of Parking Madness 2015, and the competition is getting intense. So far, parking craters in Tampa, Camden, and Newport News have advanced to the Elite Eight.

Both of today’s contestants could give those quarterfinalists a run for their money. Watch out as Nashville battles Amarillo for a chance at the “honor” of winning the Golden Crater.



This entry comes to us from Margaret Harbaugh, who explains:

Midtown Nashville, a sea of parking around a hospital cluster. Some of these rooftops are multi-story parking garages.

I just took this as a tourist to Nashville a couple weeks ago — I was staying at a hotel across the street from Vanderbilt University and was shocked at the sea of parking lots I had for a view, the traffic jams and tangle of freeways through the city, and the stories I’d read on Streetsblog that the city’s politicians had just decided against new transit. Seemed pretty ironic that there’s a hospital in the middle of all this — it’s not exactly a healthy way to live!

There was a ton of infill development underway in Nashville, Taylor Swift had just bought a penthouse condo around the corner, plenty of buzz around, so I’m hopeful the city will develop in a more walkable way.

Extra points for proximity to Taylor Swift! Doubt we’ll ever see this on her Instagram feed:


Nashville is going up against one of those parking monsters that seems to have swallowed an entire downtown…



Submitter Nick Sortland says:

Amarillo has one sad center for a city, which according to [Wikipedia] has always had steady population growth, but strangely a very-much dying urban center. I went there once to visit relatives, and all that I can remember is that it was large, flat, and brown. Even when coming from Fargo, ND, Amarillo made that look like a green lush paradise compared to the hard dirt of the Texas panhandle.

There is a funny thing about the part of the country from around Tulsa down through this part of Texas: it all looks burnt to hell by the sun in 45 degree view, street level retail is almost completely absent, and the traffic engineers have been kind enough to redesign nearly every road into a one-way for maximum efficiency, which almost certainly assures maximum pedestrian bleakness.

I don’t know if this is some kind of hold over from the prior rancher attitudes of these places, with a desire for your own private land to defend to the death in a shootout, but these places all seem incredibly dead, with a huge absence of any kind of public space.

Interesting commentary. But downtown Amarillo wasn’t always this way, and some people are trying to fix it. There’s just a lot that needs fixing:


Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Amarillo (52%, 128 Votes)
  • Nashville (49%, 121 Votes)

Total Voters: 246


19 thoughts on Parking Madness 2015: Nashville vs. Amarillo

  1. Nashville is the only city I have visited where someone yelled “get a car!” at me while I was walking downtown…

  2. The Nashville hospital complex appears to have a system of tubes to spare you from ever having to set foot on the street.

    Still had to vote for Amarillo.

  3. Compared to previous contestants, these two don’t stand a chance. Both of them seem to be lots of small lot parking surfaces, rather than single parking lots taking up full city blocks. I suppose that means that land acquisition for big tower projects will be slightly more difficult, but it also means that it’s much easier to turn these areas back into the sorts of finely-textured urbanism that everyone loves.

  4. Here is why Nashville wins over Amarillo- growth. Nashville is currently a city of 620,000 people spread over 500 square miles. Amarillo is less than a third the population and does not enjoy the current boomtown status.
    Since the opposition was so fierce against the first phase of a multi modal transit system which is desperately needed, it will take a traffic crisis brought on by the current spate of development to initiate the next prospect of a transport plan for the future. 5 years could pass. Nashville could possibly grow by 20% by then.
    This eventuality will put Nashville on par with Syracuse and not far behind it’s regional cousin, Atlanta.

  5. Nashville, hands down! Let’s remember that Nashville used to be a leafy, lovely, genteel city full of small buildings which would now be considered historic…and all those buildings are gone! Dammit.

  6. If “everyone loves” “finely textured urbanism”, why does it seem so hard to find? Have most Americans sold their souls to “motordom”?

  7. The motive of the ruling class in these cases may be unspoken, but it’s political. Old, decaying downtowns left undisturbed often will house a variety of quirky retail that could never meet the high rents of malls or even strip malls along the traffic sewers. Ethnic restaurants, used book stores, model railroad and toy stores, frame shops, florists, comic shops, even perhaps a record store — remember them? Or heaven forfend, a porn shop/peep show or a gay bar. On my pass thru Amarillo I felt like the conformity police had responded to the threat of personalized and off-beat retail by demolishing every old building that could have been usable with cheap rent. Better to have ever more parking lots than to let people get out of line.

  8. Ugh, yes. I’m from Nashville–born in the hospital pictured above. My dad is constantly complaining about the traffic and how Nashville is turning into Atlanta and yet was VEHEMENTLY opposed to the BRT plan because of all the old (wrong) reasons about transit being subsidized and cars being independent, etc. Not coincidentally, this was the last time I forgot my rule about it never being worth it to argue with my dad and engaged…to no avail.

    Transit will need a major image overhaul if it’s going to succeed there. And if the growth continues as it has, it needs to. Lack of transit isn’t the only reason I’d never consider returning to live in my hometown, but they’re certainly never going to convince me to return without it.

  9. Downtown Nashville is not a real city, no meters in the center but plenty of pay lots all around. Someone must be tight with city hall.

  10. To their credit, that actually makes sense for hospitals, where on occasion people need to be transported between buildings while remaining in their hospital beds. Other patients may not be in hospital beds but require a considerable amount of time to walk from building to building (more than would be tolerated by today’s aggressive drivers) and in some of Nashville’s more uncomfortable months, being able to travel slowly between buildings in a tranquil and climate-controlled environment can limit additional discomfort for patients.

  11. I don’t see much difference between these two cities, so I think I’ll sit out this round.

  12. It’s worth noting that this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. The Nashville example is a mid-town location, away from the city’s downtown core. The Amarillo example is right smack-dab in the urban core.

  13. Never understood what drives people to do such things. I had that yelled at me once, in Edison, NJ, which is a sprawling suburban wasteland, but still. Can’t quite grasp the psychology behind somebody getting so angry at the sight of pedestrians that they feel the need to scream things like that.

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