Parking Madness 2015: Asheville vs. Syracuse

Only two spots remain in the Elite Eight of Streetsblog’s Parking Madness bracket. Yesterday, the parking fields by GM headquarters along the Detroit waterfront prevailed over the parking crater around the BART station in Bay Area suburb Walnut Creek.

Today, Asheville, North Carolina, faces Rust Belt stalwart Syracuse.



This entry comes to us from the fine folks at Kostelec Planning, who identify it as “downtown Asheville’s ‘South Slope’ area”:

That’s the transit center in the middle. Luckily, the city is looking at wholesale redevelopment of the area but the conversation has already started to revolve around ‘parking problems.’

A bit more perspective:




Submitter Marshall Allen tells us:

This image is of downtown Syracuse just south of the I-690/I-81 interchange. This elevated highway goes through the heart of the city and since its inception, the land immediately adjacent to the highway, has suffered the consequences of low property values for 50 plus years. Additionally, Syracuse’s economy is well past its prime. These two things have combined to create this horrific parking crater in the heart of New York state’s Central City.

Here’s an aerial view of the western half of this crater:


Which parking crater is worse? Vote below.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Syracuse (72%, 206 Votes)
  • Asheville (29%, 83 Votes)

Total Voters: 288


  • C Monroe

    Isn’t Syracuse from last year? Or was that Rochester?

  • Rochester won it last year.

  • Snow season was great in Syracuse as you waited for the report of a vehicle hitting the ‘snow ramp’ along the edge of the elevated freeway and jumping over the edge.

  • NEC_2012

    OH crap these are both so horrible

  • Melanie Archer

    Maybe we should handicap the craters adjacent to freeways. It just seems like they have extra help inducing shivers of horror.

  • tbatts666

    Voted for Asheville because of the “Transit center” location among those craters.

    Syracuse definitely worse.

  • Christopher Berggren

    With the freeways, Syracuse is a “lost cause” until they re-route the freeways away from town. I voted for Asheville because they have no excuse. Transit Center should be surrounded by thriving environment, not parking lots.

  • C Monroe

    It looks identical.

  • C Monroe

    So did I.

  • Larry Littlefield

    For those who don’t know it, an artist’s response to sprawl as it happened.

    She’s older than I am. The deed was done by the the of the 1970s, when I was 18.

  • neroden

    Voting for the local candidate, Syracuse. 🙁 That highway used to be the main New York Central railway line, and with a station downtown, there was vibrant construction all around. Replacing the rail line with the highway destroyed the area.

  • neroden

    Syracuse is actually in serious discussions about ripping down one of the downtown freeways (I-81).

    Here’s the thing: these freeways are redundant. The east-west Thruway is some ways to the north; there’s a north/south beltway (I-481) to the east. The only purposes of these freeways are to make a big scar in the middle of downtown, and to rush people out of downtown as fast as possible.

    Syracuse can and should remove these freeways!

  • neroden

    It’s also worth noting that these freeways are crumbling; one of the exits visible in that photo collapsed a couple of years ago. (There were “exit collapsed” signs up.) I guess they did a quick patch job. But anyway, these are set to fall down any day now. It would be a good time to consider seriously getting rid of them.

  • Yeah, areas killed by freeways shouldn’t even be considered parking craters. It’s the freeways that are the real problem.

    Agreed with the comment above that the photo of Syracuse definitely looks much worse, but I voted for Asheville since it’s a classic example of a city parking itself to death, with no apparent ‘help’ from a freeway or anything like that.

  • stepthrough

    I’ve walked in both of those places and would definitely say that Syracuse is worse. What you can’t tell from the photos is that Asheville has lots of little infill commercial in the remaining buildings and some semblance of streetscaping here and there. While the buildings in Syracuse are mostly vacant or warehouses – yes, partly the freeway effect.


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