Parking Madness 2015: Fort Worth vs. Boise

There’s just one spot remaining in the Elite Eight of this year’s Parking Madness bracket. And it’s either going to Fort Worth or Boise. Without further ado, here are the final parking craters in the 2015 tournament.

Fort Worth


This eyesore was submitted by an anonymous commenter, who wrote:

Fort Worth, TX. Right next to downtown. Featuring not one, not two, but THREE 6-7 story parking garages spaning five city blocks. That would be fine, but there are another eight full blocks with surface parking lots (three of them are riverfront property) with an additional five blocks partially taken by surface parking. Oh, and there’s on street parking as well. Overkill…

Ugly! Here it is from straight above:


Now let’s have a look at the competition.



Submitter David Sanderson writes:

Downtown Boise and the fabulous dirt lot between the Front/Myrtle couplet.

The biggest part of the crater is that big dirt lot sandwiched between the downtown couplet of Front and Myrtle streets. I think it’s $2 a day to park there. The city has always felt that the couplet has been a detriment to expanding downtown Boise south of Front Street. There has been some infill closer to the heart of downtown but there are big swaths east and west that remain parking lots. Much of that was wiped out during urban renewal where they figured it would be easier to wipe the slate clean than wait around for old buildings and warehouses to be renovated or repurposed.

Sad. Google’s rendering engine yields this perspective:


What’ll it be readers — the hole in the middle of Fort Worth or Boise’s gap tooth?

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Fort Worth (85%, 294 Votes)
  • Boise (15%, 50 Votes)

Total Voters: 344


  • J

    Fort Worth looks like a top contender for the win. That is truly atrocious and incredibly expensive!

  • I think all of the Parking Craters this year deserve awards. There are some true wonderments out there!

  • Alicia

    By my count, 13 blocks in that picture are used solely for parking – 5 for parking garages, 8 for surface parking. That number could be reduced by at least 6 blocks by replacing surface parking lots with parking garages. (1 4-5 story garage = 4 blocks of surface parking.)

  • LAifer

    My favorite is the two-block parking garage that crosses the street (in the bottom-left corner of the first photo). Here’s betting you’d have a heck of a time trying to build that with anything other than parking!

  • Gocurrey

    With their downtown eaten up by all of this parking, where is everyone parking in Fort Worth actually going? This one is particularly egregious and I think FW is going to take it all.

  • Perhaps some are used as rest stops, for motorists undertaking the journey from one end of the crater to the other.

    DOT hours of service rules, which require truckers to take a 30-minute break after 8 hours on duty, might come into play here, as well.

  • Yeah, definitely gotta go with Fort Worth here, and agree that it looks like a strong bet to go all the way. I wouldn’t quite put Kentucky money on them, but they might be the Duke or Gonzaga of this year’s tournament.

    Boise’s just seems like a result of poor, rash planning that never panned out, and then stuck around far too long. Sort of like our Disney Hole surface lot here in Philadelphia, at 8th & Market.

  • running_bond

    These are really terrible. The winner will go far in the bracket.

    While Fort Worth is everything that is wrong with autocentric cities, at least they are trying to infill it — note the townhouses and midrise apartments in the photo.

    But Boise… wtf?

  • MAU

    Fort Worth is the worst. I remember when they built a giant, unnecessary parking garage by the science museum and then tried to pay for it by forcing everyone to pay to park. No buses would go over there either and then they turned any street parking into a no parking zone. All to make the well-connected contractors millions at taxpayer expense.

  • Little Red

    Yup, Fort Worth was an easy choice.

  • If you’d like the local perspective…downtown FW is a popular “entertainment district,” filled with restaurants and bars (and lately, a few shops) that are frequented by suburban visitors who use all that parking (and trust me, there’s a ton of parking to the west, and in garages throughout downtown – and a huge swath of it is free, subsidized by the downtown tax increment finance district). It’s especially centered around Sundance Square, which has been redeveloping since the ’80s.

    The activity center is based around three north-south streets – Houston, Main, and Commerce – running for several blocks in the center of downtown. Within these confines, downtown’s been redeveloped and is pretty nice, and it lets city leaders make bold proclamations about having “the best revitalized downtown in America,” but the uncomfortable truth behind it is that a huge amount of downtown’s popularity is as a place for people to drive in from the ‘burbs and eat and drink and, as another commenter put it above – harsh, but fairly – pretend they live in a real city. There is an undercurrent of downtown-as-theme-park when you really look at it.

  • It’s true, there’s very little in downtown to actually go to anymore. Even more depressing (as a former occupant of Fort Worth), people still complain about finding parking downtown.

  • Yes, that’s another part of this that’s very true – despite that huge swath of parking in the post above, more on the west, street parking everywhere, garages in the more active heart of downtown, etc., everybody constantly complains that there’s not enough parking downtown. It’s ridiculous and showcases how addictive the subsidized free parking is. It costs an enormous amount for the downtown TIF to pay for that “free” parking, and a lot of city leaders credit that free parking as the key to downtown’s success, but it’s like a drug in that everybody just wants more and more. And all that free parking (and our general sad state of transit) is one thing standing in the way of making healthy progress turning downtown into more of a neighborhood.

  • LetsGoLA

    The truly hilarious thing is that there’s a *second* two-block garage spanning the street above and to the left of the first one, hidden in the shadow of a skyscraper.

  • C Monroe

    There is a parking ramp in the middle of the building that looks like a sideways a or q at the very top and right next to it is 3 blocks of surface parking along the river. This is on the top edge of blocks upon blocks of parking.

  • Those two multi-block garages are very unfortunate. They’re a byproduct of the awful anti-urban modernist designers who were operating in the ’70s and ’80s, before the main downtown developer switched to the more New Urbanist methods of firm DMSAS.

  • Alan

    I almost feel bad for Boise, against a lesser competitor they would have a strong chance but that Fort Worth is just painful.

  • Oh please! Boise doesn’t even deserved to be here! Most if not all of those empty lots are slated for development and are rarely used for parking. I never needed to park there when I visited from out of town. I always rode a bike in and around town. So easy and lovely to do.

  • Sean Murphy

    That’s really the only terrible parking in the downtown area. There are several parking garages and small lots. A wider view of the downtown would show the extensive network of city parks and the Greenbelt. Plus, the city government wants a more livable city (but is stymied by the county road commission – ACHD). Sorry, but gotta take Ft Worth against my latest hometown.


Parking Madness 2015 Elite Eight: Tampa vs. Fort Worth

It’s almost a shame that these two titans are meeting in the second round of the Parking Madness tournament, because both Tampa and Fort Worth look like they have champion potential. Yesterday, Syracuse knocked off Newport News, Virginia, to join Camden in the Final Four. Now it’s up to you to decide who gets the third slot. […]

Parking Madness Final Four: Camden vs. Fort Worth

We started this Parking Madness tournament with 16 soulless parking craters from California to New Jersey, and you’ve narrowed it down to the Final Four: Camden, Fort Worth, Syracuse, and the very aptly-named Parkersburg, West Virginia. Today and tomorrow your votes will determine who gets a shot at the title and Streetsblog’s coveted Golden Crater. Camden Joseph Russell […]

The 2015 Parking Madness Championship! Camden vs. Parkersburg

Welcome to the World Series of asphalt. The Super Bowl of lifeless city blocks. Today is the Parking Madness championship — the culmination of our 16-city tournament showcasing the worst parking craters to scar America’s downtowns. Are you excited? We are! Streetsblog readers have winnowed the field down to two of the finest examples of poor urban land […]

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 […]

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 […]