Parking Madness 2015 Elite Eight: Newport News vs. Syracuse

Yesterday, Camden knocked off Detroit in Parking Madness, giving the Garden State the first spot in our Final Four.

Today’s match pairs up dreadful parking expanses in Newport News and Syracuse, and it’s up to you to tell us which is the worst.

Syracuse

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That right there is the picture that put Syracuse over the top in its first-round matchup with Asheville. Marshall Allen sent us this entry. He wrote:

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 it’s prime. These two things have combined to create this horrific parking crater in the heart of New York State’s Central City.

Let’s compare it to a a historical photo, graciously provided by the University of Oklahoma Institute for Quality CommunitiesShane Hampton:

syracuse

This shows the same area as it looked in 1956. There were some grade-separated roads and parking lots already, but not nearly as bad as today’s situation.

Now for the competition.

Newport News

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Newport News beat Los Angeles in round one. Submitter Sam Sink said of this area:

This is beautiful downtown Newport News, Virginia. The sea of surface parking belongs to the shipyard and creates a dead zone of about 20 city blocks separating the rest of downtown from a residential area to the North (and the CSX tracks cut the area off from the neighborhood to the east). I weep for any pedestrian that has to hoof it through this asphalt wasteland.

Okay. Let’s take a look back in time:

streetsblog_newport1963

This is how the area looked in 1963, before the parking blight had spread quite so much. Interestingly, both Newport News and Camden are waterfront sites near rail yards.

Which one of these two is Final Four worthy? Vote below.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Syracuse (67%, 116 Votes)
  • Newport News (33%, 56 Votes)

Total Voters: 172

parking_madness_2015

  • TravisW.L.

    In my mind, the grid pattern seen in Newport News places large parking lots right next to each other, making eight blocks turn into one massive place for parking. Both are ugly, but at least there are some buildings near the parking spaces in Syracuse.

  • AlexWithAK

    I went to Syracuse for grad school 13 years ago and I have to say they’ve developed a lot of surface parking. They have a ways to go but they’re making progress. Tearing down I-81 would help a lot.

  • newkai

    In fairness, the image of Downtown Syracuse is of the northernmost section. Surface lots are much more rare south of Erie Blvd, which mostly has parking garages, many of which have been renovated to not look as blighted over the last few years.

  • Alan

    Newport News is also next to a large port so it’s not really prime real estate. It seems like their downtown is south of there.

  • running_bond

    How is this even close? Newport News is a massive parking lot, yes, but nowhere near downtown. It is expressly there to serve one of the largest industrial facilities anywhere, the shipbuilding yard. They build freaking aircraft carriers here. What do you expect, the workers to arrive by subway? It’s like calling the surface lots outside of a Toyota assembly plant a parking crater.

    Syracuse is a parking crater in an actual downtown area near a civic square and restaurants. (Dinosaur BBQ!) It’s a far bigger travesty, since it could be filled with mixed-use development (if the upstate economy could ever support it.)

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