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Parking Madness 2017

Parking Madness: Denver vs. Pleasanton

After today, there's just one more match in the first round of Parking Madness, our annual bracket that shames parking run amok in American cities. This year we're focusing on parking craters next to transit stations.

So far parking lots in St. Louis, San Bernardino, Poughkeepsie, Queens, Atlanta, and Medford have advanced to the second round. There are four more contestants to meet before we move on to the Elite Eight.

Today we compare a depressing abundance of commuter rail parking in the Bay Area to a parking crater enveloping three separate light rail stops in Denver.

West Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station


BART stations are notorious for their overbuilt parking supply. Three years ago, the El Cerrito BART station made it to the round of eight in Parking Madness.

Now we've got another one in the competition thanks to reader Bill Chapin, who writes:

This is not to be confused with the next station to the east, named "Dublin/Pleasanton," which may very well get its own nominations. But I think this one is the real winner.

The station, which opened in 2011 and is currently the newest facility on BART's main lines, is flanked by two parking garages on either side of the Interstate with a total of nearly 1,200 parking spaces. Beyond the garages is a proverbial sea of asphalt serving multiple shopping centers, office buildings, and apartments. The largest of these lots, for Stoneridge Mall, is ringed by signs warning that parking for BART is forbidden and cars will be towed.

Denver -- Pepsi Center/Mile High Stadium/West Auraria


We received three nominees this year for parking craters by Denver's new light rail stations, and we combined two of them to capture this mammoth parking crater just outside downtown.

This view encompasses three light rail stations swallowed up by the oceans of parking for two pro sports venues and Elitch Gardens, an amusement park. Mile High Stadium is below the middle station, on the other side of the highways in the bottom right corner.

Reader Chris Kampe gives some background about the area:

Not to be confused with Aurora, CO (suburban city to the east of Denver), Auraria (directly southwest of downtown Denver) was originally a competing pioneer settlement to Denver on the opposite side of the Cherry Creek in the 1800s. Denver won out as the central business district but Auraria once had some great historic neighborhoods. Although part of Auraria is now a college campus and houses a sports venue, the vast majority was plowed down to make room for a massive parking crater.

The voting is open until Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.


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