Parking Madness: Medford vs. Hartford
We have our first member of this year’s Parking Madness Final Four, as readers vote to determine which North American transit station is drowning in the most shameful sea of parking. Poughkeepsie’s commuter rail station knocked out the stadium parking lots by the 7 train in Willets Point, Queens earlier this week.
There are still three spots up for grabs. If you didn’t vote in the Atlanta vs. San Bernardino contest yesterday, we fixed a bug with our poll plug-in and everything is working again — go vote.
In today’s match, Hartford’s central transit hub takes on a T station just outside Boston.
Hartford — Union Station
First up is Hartford’s Union Station, which beat the “Muni Lot” RTA stop in Cleveland in the last round of competition. Reader Mike Crimmins was one of three people who sent in nominations for this station.
Last year, the city introduced a new zoning code that reduces parking minimums downtown and by transit stations. A great step forward. But Crimmins says it’s going to take a long time to undo the damage of car-centric planning and development:
Hartford’s main transit hub, Union Station, is located directly in the center of the picture above and currently serves as an Amtrak and CTFastrak bus rapid transit station, with commuter rail service running from Springfield, MA to Hartford to New Haven, CT expected to begin operating sometime next year. As you can see, there is currently a huge amount of parking around Union Station, isolating it from many offices and business just a few blocks away. Parking constitutes around 20% of Hartford’s total land use, so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Interstate 84 runs through the city and passes close by the station as well. Efforts to reduce the impact of the freeway on the city and to repurpose some of the excessive amount of parking are underway, although it will likely take decades for the city to fully recover.
Medford, Massachusetts — Wellington T Station
This hemmed-in site — a T-station just outside Boston — overcame Toronto in the first round of voting. Our anonymous nominator said:
Wellington T Station in [Medford], MA just north of Boston. The station is sandwiched between a massive parking lot, a major highway and a train maintenance yard. There is also a parking garage just west of the station. I am not sure how any one from the neighborhoods north get to this station on foot/bike, and it is really too bad that using/being near the Malden and Mystic Rivers is almost impossible here.