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Parking Madness: St. Louis vs. Denver

The final spot in the Parking Madness Final Four is up for grabs today.

The theme this year is the wasted potential of transit stops surrounded by parking. So far, parking craters in Poughkeepsie, Atlanta, and Medford, Massachusetts, are through to the semi-final round.

They will be joined by a sad transit station from either St. Louis or Denver.

St. Louis -- Richmond Heights Metrolink

richmond_heights_parking
This suburban St. Louis light rail station overcame a downtown Sacramento parking crater in the first round of competition. There's a great deal of retail nearby, but the stores are all configured to maximize driving access. People who take the train here have to trek through a hostile sea of parking to shop.

Reader Jack Painter nominated this spot. He says that while the station is just a few hundred feet from the shopping areas, as the crow flies, people have to walk far out of their way to get to them, thanks to the highways and parking lots.

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

denver_craters

This mega-crater encompasses three light rail stations and beat out a parking-rich BART stop in the first round of competition.

It's not far from downtown, but parking for pro sports venues and an amusement park swallows up tons of land here. Denver has redeveloped epic parking craters before, and will need to work some magic to turn this asphalt ocean into a walkable neighborhood that's compatible with transit.

Chris Kampe, who submitted this site, had this to say about the Auraria neighborhood, which includes most of what you see in the above satellite view:

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.

Both of these sites are terrible, but which is Final Four material? The voting is open until Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

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