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

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


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.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

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6 thoughts on Parking Madness: St. Louis vs. Denver

  1. In this comparison, Denver’s is still the worst. However, you are again repeating the misinformation put forth by Chris Kampe. Here is the real history of that parking crater.
    In 1965, the S. Platte River, which can be seen in the lower left corner of the image, overran its banks and large portions of areas near the river flooded including the rail yards. The rail yards ran next to the river for much of its length in downtown Denver. The area in the upper right portion of the image was the neighborhood of Auraria and is now the Auraria campus. For the most part, Auraria was spared from the flood but the city of Denver used the flood as a pretext to consolidate three growing academic institutions in one place and, by doing so, wipe out much of the Auraria neighborhood. Here is a link that shows the Auraria neighborhood before the establishment of the campus.

    The rail yards, where the arena and amusement park are now, stayed there and declined in use until the early 90s when the much of the yards were removed and the rail lines consolidated into one corridor (seen in the image running next to the arena). The Auraria neighborhood was already long gone.

    Now one the North side of Cherry Creek (upper left corner of image), the rail yards were replaced and are continuing to be replaced with mixed-use development. Nothing on the south side beyond the arena and amusement park. That is the real tragedy.

  2. The land owners (Kronke/Broncos/walmart family) have long term plans to develop these areas around the Pepsi center. They recently bought the Elicth’s amusement park with the intention of redevelopment. What it will look like and when have yet to be seen.

  3. That parking blob in Denver is also essentially contiguous with the similar blob across I25 and the Platte, surrounding the football stadium. I definitely think that parking disaster contributes to the relative isolation and poverty in nearby areas of West Denver, such as Sun Valley.

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Parking Madness: Toronto vs. Medford, Massachusetts

It's Parking Madness season at Streetsblog, and if you're just joining us, this year's competition is all about how we sabotage transit by surrounding stations with huge fields of parking. First round action continues today as Toronto takes on the Boston suburb of Malden. Vote for the worst to send it through to the round of eight.