Parking Madness Championship: Denver vs. Poughkeepsie


For the last few weeks we’ve been getting to know 16 sorry parking craters right next to transit stations. From Connecticut to Arkansas to California, so many opportunities for walkable places are squandered in America.

But now just two cities remain, and it’s time to crown the Parking Madness champion. Your votes will determine the winner — the polls are open until Monday at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

Readers have delivered a David vs. Goliath match-up in the final, with Poughkeepsie taking on Denver for the rights to the Golden Crater and — we hope — a blistering round of local press coverage calling attention to the shame of parking blight.


In a classic case of a small scrapper with a dedicated hometown crowd pressing for change, Poughkeepsie has made it all the way to the final.

This parking-saturated Metro North commuter rail station beat craters in FairfieldNew York City, and greater Boston in earlier rounds of competition.


Reader Jay Arzu says Poughkeepsie’s station area is emblematic of an entire downtown scarred by too much surface parking. He’s hoping to generate some momentum for this redevelopment plan around the station:

Poughkeepsie Station development

Denver — Pepsi Center/Mile High Stadium/West Auraria


This appalling grey moonscape clobbered craters in St. Louis, Pleasanton, and Atlanta in earlier rounds of competition. Not only does this mammoth encompass three light rail stations built at huge public expense, squandering the opportunity for walkable housing and retail, it’s also right next to Denver’s downtown.

When center city transit stations are surrounded by unwalkable oceans of asphalt, it’s no wonder that car commuting is on the rise despite Denver’s recent investments in light rail. Transit isn’t the focus here — big sports venues are. And as Streetsblog Denver Editor David Sachs points out, most days of the year these lots by the Pepsi Center and Mile High Stadium are mostly empty.

Vote below to bestow the Golden Crater and the eternal shame of winning this competition.

Which city has the worst parking crater?

  • Denver (51%, 451 Votes)
  • Poughkeepsie (49%, 434 Votes)

Total Voters: 885


13 thoughts on Parking Madness Championship: Denver vs. Poughkeepsie

  1. This is like a Div I team playing a Div III team. The Denver Crater is about as big as all of Poughkeepsie. The value of the land covered by the Dever Crater is probably worth 10x of all property in Poughkeepsie.

  2. I definitely agree, but I am more alarmed that the Poughkeepsie redevelopment is still mostly parking (but structured parking this time).

    As a Denver local though, I know a little more about this crater. I hope any redevelopment is dense and appealing, but the current station plan for two stadiums and a university states that people will still primarily access the station by car. What I fear is that it will start to resemble the Poughkeepsie plan: building extra parking to fill in parking craters. Hopefully a knowledgeable developer will take over and maximize use and minimize parking (I really wouldn’t mind an entire walkable neighborhood on stilts over one psuedo-underground level of parking). If the city spearheads the redevelopment, it will almost certainly fail.

  3. How is little, tiny, insignificant Poughkeepsie with its little, tiny, insignificant parking crater leading?

  4. This location in Denver is large enough that an entire new neighborhood could be created to fight the housing shortage crisis. It could be an opportunity to implement parking maximums to create a dense, walkable neighborhood that is an affordable way to live near downtown. Since there is currently no residential nearby, there would be no NIMBYs fighting the lack of free parking, so only residents okay with car-free living could make the decision to move there, which developers have already shown there is a market for in Denver, so I believe they would invest in this type of development. It could create a significant boost in transit ridership that could domino effect from there. And suburbanites that complain about less parking near the sports venues can be referred to all of the free park-n-rides to get on the train from the suburbs.

  5. That area was is actually very popular with NYC commuters. The parking structure is actually too small for the train station as it is, and because the lot shares space with a few popular restaurants and bars it’s always packed. The location is right along the Hudson River and gentrifying the property would help values tremendously. The problem is finding parking for the hundreds of people who rely on that train from work. Many people are driving as much as 20 minutes to reach the closest train station.

  6. Denver’s is the size of an entire neighborhood (it actually used be it’s own city called Auraria) located right next to downtown, has 3 light rail stops, the largest college campus in the state, the Pepsi Center, a full fledged amusement park, and 0 permanent residents! Just across the creek to the north is downtown with 100’s of high-density buildings and skyscrapers!

    It is an urban planning travesty of the largest proportions. Luckily, I’ve heard rumblings of Kroenke planning to develop the pepsi center parking lots, and build a Union Station 2.0. Fingers crossed that this happens soon.

  7. The Denver crater is actually quite a big BIGGER than shown in the pic, for two reasons:

    1) Mile High stadium with additional massive lots is right across the river.
    2) There’s a Cirque du Soleil tent complex on a portion of the Pepsi Center parking lot in the pic… that’s temporary and normally is just asphalt.

    Take a look:

    As for the lightrail stations, we need em so that we don’t have to build even MORE parking spots. The arena, stadium, theme park, and college all generate lots of traffic.

  8. There is a big difference between Denver and Poughkeepsie. People live in the area where the crater is in Poughkeepsie. Poughkeepsie is filled with huge craters created by Urban Renewal projects that gutted the city in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s look at link of Poughkeepsie CBD it’s adjacent to the station. Denver’s area is used for amusements and entertainment

  9. The worst part of the Denver parking crater is that once you enter it you have no way out but the way you came in. It’s just a massive area that you can’t even travel through only in and out or around. If you would like to walk or bicycle to the other side for some kind of shortcut you would be out of luck.

  10. I did a rough estimate using Google Earth of the area bounded by 13th Avenue, Federal Boulevard, 20th Avenue, I-25, Speer, Colfax, and back down I-25 to close the loop. The area I measured included 696 square acres and four LRT stations. Approximately 189 acres are surface parking (27%), an additional 5 acres are garages (0.7%), 162 acres are just the major streets (Federal, Colfax, I-25, Aurarira, and Speer) for 23% of the total area.

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