Parking Madness: Nashville vs. Providence


Does the sight of huge, ugly parking lots make you feel sad and faintly nauseous? Too bad!

We’ve got five more Parking Madness matches before we crown the victor and award the Golden Crater. The Final Four is beginning to take shape, with Lansing through to the semi-final and voting still open in the Houston vs. Philadelphia stadium parking rumble.

Today, Nashville’s NFL parking moonscape takes on Providence’s pockmarked hospital campus.



Nashville’s Nissan Stadium was nominated by reader Adam Blair. What separates it from other stadium craters in this year’s Parking Madness bracket is its proximity to downtown, which is just across the river. Rather than clustering more housing and jobs in the center of town, Nashville lets this real estate sit empty for much of the year, channeling runoff into the Cumberland River.

All told, the stadium has 7,500 parking spaces, with the complex spread out over 120 acres, according to the Nashville Sports Authority. Like too many other large sports venues, the public subsidized Nissan Stadium and its parking lots, with more than $200 million in taxpayer funds from Davidson County and the state of Tennessee channeled into this project.



Despite being a stone’s throw from downtown Providence, the area surrounding Rhode Island Hospital is saturated with surface parking.

Buses do serve this area, according to the reader who nominated it, and the city is planning a “Downtown Connector” that will consolidate various routes and increase the frequency of service to every five minutes. Will that also prompt redevelopment of these asphalt lots, so people don’t have to walk through a bleak parking dead zone to get to the bus?


9 thoughts on Parking Madness: Nashville vs. Providence

  1. Especially infuriating in Nashville is the pedestrian bridge.
    It could be a major infrastructure asset, linking both banks and empowering residents to take more walking and biking trips.
    Instead it leads people from a bustling downtown into a sea of parking lots.

  2. I went to a game there some years ago. I remember enjoying downtown Nashville, then walking across the bridge, away from our hotel, to the stadium/parking complex.

    Disparate experiences.

  3. Let’s look more closely at that Google map of Providence.
    On the right we have a major hospital and healthcare center……..with thousands of employees, they need parking.
    A community college, unlike traditional colleges, comm colleges often dont have a large student residency rate so the kids got to get their somehow. Community colleges also target young adults who already have jobs and cars, not to mention the school faculty they need parking.
    Met School, a non traditional a career and technical school for people on the go with busy lives…….so..THEY’RE GONNA DRIVE THERE.
    A Wendy’s cause heaven forbid people wanna sit down and eat………so Parking.

  4. I vote for Nashville purely because it looks so re-developable. Not only is it a parking crater it looks like a missed economic opportunity for the downtown.

  5. Those parking lots in providence used to contain the houses of thousands of people who were all gentrified right out of the neighborhood, and right out of jobs. And when a city like Providence uses healthcare to grow the economy, healthcare becomes unaffordable. My qualifications for this is that I lead medical stucdents on economic and environmental justice tours of the city, and we start at the Hospital pictured.

  6. I’m voting for Providence, because I grew up there and know it well, including those parking lots, and suspect the ignominy of winning the Crater Bowl or even just reaching the Final Four is far more likely to attract attention and spur action than in Nashville

  7. You’re missing the point of this series – this entire website, actually: you don’t HAVE to drive if you build better transit options & mixed-use neighborhoods.

  8. The aerial shot of Providence is actually dated… there’s even MORE surface parking now! They paved over an old playground by the community college on Blackstone Street (at the left-center of the image), and tore down a building on Borden Street (at the top-center of the image) to add more parking there.

    Imagine if even a fifth of hospital workers were incentivized to use transit at a fraction of the cost to acquire land and build more parking… not to mention the cost of the environmental impact it has on worsening issues with runoff into Narragansett Bay.

  9. I walked to work at WIH every day for 2 months and coworkers constantly gave me odd looks and pointed comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *