Parking Madness 2018 Championship: Hicksville vs. Lansing
This is it, the final match of the Parking Madness 2018 tournament. The winner will be bestowed with the Golden Crater, eternal shame, and, hopefully, a kick in the pants to fix its sad, sad parking crater.
Separating themselves from this year’s pack of 16 parking-ravaged urban spaces are Hicksville, New York, and Lansing, Michigan.
It’s a contest between two classic parking crater types: the wasted potential of a park-and-ride rail station, in Hicksville, versus the state capitol complex in downtown Lansing, where parking perks have turned what should be a civic landmark into a glorified office park.
When you step off a train at the Long Island Railroad station in Hicksville, it’s not easy to walk anywhere without first traversing a parking lot.
Only about 13 percent of the 100 acres surrounding this station is occupied by buildings, according to Ryan Coyne, a member of the planning committee for Hicksville’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. What buildings do exist are mainly single family housing and suburban-style retail with tons of car storage. It’s not the walkable environment that a regional rail station should anchor.
The good news is that the station area is slated for some improvements — a redesigned station, pedestrian upgrades on surface streets, and hundreds of new apartments in development within walking distance of the train, according to Coyne.
Take in the area around the Michigan state capitol in downtown Lansing and try to feel something other than despair.
Notice how empty the lots are even in broad daylight. Presumably this Google satellite shot was taken on a weekend, when the state workers don’t drive in and no one else has a reason to be here.
In that respect, Lansing is like a lot of Midwestern downtowns. People drive in for work and drive out at the end of the day. And they leave behind a ghost town.
Not only do these parking lots suck the life out of Lansing, they’re also a drain on the city’s fiscal resources and its ability to fund public services, because while these parking lots for state employees may be occupying prime real estate, none are producing any tax revenue.
Voting will be open until Thursday at midnight eastern time, and we’ll present the award to the champion on Friday. May the worst crater win!