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Parking Madness: Atlanta vs Denver

12:03 PM PDT on March 28, 2013

In the race to the bottom that is Parking Madness, Streetsblog's Sweet 16-style tournament of terrible downtown parking craters, 10 cities have faced off so far.

But there are more, so many more awful parking wastelands in otherwise proud American cities. In this post, the match up is Atlanta versus Denver. Remember to cast your votes at the bottom.

Let's start with Atlanta:

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The most shameful thing about this asphalt field is that a MARTA rail station is smack dab in the middle of it. So much for transit-oriented development, huh? Atlanta transit advocate Ashley Robbins sent us this description:

One MARTA stop south of Five Points, the downtown epicenter of Atlanta, stands the Garnett station in a sea of underutilized parking. The Garnett plaza garden over the heavy rail and Greyhound stations, while being near the federal building, the Atlanta Municipal court, and the popular Castleberry Hill neighborhood, is surrounded with unkempt parking, abandoned buildings and is known for lurid activity, giving Garnett one of the worst reputations of any MARTA station.

There's nothing quite as threatening as a darkened parking lot at night.

Meanwhile, on to Denver. Commenter Jack Shaner sent us this aerial photo of the northern edge of downtown in the Mile High City, in which you can see a collection of craters:

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Ken Schroeppel of Denver Urbanism and Denver Infill explains that this area northeast of the Central Business District called Arapahoe Square, is the last remaining downtown-adjacent district to undergo major redevelopment.

The area was once a fully developed mixed-use/industrial district (pre-war) that, like so many other areas, became parking reservoirs for the booming central business district office high-rises that didn't have parking requirements. Therefore, a lot of property owners in the '60s, '70s, and '80s tore down the old buildings in the area to provide both a "clean site" for prospective high-rise development, as well as provide parking for all those new downtown office workers. The good news is that the current trend is that many of these parking lots will be/are becoming infill development sites.

Denver has generally done a nice job redeveloping its downtown surface parking lots, a topic we plan to explore once the Parking Madness madness dies down a little.

With that, we turn it over to you, readers. Tell us which urban landscape is more offensive. Cast your votes!

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Tomorrow, San Bernardino takes on Houston.

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