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Parking Madness: Portland vs. El Cerrito, California

The contenders in today's Parking Madness competition prove parking craters can happen anywhere, even in progressive metro areas where the regional economy is booming and transit is a solid travel option.

This face-off to get one step closer to the Golden Crater pits Portland, Oregon, against El Cerrito, California.

First let's take a look at bike-friendly Portland:

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Minus 50 points for proximity to a MAX light rail station.

Reader Byron Palmer submitted this photo, which shows where the Morrison Bridge -- one of Portland's most heavily used -- empties into the city. The heavy traffic and highway-like design depress land values and lead to low-value uses like surface parking. Who would want to have lunch, or take a walk, in that area?

"Part of the problem," adds Palmer, "is that for many owners it is cheaper to tear down the building and have parking than to pay taxes, and they are waiting for the economy to improve before selling."

Our next contender is El Cerrito, California, a San Francisco suburb located north of Berkeley.

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This location was one in a series sent to us by the anonymous author of Systemic Failure, who goes by the pen name "Drunk Engineer." All of the photos were of parking craters at Bay Area Rapid Transit stations. You can see the line and the station highlighted in red.

"Almost every one of its suburban stations is a parking crater," Drunk Engineer says of BART. "The surrounding properties are generally auto-centric as well."

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Which of these eyesores deserves to advance to round two? Vote below!

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