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Parking Madness 2015: Boston vs. Parkersburg

2:55 PM PDT on March 18, 2015

Yesterday, in the closest match in Parking Madness history, Amarillo edged out Nashville by just six votes to advance to the round of eight.

Today we have two new eyesores for you to judge, as the biggest city in New England squares off against Parkersburg, West Virginia, representing Appalachia.

Boston

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This entry comes to us via commenter JM, who asserts:

I tried to nominate the South Boston Waterfront (AKA Seaport District) last round, but I missed the deadline. If this one doesn't make it to the finals, your northeastern bias will be cemented once and for all. It's one gigantic parking lot, almost the size of all of downtown Boston.

We like that this entry comes with a threat. And yes, cities in the Northeast are not immune from the ravages of parking madness. Here it is from the top:

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Next up...

Parkersburg, West Virginia

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This entry comes from Elliott Lewis, who says:

Here is my submission for the Golden Crater, aptly named “Park”ersburg, WV. With a population around 31,000, it is the fourth-largest city in West Virginia and my hometown. This town has seen Native American raids on settlers (and vice versa), George Washington surveying, planned treason by Vice President Aaron Burr (check out the history of Blennerhassett Island), Civil War soldiers, some of the first governors of WV, Wright Borthers flights, birth of the country’s oil and gas industry, important transportation hubs, large-scale hardware and chemical manufacturing, and countless historical events. Those which took place downtown are likely under asphalt (like the home of the first governor of our state).

By my calculations, including street and sidewalk ROWs, the total amount of land in downtown Parkersburg is approximately 61% paved. Of the developable land in this same area (not counting streets), about 50% is dedicated surface parking, most of which is monthly rentals. Yup, the only short term parking is on-street, in one garage, or in a newly-built parking lot off of 6th St. They dedicate half their land to surface parking. Ugh.

The area in question, besides the entire downtown area, is that from 4th Street to the Little Kanawha River. Much of this is dominated by City, County, and Federal government services and includes the County Courthouse (beautiful Romanesque revival) and the Municipal Building (no so beautiful). From the Google Maps link, it shows some buildings currently demolished; the entire block between Juliana/Market/1st/2nd is paved, as will the building across Market Street abutting 2nd St (the old jail). And to make matters more depressing, the area is bounded by elevated railroad tracks near Ann St.,  an at-grade railway, and a concrete floodwall.

An excellent case. Here's more of downtown Parkersburg:

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Readers, you have until Thursday at 2 p.m. to weigh in.

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