Each year, Streetsblog hosts the bracket no one wants to be on: Parking Madness. The competition pits 16 cities with too much land dedicated to surface parking against each other to claim the annual Golden Crater trophy.
Last year, Camden, New Jersey, took the top spot. But this year, Louisville is poised for the championship match with an early lead over Niagara Falls. You can vote for Louisville over here on Streetsblog.
Why would you want to vote for such a sinister distinction for Louisville? It’s pretty easy to see that there’s way too much surface level parking around Downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods, but by gaining some national recognition of the problem, it gives us a foothold to fix it. And it opens up a discussion about how to reuse these vast swaths of land.
This year’s parking crater site is in the SoBro neighborhood just south of Broadway. Take a look at the diagram up above highlighting all of the surface paving in the area. There’s more parking than city!
There has been some positive news in the area—most notably the complete overhaul of the 800 Tower City Apartments—but there’s pretty much no new development planned in the area. SoBro is situated between Downtown Louisville and Old Louisville / Limerick, and it contains some major anchors like the Main Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library and several institutions of higher learning. Still, the area is largely a dead zone separating the two ends of town. What would you like to see fill these parking lots? Share your ideas in the comments below.
The area didn’t always look like it does today. Take a look at the photo up above showing the area and part of Downtown above Broadway as it appeared during the 1937 Flood. The area back then was a dense mix of houses, institutions, industry, and commerce surrounding the once bustling Union Station that would have brought hundreds of people right to the center of the city every day.
Vote for Louisville here, as the final matchups are always among the most difficult. If we get past Niagara Falls, Louisville will face off against Federal Way in Washington, D.C., which just trounced Dallas.
This is the second time Louisville has appeared in the Parking Madness bracket. Our fair city first made the list in 2013 where it lost to Houston in the Elite 8 round. Back then, the parking crater site was the swath of surface parking along Second Street where the Omni Louisville Hotel is currently under construction.