With cities like Kansas City, Missouri in the running, we'll have to work
extra hard to get into next year's competition.
Streetsblog Network has started off this year's March Madness Parking Crater contest, a grueling competition between sixteen cities to see which will be king of the surface lot. Providence wasn't in last year's competition, and is again not in the running, but that should be no reason for us not to nominate our own local parking craters to see which is the winner (loser?) of the bunch.
By the way, Streetsblog, what are you thinking? I think the ref must have been paid off by the other teams. . .
|GCPVD's Parking Crisis Illustrated|
Providence is no slouch of a city, and its leaders have been working really hard in the last year to put us in the running (Hey! Kansas City may have stolen our TIGER grant for the streetcar, but they won't get our Parking Crater trophy!).
For today's starters, which would you vote for?
1. The Statehouse Lawn
The Providence Preservation Society nominated the Statehouse lawn as one of the ten most endangered historic properties in Providence. What a shame!
2. The Garrahy Parking Complex
Garrahy has been a particular dislike of mine. One of two parking garages planned for the already parking-dominated Jewelry District, the additional parking doesn't seem to have quashed the I-195 Commission's thirst for places to store cars, even leading them to oppose the use of loading zones for trucks to reduce double parking and allow protected bike lanes on S. Main Street.
|The Garrahy Garage is proposed for the surface lot towards the top of the picture. (Image changed to reflect this fact. I had the lot on the other side of Garrahy highlighted).|
I think what makes these Providence examples of parking craters so uniquely Rhode Island is their commitment to mediocrity. Whereas the good people of Missouruhh may be better able to completely tear a city apart than we, Rhode Islanders are extremely adept at taking a good thing and not seeing it to its full potential. So, for instance, the Statehouse was also one of the best publicized sites of Providence's first Park(ing) Day before the new parking was built, suggesting that even when the public rallies for a clear goal--like less surface parking--the government of Rhode Island doesn't care to listen. And the I-195 Commission's proposed garages, at $30,000-$50,000 a space, represent to me the unfulfilled potential of a removed (well, relocated at least. . . ) highway. You would think the removal of a barreling urban freeway would awaken the senses of those in charge, and make them a little more motivated to re-urbanize our city. My favorite part of Garrahy is the greenwashing of the project with a transit hub under the garage.
Well, Rhode Island, which is your favorite parking crater?
By the way, if you think I'm trying to be mean to Rhode Island for no reason, take heed: last year's parking crater winner, Tulsa, Oklahoma, was so embarrassed by the national attention that it passed a series of laws restricting surface lots in its downtown. I'd love to see some harsh love put Providence on a better track.
You can nominate other parking craters by tweeting @transportpvd with #MarchMadness as your hashtag.