“An asphalt scar in Rochester, New York, has triumphed over 15 of the world’s worst parking craters to become the Parking Madness 2014 champion,” writes Angie Schmitt for Streetsblog USA. Rochester won/lost by appealing to nostalgia—the entry included a parcel map of the parking crater’s previous life. Before, this crisscrossing network of streets surrounded by nothing but surface parking lots included a park. In fact, according to the Rochester ex-pat who nominated the city, it used to be “a real neighborhood.”
The local stakeholders who pressed for Rochester to win this dubious title hope that the ignominy might inspire reform of Rochester’s parking policies. Mike Governale, who runs the Reconnect Rochester advocacy group, tells Streetsblog that he sees the award as a tool: “I think we can use this going forward, get more people involved. We can go to our policy makers and say, ‘Is this the image you want out there?’ Because if it’s not, we need to plan a little bit better.”
This year’s tournament process already inspired Yael Abouhalkah to pen a sympathetic editorial in the Kansas City Star about an area in Downtown Kansas City that eventually lost to Rochester in the semi-finals of the tournament. Last year’s winner/loser, Tulsa, seemed headed to toward a moratorium on surface parking before it hesitated.