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Parking Madness: Cleveland vs. Spokane

9:22 AM PDT on March 27, 2013

Another day, another parking atrocity. Eight cities have already faced off in Parking Madness, where we attempt to find the worst parking crater in an American downtown. Milwaukee, Tulsa, Dallas and Louisville emerged victorious in the first half of the first round.

But there's still a good number of cities with parking wastelands yet to be sufficiently ridiculed. On the agenda today, two formidable contenders: Cleveland, Ohio vs. Spokane, Washington.

First, let's look at Cleveland's Warehouse District:

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This animated gif, which uses images from the urbanism blog I run in my spare time, Rust Wire, shows the neighborhood in the 1970s versus today.

These days, the Warehouse District is actually a pretty happening part of Cleveland. The area has been redeveloped with nice restaurants, coffee shops, a specialty grocer, and hundreds of apartments. Close to 3,000 people currently live in the Warehouse District.

But this parking expanse creates a no-man's land between two of downtown Cleveland's most popular areas -- the Warehouse District and East Fourth Street -- discouraging walking between the two districts and thus weakening downtown Cleveland immeasurably.

Meanwhile in Spokane, we have a special kind of parking disaster: the convention center parking crater. Here's the before and after:

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Pictured here is Spokane's convention and performing arts center, a.k.a "Spokane's meeting place," according to promotional materials. The convention center is situated right on the city's 100-acre Riverfront Park, along the Spokane River.

The Spokane Center was built on the site of Expo '74, the "first environmental worlds fair," the convention center's website explains. The venue promotes its center-city location as a green amenity, pointing out that it "encourages low-impact transportation which reduces energy and emissions." At least they charge $10 to park.

The decision about which of these sites is the most shameful is up to you.

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Next up, Atlanta versus Denver.

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