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Parking Madness: Dallas vs. Duluth

4:53 PM PDT on March 23, 2016

Had enough of ugly parking craters? Too bad!

We're barely halfway through the first round of Parking Madness. As such, Streetsblog will continue to assault your eyes with a surface parking horror show for days on end.

Yesterday, the moonscape of downtown Niagara Falls annihilated a quaint-by-comparison crater in Ann Arbor. Today, perennial contender The Big D -- which is good for a different parking crater every year -- goes against upstart Duluth. Let's begin.

Dallas

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The parking lots around the Cotton Bowl in the Fair Park area of Dallas were nominated by reader Dallas May.

The appalling history of this site is laid out in Jim Schutze's book on race relations in Dallas, The Accommodation. The area was once a neighborhood with hundreds of homes and businesses. Beginning in the mid-1950s, it became a popular destination for middle-class black families, and white flight ensued. But the city wasn't content to simply leave the neighborhood be, May says:

...the white people still wanted to go to the State Fair of Texas, a long standing tradition, and attend the Cotton Bowl, another long tradition in Dallas. So the city of Dallas purchased and demo'ed dozens of blocks of South Dallas homes, and paved acres of parking lots for Fair goers to fill a few days each year.

Now the city is left with this crater as a reminder, May says:

Fair Park is at the same time the heart of Dallas and the shame of Dallas, and the crater stands empty 95% of the year surrounded by impoverished neighborhoods left behind by the larger region's economic ascent as a reminder of our city's shame.

Duluth

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This is the Canal Park area of Duluth, nominated by a reader named Eleanor, who writes: "Right near downtown, hot tourist spot, surrounded by the lake and harbor, but oh my lots -- parking lots everywhere."

A classic downtown waterfront parking crater right next to a highway -- not pretty!

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