Well, it’s time to celebrate. Rochester has just won the 2014 Streetsblog USA Parking Madness tournament . To outsiders, Rochester is a Cinderella story (who in the world would have picked us to beat out Detroit in the second round?). But anyone who reads this blog is probably not surprised. We’ve been fighting the parking madness mindset on these pages for years. It’s just that now, the national blogosphere knows about Rochester’s dirty little parking problems. Our asphalt is hanging out there for the world to see.
How embarrassing. Right? Some people have asked, “Why would we want to win such a negative contest? Doesn’t this paint Rochester in a bad light?” Now the man who nominated Rochester, Matthew Denker, explains why he did…
The following statement is from Matthew Denker.
There has been quite a bit of back and forth over the value of competing in, trying for, and (we hope) winning the Parking Madness 2014 Bracket at Streetsblog. Some people see it as an innocent way to poke fun at sixteen cities in the US and Canada, possibly goading them to do better for themselves, while others view it as bringing shame to our mighty institutions.
No matter what your position is on the bracket, I support the competition wholeheartedly, and believe it’s worthwhile to explain exactly why. As you may know, Rochester is the 101st largest city in the US. That makes it larger than any number of cities you might have heard about, including Des Moines, Little Rock, Salt Lake City, and Providence. Nevertheless, before Parking Madness, Rochester has had all of 2-3 articles about it on Streetsblog, most dedicated to tearing down the inner loop. This is in comparison to dozens upon dozens of articles for each of those other cities. Suffice to say, being in, and specifically winning this competition puts Rochester on the map. It allows us to open up to the fact that we have a problem, but more importantly, it begs us to care and hopefully to DO something about it.
Sure there may be cynics who will read about Rochester’s shameful award. They may point and laugh and make fun. But that’s ok. These cynics are not the Rochester expats who have moved elsewhere, succeeded, and would come back to invest. These cynics are not the Rochester readers of Streetsblog who might do something (participate in Roc Transit Day or Parking Day 2014, if we’re throwing out ideas). And these cynics are not the people who will travel to and enjoy a better Rochester. The parking downtown, today, is as bad as it is whether we are in this competition (and win it) or not. But without having been in this competition, we’d not be having this conversation right now.
There are many things we can all do to alleviate parking madness. Little things… walk, bike, use transit more. And big things… like making better regional planning decisions. Maybe it’s time to get serious about bike sharing, a downtown circulator, and other enhanced transit options?
But the absolute worst thing we could do now, would be to sweep this opportunity under the rug.
About Matthew Denker:
Tags: downtown Rochester, Matthew Denker, parking, parking lots, parking madness, Rochester, Rochester NY, Streetsblog, urban planning
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at 4:25 pm and is filed under Reader Submitted Stories, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
I want to take a moment to thank all the readers of RochesterSubway who supported our town in this little experiment. I look forward to having a conversation here about what we can do, both in the short term and the future to improve the lot, heh, of these lots. Transforming them into something bigger, better, and more community oriented rather than a daycare for automobiles would go a long way to make Rochester even greater.