You all know how much I like to rag on surface parking lots–and for good reason too. In an urban setting, particularly in a downtown, they are hostile to the pedestrian experience, they waste valuable land, and they disrupt the rhythm and scale of the built environment. If London, Paris, Rome, New York, and San Francisco have managed to thrive without them, so can we. With underground/structured parking facilities and a major investment in transit, we’ll do just fine.

Unfortunately, Downtown Denver has more than its share of surface parking lots. The good news is we’re making steady progress in replacing them with infill developments, but it will be decades before they’re all gone. And worse yet, Downtown Denver parking lots are UGLY. The vast majority have no landscaping whatsoever, overhead utility wires, cracked and broken asphalt or concrete, etc. As a community, we have failed to require existing Downtown surface parking lots to adhere to a high aesthetic standard, and the parking lot owners themselves have failed in their civic duty to make their parking lots relatively attractive and places that are not a source of embarrassment to our city.

So, to “honor” those parking lot owners who have taken so little pride in their property, DenverInfill is sponsoring a “Downtown Denver’s Worst Parking Lots” competition… and you get to participate!

Here’s how it works:

1. The geographic limits to this competition is the core Downtown area, as defined by the “red boundary” on my main Downtown Map, where each block is numbered and has its own page. If your parking lot is located outside of that area in one of the Center City neighborhoods, it doesn’t qualify.

2. Each person can nominate up to three parking lots. Please identify them by the block number and, if there is more than one parking lot on that block, by the name of the street or corner the parking lot faces. For example: “The parking lot at the corner of 21st and Lawrence on Block 063.”

3. Submit your nominations in a “comment” posted to this blog entry. Since many of you post anonymously, you’re on the honor system to only submit once.

4. The criteria for what makes for a bad Downtown parking lot should be a combination of aesthetics, condition, and location. How you measure those is up to you.

Nominations will be open until the end of the day Sunday, June 24. Later that week, I’ll post a new blog with the top ten nominated parking lots, including a map and photos of each. To that blog entry, you’ll get to cast your vote for the worst parking lot in Downtown Denver. The “winner” will receive a special blogging by DenverInfill.

Let the nominations begin!