Ian Rasmussen is on the Strong Towns board of directors and, in preparation for #BlackFridayParking, he told us he had "a pretty solid lead about a place that will have a few empty spots on the big day." He's certainly correct. Today, he's telling the story of a particularly terrible parking lot.
I first came across this facility while reading (of all things) a food blog. Here is the image that caught my eye. It just had to be fake.
There's so much to say here. Who would do that? Who would allow that? Why do the economics support the behemoth in the background, while the foreground is vacant land? Nothing makes sense.
So I went out and searched for it. And I am gleefully miserable to report that it is real. Here's the Google Streetview:
Meet Revel, Atlantic City's largest casino. Part male hubris, part tax breaks, and an exercise in unwarranted optimism, this behemoth opened in 2012. (At that time, I lived in New York City, where Atlantic City is supposed to get all of its gamblers from, and I had not even heard about this thing.)
But I'm not sharing this during Black Friday Parking week for the big blank walls alone... Wait for it... Reveal! I mean, Revel!
That, my friends, is 7,657 parking spaces, spread out over 12 levels. And all I can say is, wow.
But a 12-level parking garage is still not enough to make this worth sharing. After all, how do you know that parking garage isn't full every night? Did you know Depeche Mode played a show here in 2012? I would've have gone to that, and probably parked there, if I had ever heard of this place. (Note: Rail service from New York City to Atlantic City was discontinued in 2012, a month before Revel opened. Whoops.)
Ok, I'll cut to the chase. I am positive there will be empty parking spaces in this garage because Revel opened in April 2012, but closed in September 2014. (Cue sad trombone sound effect.)
This gets my nomination for worst parking garage on the continent—due not only to sheer size, but also because the same people who thought they should construct the 7,657-space 12-story parking garage apparently didn't realize that they didn't have enough customers to fill it. Now, I hear some voices saying "that was probably required parking." Maybe so... doesn't matter. It was extremely expensive to build. And it consumes a lot of (theoretically) valuable ocean-front real estate.
So whoever thought it was a good idea to build this place also thought it was a good idea to build that garage, required or not. And, whether or not the developer or the planning department is to blame, it begs the question: Why did either side think they needed that many parking spaces when they didn't even have enough demand to keep their doors open? Probably because some ITE manual said so.
The only silver lining I see here is that for the next 3 or 4 years, before this structure invariably starts to require expensive maintenance, no one, and I mean no one can say they do not have enough oceanfront parking in Atlantic City.