A number of hospitals have made the news recently, not for medical advances in delivering care to patients, but rather because of how they have been dealing with parking issues and problems. Hospitals quickly generate parking problems wherever they are located because of the density of car users converging on them – the population of a working hospital can increase by over 500% during the course of the day as family and well-wishers visit patients in care. This causes significant parking and congestion issues as well as creating serious problems for residents in the vicinity of the hospital who find they cannot park their vehicles due to the demand by visitors.
Scripps Memorial Hospital is a hospital on the Pacific coast in California and is currently undergoing a major expansion which will see significant enlargement in terms of size, personnel, patients and of course, and visitor traffic. The parking issue (and having to divvy out more parking hang tags) is being dealt with by building a new parking garage with 883 spaces to help ease the parking problem which is primarily associated with the very busy ER department. The construction costs for the whole project, including the garage amount to over $200 million and the objective is to cater for demand and the growth in services to take the hospital through to 2030.
Local residents sought concessions before project approval was given, in particular to deal with the local congestion and parking problems which would be compounded by the expansion. The garage was decided to be the most appropriate route instead of reinforcing a parking permit strategy which left local residents with mixed feelings – happy at the improved hospital services and yet dismayed at the increased congestion and parking with little restrictions or protections for local residents.
Staying with California, the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital (SVMH) is also undergoing major refurbishment and expansion with a large scale construction program. SVMH have a blended parking system whereby employees can use a shuttle service into the hospital from outlying locations to reduce congestion. At the same time, local residential areas enjoy controlled parking through the use of permits which prevents overstaying or misuse by visitor traffic which has expanded parking facilities being made available on the site. The expansion plans entailed a review of the established parking permit system for controlling residential parking and it was found that this was working well for local residents though additional parking facilities at the hospital would be needed to remove additional pressures by visitor traffic that the expansion would bring.
The SVMH model of blended parking solutions is one which is being increasingly adopted by other hospitals across the country and internationally. By reducing staff traffic and offering effective shuttle transport, journey times for employees can be substantially reduced as can their stress levels. By focusing on providing visitor parking facilities at the hospital location, this allows the pressure to be taken off the local residential areas which can be effectively protected by a parking permit system and rigorous enforcement. Though hospitals are generally good neighbors to have, they do create a wealth of traffic problems for the area which requires careful consideration to maximize their effectiveness and minimize disruption the area.
- Top 10 Most Dangerous Driving Habits (totallytop10.com)
- None May Park Here! (funnytypos.com)
- The Importance of Proper Medical Follow-up After A Car Crash (allenandallen.com)
- Top 10 Reasons to Be Glad for Your Parking Sticker (labels4life.com)
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