Parking at the General Hospital

Recently I came across a Regina General Hospital parking study from 2007. There were many recommendations, some of which appear to have been implemented. With one exception: the parkade. At the time, the study indicating a parking shortfall of between 500 and 600 spaces. No amount of street parking configurations would make up for that deficit. And I don't believe my usual prescriptions - public transportation, cycling, car pooling, walking, etc. - would make a serious dent in this requirement. Especially considering the out-of-city clientele and lack of a provincial public transportation system getting people to the hospital.

In it, the report contains over 50 pages of commentary from study participants. The quotes indicate many problems. First, there is antagonism between physicians and nurses, between nurses and other staff, between hospital employees and local residents, senior employees versus junior employees, employees and visitors, between staff who need their vehicles throughout the day and those who don't, and so on. All over parking. Safety issues were also highlighted, but some in the context of fearing the local residents and neighbourhood. How sad is it that parking scarcity would solicit this kind of acrimony between people.

So what's the solution? I think a multitude of transportation modes, but the parkade needs to be part of a long-term solution. In 2007, the cost per parking spot was between $13,000 and $17,000. That's a total of $10,200,000 for 600 spaces. Today I guess it would cost double. Given the clientele, the parkade could likely charge a premium and recuperate the costs.

Finally, consider that this is RQHR property and a RQHR-generated problem. This is a political question: should over $10-$20 million in health care dollars be spent on parking? Second, should the City enter into a cost and revenue sharing agreement in the interest of financing a solution? Consider that there's no easy solution and people will ALWAYS complain about parking.

What do you think?