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ROTHENBURGER – Parking shuffle at RIH raises issue of shortage of spaces

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

PARKING AT ROYAL INLAND HOSPITAL is going to be a bit of a schmozzle until the end of the month with Clinical Services Building elevators out of commission.
But what else is new?

At any time, parking there is not for the weak of heart. I had cause to visit the Clinical Services Building a couple of weeks ago and neglected to allow enough extra time.

By the time I gave up trying to find a spot in the parkade and went looking offsite, I missed the appointment. Next time, I got one of the very last spots before having to exit onto Columbia Street, circle back and try again.

Others weren’t so lucky. One guy saw me walking through the parkade and asked me if I was leaving so he could get my space. He explained that this was the fourth time he’d circled through the parkade that morning.

Now, due to the elevator problem, Interior Health is switching public parking to the old parkade now used by doctors and staff, and moving the latter into the newer Clinical Services parkade.

When that parkade was built three and a half years ago, it was hailed as the solution to the long-standing parking issue at RIH. With 350 spaces and ceilings high enough to accommodate pickup trucks, it’s certainly an improvement.

It is, however, already too small. That fellow who was hopelessly circling around and around has lots of company.

The new patient care tower now under construction will include a couple of hundred additional spaces.

That’s not nearly enough — we’ll soon be back to circling around. Shiny new buildings are important, but so is parking for those who use them.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7860 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Parking shuffle at RIH raises issue of shortage of spaces

  1. Jennie Stadnichuk // January 20, 2020 at 5:48 PM // Reply

    Employees of RIH and downtown merchants already plug up free (2 hr max) parking on streets as far as 7th Avenue from Monday to Friday. Customers must park further away from coffee shops etc. if free parking is needed. It’s not paying that we dislike, it’s the downtown kiosks that EVERYONE hates! Compare them to those at the hospital parkade that are much easier to use! Does anyone know of existing free parking located between the CPR tracks below the Lorne St. condominiums are 80% empty most days. A mini-bus or van service can provide transportation to their RIH jobs. ANOTHER option is to redraft the proposed PAC by facing reality and build more than the 70 space planned below street parking. Yes under-ground parking costs more per spot, but would accommodate employee parking (whether RIH or other) during the daytime. In addition there are other underground parking spots that are currently below businesses but are closed after work hours. They could be made available with carded entry/exit as is done by many Vancouver hotels. The City’s so called “Parking Solutions Study” should identify all such possibilities. (hope springs eternal!)

  2. JacquieLowndes // January 20, 2020 at 4:47 PM // Reply

    The parking issue is beyond frustrating. As it is a public parking facility we can expect nothing else. While having chemo I had to circle around and around. Since my appointments were lengthy, the option to park off site was not possible. The longest time frame I endured while doing the circle was well over an hour. We need hospital parking. Period. HOSPITAL PARKING.

  3. Jerome Farrell // January 20, 2020 at 1:04 PM // Reply

    In France outside any parking area there are illuminated signs indicating the amount of vacant spaces.When you enter the parade one can see green lights at the empty spaces.Thus endless circling through the Parkade is avoided and finding vacant spots easy and rapid .Something like this existed when the new Parkade opened but it was closed down when they found that they could not use the twin exits .This was due to a design flaw,they were not able to accommodate two trucks!

  4. Don Drysdale // January 20, 2020 at 10:55 AM // Reply

    The disincentives are built into the hospital. It is one of the worst to get into and as we all know people do not go to a hospital for enjoyment. I have been here in Kamloops for 20 years and parking has and always will be an issue here because of the small hospital footprint, not on level land and some one who has no sense of planning layout for additions.

  5. We have a family member with a chronic illness so are forced to use the parkade, often. What really ticks me off is that, as a public parkade, anyone can park there. At any given time I have seen dozens of staff members park there as well as folks who work across the street or at Ponderosa or the provincial buildings. The new building will only have a tenth of the parking it needs. I am pretty sure that same problem will exist with the temporary changes as the parking will be free, so more staff from on and off site will park there instead of walking several blocks.
    I have asked about this several times but administration insists that staff doesn’t park there.
    Gee, I wonder why they line up at the parking machines???

  6. According to the information given by a municipal manager last Thursday evening, the Sandman Centre (a 5,400 seat arena) was built with there having been only 300 parking stalls available. No mention was made of a bridge having to be built to span the CP Rail main line tracks on Third Avenue.

    Mel, could we be seeing a second bridge being built over Columbia Street?

  7. All that expensive real estate and infrastructure just so you can park vehicles. There is got be a smarter way to do it. If one comes from elsewhere perhaps it is quite difficult to not having to drive. Idem for someone having difficulty walking or in frail health. But for many other visitors and staff alike, the ones capable of catching public transport or walking or cycling, there should be disincentives to drive and incentives to ditch their obsessive attachment to that dreadful convenience.

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