Comment 120015

By John Neary (registered) | Posted September 13, 2016 at 16:45:33 in reply to Comment 119960

I work at St. Joe's (don't drive to work except maybe a half dozen times per year), so I thought I could share a bit more information about hospital parking demand and its management.

At present there is a waiting list of something like (as I recall) 700 people for on-site hospital parking, and it takes something like 7 years to get past the waiting list. Many of the SJHH employees who park in Corktown and Durand do so because they can't get on-site parking, not because they refuse to pay for it.

Now, I would argue that the existence of a waiting list is indicative of below-market pricing, i.e. a subsidy for parking for those who have parking passes, but that's largely irrelevant to the issue of spillover parking: if the hospital raised its parking prices, then some people would give up their parking passes and others would pay more for them, but the total number of staff using hospital parking would be the same, and the demand for spillover parking would be the same.

There are also large numbers of patients (and families) and students who access the hospital who have no access to staff parking passes. They can pay for visitor parking which gets expensive very quickly.

The demand for spillover parking is determined by a number of factors: the availability of hospital parking, the cost and convenience of spillover parking, and the cost and convenience of alternatives to driving and parking. The supply of hospital parking is not realistically going to increase. St. Joe's has hardly any undeveloped land. Land in Corktown and Durand is very expensive and besides neither neighbourhood would stand for a new hospital parking lot being created by tearing down buildings.

The convenience of spillover parking is already being managed by the city with measures such as parking meters and 3 hour limits on many neighbouring streets. Other streets have all-day unlimited parking. The city's management of parking leaves much to be desired. Rather than an arbitrary geographic division between short-term metered parking, medium-term free parking, and long-term free parking, they should enable parking of any duration on any street with available parking and charge fees according to demand (likely this would mean higher fees closer to the hospital). People who use the hospital would likely consider it unfair if they had to pay parking charges according to the free market while local residents could buy cheap street parking permits, however. The solution to this problem would be a parking benefit district, which would return some portion of revenue to the local neighbourhoods to support local improvements.

Creating more convenient alternatives to driving and parking is the better way out here, which should not come as a surprise to most people on this forum.

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