Hospital parking charges take their toll
Palmerston North Hospital patients are taking a hit to the hip pocket as they pay to park in hospital grounds.
Meanwhile, hospital staff are dodging their pay-for car parks by leaving their vehicles on nearby streets where parking is free.
Officials are trying to find a solution to the problem clogging surrounding streets and frustrating patients and residents alike.
A parking time limit has been trialled in some streets and the Palmerston North City Council has plans to extend this.
The hospital has suggested extending free parking from 30 minutes to 40 minutes and offering incentives for staff not to park on the street.
Palmerston North woman Lauren Gillies estimated she spent $60 a week on parking at the hospital, while receiving treatment for a post-operation wound.
She often had to leave during the day and return to hospital later, so was hit twice by the parking fees.
She did not think extending free time by 10 minutes would see much change, especially when patients could not choose how long they were at hospital.
‘‘When you go to ED it is unexpected, but they don’t let you off.’’
Rongopai St resident Allan Lovell said his street became a ‘‘prime target’’ because people could park there all day.
‘‘The street looks like a car park.’’
People even parked on the yellow lines at peak times.
He was disappointed a large staff parking area was going unutilised.
Lovell said most people would expect to be able to park outside their own home.
‘‘The most infuriating thing is when you go out for 15 minutes, and come back and your space is gone.’’
Council senior transportation engineer Glenn Connelly said they had tried to ‘‘make it fair for everyone’’ by offering both long and short-term parking.
Two-hour parking limits were introduced on Florence Ave with positive feedback from residents and little negative feedback from commuters, Connelly said.
‘‘Residents can also apply for a free permit to exempt them from the time limit.‘‘
The council planned to do this in other high-use streets around the hospital, The Plaza and the IRD.
Patients and residents are suffering as a result of Palmerston North Hospital’s parking problems.